PCHR Warns of Worsening Situation in Occupied East Jerusalem, IOF Suppress Palestinian Gatherings and Impose New Measures in Bab Al-‘Amoud Area
Date: 05 April 2022
Time: 12:00 GMT
Since the beginning of Ramadan, Bab al-‘Amoud area, one of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City gates, witnessed daily attacks by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) against Palestinian civilians within a systematic policy by the occupation to suppress any Palestinian gatherings in the area. As a result, at least one Palestinian was wounded and dozens of others sustained bruises; IOF arrested 26 Palestinians. Also, Israeli police set up barbed wires and a mobile security point in the area.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), on Saturday, 02 April 2022, the first day of Ramadan, IOF intensified their presence on all roads leading to Bab al-‘Amoud area in central occupied East Jerusalem, and established dozens of iron barriers at the entrances to neighborhoods surrounding the Old City and on nearby streets. Also, additional surveillance cameras and floodlights were installed in the control room IOF established in Bab al-‘Amoud area. In the evening hours, while Palestinian worshipers were flocking to al-Aqsa Mosque, IOF soldiers and police were deployed on Bab al-‘Amoud stairs and within its internal and external yards. Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian young men gathered on the stairs. The tension intensified in the area. Consequently, IOF closed some sub-roads leading to Bab al-‘Amoud area to deny Palestinians access. In the meantime, young Palestinian men and boys chanted national slogans and threw empty plastic bottles at IOF and their vehicles. IOF chased the Palestinians and arrested 5 of them after physically assaulting them.
On Sunday morning, a number of Israeli officers and Israeli Special Forces moved into Bab al-‘Amoud stairs and onto the surrounding streets. IOF set up an iron fence along the left side of Bab al-‘Amoud yard, where IOF military checkpoint is established, to prevent Palestinians from gathering there. In the evening hours, IOF set up a mobile police point near the entrance to al-Mosrarah area, coinciding with the Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s storming of the area. At approximately 22:00, while Palestinian worshipers were exiting al-Aqsa Mosque after performing al-Taraweeh prayer, IOF intensified their deployment in the area, suppressed young Palestinians passing by the street adjacent to Bab al-‘Amoud and violently beat them. Afterwards, clashes erupted in the area and on nearby streets, during which, Palestinian young men set waste containers on Sultan Suliman street on fire and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF, who responded with sound bombs ad rubber bullets. As a result, ‘Abed al-Raheem ‘Izz al-Deen Barbar (23), was shot with a rubber bullet in his mouth and taken to al-Maqassed Hospital for treatment. Also, dozens of protestors sustained wounds and bruises after being beaten with batons and pepper-sprayed. During the clashes, IOF violently assaulted and arrested 12 Palestinians; 2 of them received treatment at Shaare Zedek Hospital in West Jerusalem, and they are under arrest.
At around 21:30 on Monday, hundreds of young men and boys gathered on Bab al-‘Amoud stairs and chanted national slogans and songs. As a result, IOF stormed the place, ordered the young men via loudspeakers to leave and then fired sound bombs to disperse them. Clashes broke out and extended to Bab a-Zahara, during which, IOF violently attacked the protesters and terrorized children and women, who were passing by the area. IOF also stopped many vehicles to search them and check the drivers’ IDs and arrested 9 Palestinians after severely beating them.
It should be noted that Bab al-‘Amoud is of great strategic importance as it is the main entrance to the Old City and the occupied City’s front, where Palestinians are used to gathering on its stairs and yards to commemorate and celebrate national and religious occasions.
Over the past few years, the Israeli occupation authorities’ efforts to change the characteristics of the City aiming to seize full control over the Old City through its main gate and decrease the number of visitors and passers-by. This would negatively impact all the religious and commercial places by emptying them of the Indigenous people and increasing the numbers of settlers and facilitating their movement.
Therefore, IOF established in recent years 3 checkpoints on the way to Bab al-‘Amoud, where Palestinian young men are stopped and their IDs are checked and their persons are subjected to humiliating searches. In addition, a control room was established up on the top of Bab al-‘Amoud stairs. The Israeli occupation authorities previously uprooted tens of trees in the area under the pretext that they fully cover the surveillance cameras and replaced them with tens of security cameras fixed on utility poles. Moreover, IOF harasses local shops in the area by spraying them with sewage water, overbearing them with fines and taxes. IOF also harass civilians and passers-by through establishing checkpoints and iron barriers all over the roads from time to time and closing the area with each security incident occurring in the city.
PCHR condemns IOF’s suppression of Palestinian civilians, and the former’s attempts to impose new de facto restrictions on Palestinians’ movement and gatherings in Bab al-‘Amoud area. These restrictions explicitly started with the beginning of Ramadan with the establishment of barbed wires and a mobile police station to seize control over the area.
PCHR warns of the serious repercussions of the Israeli violent escalation; through which, IOF attempt to impose a fait accompli that would jeopardize Palestinians’ rights. PCHR reiterates that similar attacks occurred last year in Ramadan and escalated to a widescale military offensive on Gaza that inflected thousands of deaths and injuries.
PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations. PCHR believes that international community’s silence conspiracy encourages Israel to commit more violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including creating a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem.