Serious Escalation in Occupation and Settlers’ Attack: 105 Injured, 50 Arrested, including 4 Children, in Largest Israeli Campaign in Occupied East Jerusalem
Date: 24 April 2021
Time: 09:30 GMT
Yesterday evening, occupied East Jerusalem witnessed mass assaults by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) and settlers against the Palestinian civilians in hit and run clashes, which continued for 9 hours mainly at Bab al-‘Amoud (Damascus Gate, one of East Jerusalem’s Old City gates), and reached many streets and neighborhoods. As a result, 105 civilians were injured and 50 others were arrested, including 4 children. This escalation came after Palestinian civilians gathered following a protest for settlers organized by the Jewish supremacist group “Lehava” to raid Bab al-‘Amoud Area and assault the Palestinian civilians there. This Israeli suppression campaign is the largest in the last months and escalated since the beginning of Ramadan following IOF’s decision to close off Bab al-‘Amoud area and ban any gatherings in its yard or on its stairs, peaking last night.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human rights (PCHR), on Thursday, 22 April 2021, hundreds of Israeli police and Border Guard officers, deployed around occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, preemptively upon calls by the Lehava Jewish supremacist group to organize a mass protest for settlers titled as “Defending the National Honor” from Yaffa Street to West Jerusalem, heading to Bab al-‘Amoud, one of East Jerusalem’s Old City Gates, at approximately 22:00, to assault the Palestinians there. Following al-Maghreb Adhan, worshippers flocked to al-Aqsa Mosque via Jerusalem’s wall gates while the Israeli police increased the number of its officers, tightened the restrictions and cordoned off Bab al-‘Amoud area with checkpoints by isolating it from its surrounding. At approximately 21:00, dozens of young Palestinian men gathered near Bab al-‘Amoud area in an attempt to prevent the settlers’ raid. Immediately, IOF assaulted them, sprayed skunk water and heavily fired sound bombs to disperse them. As a result, clashes broke out and spread to the nearby streets and neighborhoods. The clashes intensified when the settlers’ protest arrived at Bab al-‘Amoud area, where they maliciously attempted to cross the checkpoints and clash with the Palestinian young men. The clashes continued between IOF and the Palestinian protesters until 05:30 on Friday 23 April 2021 and resulted in tens of injuries; mostly with rubber bullets and sound bombs or due to suffocation due to teargas inhalation. 21 of the injuries were hospitalized.
During the escalation, IOF carried out a wide-scale arrest campaign against more than 50 Palestinians, including 4 children, according to the Israeli police; most of them were beaten and assaulted.
In the evening, several clashes erupted between Palestinians and IOF and settlers in various areas of occupied East Jerusalem due to settlers’ ongoing attacks on Palestinian civilians.
In the Old City, Israeli settlers topped the roofs of their settlement outposts, attacked Palestinians’ houses during Iftar time, and threw stones and construction materials at their houses’ yards and entrances.
In Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, a group of Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian vehicles crossing on Street No.1 and assaulted the drivers. As a result, the windows of many vehicles were broken, an elderly woman was wounded as a result of the shattered glass, and Omar Taha (18) was wounded in his face after Israeli settlers beat him up and broke his vehicle’s windows while he was inside.
Moreover, an Israeli settler opened fire at Palestinian civilians present on Salah al-Deen Street, in the center of occupied East Jerusalem, and fled in his vehicle.
Also, several Palestinian workers were wounded on Jaffa Street after dozens of Israeli settlers beat them up with sticks and sharp tools.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), the toll of injuries caused by IOF’s attacks and escalation in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, has reached 105; 21 of them were taken to the hospital for treatment while the rest were treated on the spot. The injuries caused by firing rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters and beating; one of those injured was shot in his head and his condition was deemed moderate.
Furthermore, Israeli police announced that they arrested 50 young Palestinian men, who will be brought before Magistrate Court. Also, 20 policemen sustained wounds during clashes in Bab al-‘Amoud area.
Lawyer Feras al-Jebreni told PCHR’s researcher that most of the detainees were assaulted, especially on their heads and faces, and there were signs of beating and bruises on their bodies. He added that among the detainees were a blind man and a boy with heart disease.
The Palestinian Centre for Huma Rights condemns IOF’s repression against Palestinians vis-à-vis its lenient and protective stance for settlers’ raids into the area and across the city.
PCHR also condemns the occupation’s attempt to impose de-facto measures to restrict the freedom of movement and gathering of Palestinians in certain areas in Jerusalem, including Bab al-‘Amoud (Damascus Gate), which was clearly evident since the beginning of Ramadan.
PCHR considers the occupation’s measures to be illegal and fall within the Israeli systematic policy since the occupation of the city in 1967 to change the character of Jerusalem via settlement expansion and creating a Jewish majority in order to create facts on the ground that would eliminate Palestinians’ right to the city.
PCHR asserts that East Jerusalem is an occupied city and that no measures taken by the occupation authorities since the 1967 occupation can change its legal status as an occupied territory.
PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to respect and to ensure respect for the Conventions in all circumstances as per the Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions. PCHR believes that there is a conspiracy of silence practiced by the international community that enables Israel to commit further violations of the international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including the efforts to create a Jewish majority in occupied east Jerusalem.