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Efforts to Create Jewish Majority in occupied East Jerusalem: PCHR Condemns IOF Closure of Palestinian Official Institutions and Calls upon International Community to Intervene Immediately

Ref: 130/2019

On Wednesday, 20 November 2019, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) closed 3 Palestinian institutions in occupied Jerusalem, including Palestine Satellite Channel and 2 others affiliated with the Ministry of Education, as well as many others and confiscated some of their contents and arrested a number of civilians. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) deeply condemns these actions and calls upon the international community to pressure IOF to stop attacks on Palestinian institutions in occupied East Jerusalem and to provide protection for them, and to stop Israeli attempts to create a Jewish majority in the city. PCHR also demands the activation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, including the ones that addressed Israeli changes to the city and deemed them illegal.

According to PCHR’s investigations, on Wednesday, 20 November 2019, Israeli police, Intelligence Service and border guards stormed the head office of  ALARZ Production Company, which include the head office of Palestine Satellite Channel in al-Sowana neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. They searched and tampered with the offices and confiscated some of their contents before withdrawing. Additionally, they fixed a notice by Israel’s Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, to close the head office for 6 months. Palestine Satellite Channel reporter, Christine Renawi, said that IOF stormed the office, seized its contents and  handed her a summons, along with the Nizar Younis, the Director of  Al-Arz Company, to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service. Ayman Abu Romouz, a photographer was also arrested.

Moreover, IOF raided the head office of the Education Directorate and Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya School in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. The soldiers forced students and staffs to leave the Education Directorate building, confiscated some of their contents, and arrested Samir Jebril, Head of the Directorate, before their withdrawal.  IOF also fixed a 6-month shutdown notice at the Directorate’s gate.

At the same time, IOF stormed al-Rusasi Mosque, adjacent to Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya School, where an Education Directorate’s office is located, detained and questioned those inside. IOF searched the mosque before closing it and confiscating its key.

In the same context, IOF raided and searched the Arab Health Center on Sultan Suleiman Street in occupied East Jerusalem, where they confiscated files and surveillance cameras and arrested the Director of Arab Health Center, Ahmed Srour.

On the same evening, Israeli police and intelligence officers raided Ambassador Hotel in al-Shaiekh Jarrah neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They surrounded a table at the hotel, checked the IDs of those seated and photographed them. Israeli officers arrested the Head of the of Parents’ Committees in occupied East Jerusalem, Ziyad al-Shamali, and took him to an investigation center.

PCHR considers that these illegal measures and decisions are in line with Israel’s systematic policy aimed at alienating Palestinians from Jerusalem to create a Jewish majority in order to impose a de facto situation that abrogate Palestinians right to their land.  to occupied East Jerusalem since its occupation in June 1967.

PCHR emphasizes that East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, and that all measures taken by Israel to change the city’s legal status since its occupation in 1967 are in vain.

PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.

PCHR believes that the international community’s silent conspiracy encourages Israel to commit further violations of international human rights and international humanitarian laws, including its efforts to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.