During the past ten months, Al-Haq recorded several clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli extremists in the Dome of the Rock compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. On Friday, 5 October, clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli border police officers took place when Israeli extremists broke into the Dome of the Rock compound. The Israeli forces used gas canisters, rubber-coated metal bullets and sound bombs against the protestors. Al-Haq is gravely concerned that the tension brewed by such repeated assault by the Israeli forces and harassment by Israeli extremists will only lead to a further escalation of violence.
During the clashes, a Palestinian boy was beaten until unconscious by Israeli border police officers.
Hasan ‘Afif ‘Afifi (16 years old)
On the Friday in question, at approximately 1:00 pm, Hasan was sitting with his family outside his home next to the Dome of the Rock compound when he heard sound bombs and firing coming from the direction of the compound. Hasan walked towards al-Hadid gate (the western entrance to the Dome of the Rock compound), which is only two metres from his home, and saw Israeli border police officers in black uniforms chasing Palestinian worshippers.
Shortly afterwards, the border police officers threw a sound bomb towards Hasan and other Palestinians gathered near the gate. Hasan ran back towards his house and another sound bomb detonated behind him. He entered the hallway of his home, as his father, ‘Afif Hasan ‘Afifi (41 years old) was trying to shut the door; however, more than a dozen Israeli border police officers appeared at the front door and began to punch and kick ‘Afif. Hasan, who was beside his father, tried to close the door to stop the border police officers’ attack but he was dragged outside, pushed to the ground and kicked repeatedly, including in the genitals, by a group of Israeli border police officers. Hasan felt that he was bleeding from his mouth and nose and gradually lost consciousness. When ‘Afif and his wife Ranya tried to rescue their son, ‘Afif was beaten on the legs and genitals with batons. Both ‘Afif and his wife were then pepper-sprayed and forced back inside the house. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7744/2012)
Amjad Taher ‘Arafeh, (32 years old), is a Palestinian freelance photographer, who was covering the clashes that took place at the Dome of the Rock compound that day. He recalls seeing more than a dozen Israeli border police officers near al-Hadid gate dragging a short boy, who turned out to be Hasan. Amjad saw the border police officers pushing Hasan to the ground and punching him several times on his face. At that time, Amjad could not film the assault as the border police officers forced him to leave the area. Amjad walked away thinking that Hasan had been arrested and began filming other incidents.
However, he was distracted by the screaming and crying of someone nearby. When Amjad returned to the area, he saw three border police officers holding Hasan by the neck and dragging him inside the Dome of the Rock compound. When Amjad was two metres from Hasan, he saw two border police officers holding Hasan while the third Israeli officer kicked him in the genitals. Hasan was pushed to the ground and two of the border police officers handcuffed him, while the third soldier approached Amjad to stop him from filming the attack. However, Amjad managed to film Hasan being punched on the right side of the face with enough force to knock his head against the ground. Despite the fact that the soldier’s fist was covered in blood from Hasan’s head and mouth, he continued beating Hasan’s face until he lost consciousness for the second time. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7745/2012)
Hasan regained consciousness when he was taken to an area near al-Silsila gate (another western entrance to the Dome of the Rock compound). He was forced to sit on the ground and face the wall while handcuffed. During this time, Hasan was mocked, insulted and spat on by Israeli border police officers. Some thirty minutes later, Hasan was taken by police car to the Russian compound police station in West Jerusalem. After three hours, Hasan was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center, where he underwent several medical tests and had four stitches inserted above his left eye. Hasan was left shackled to his hospital bed until 11:30 pm, during which time his father was prohibited from seeing him. He was then taken back to the Russian compound police station, where he was strip-searched and then held in a cell overnight.
The following day, an Israeli police officer, who introduced himself as Bilal, interrogated Hasan in the presence of his uncle ‘Allam. The police officer accused Hasan of attempting to stab one of the border police officers and of throwing stones. Hasan denied all the charges. Later that day, Hasan was taken to court, where the Israeli judge extended his detention until Tuesday, 9 October to allow further investigation.
On Tuesday, Hasan had another hearing, where the Israeli judge decided to release him and placed him under house arrest for 14 days. Hasan was fined approximately 1,300 USD with an additional 2,600 USD sentence suspended for the next six months. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7743)