Posts Tagged ‘hurva’

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Weekly Post: 4 Boys Killed in 24 Hours

March 21, 2010

 1,600 Illegal Settlement Housing Units Approved in East Jerusalem

 Well, this week has been especially violent. The Israeli provocations began with the announcement of the approval of 1,600 more housing units for illegal Jewish settlements on occupied territory around East Jerusalem. This announcement coincided with the visit of Vice President Biden of the U.S.—who was visiting the region in an attempt to restart the stalled indirect peace talks between Israel and Palestine—and is seen by many Americans as a slap in the face.

 Because of this announcement, and Netanyahu’s failure to call President Obama to tell him whether he would allow the plan to proceed, the Quartet meeting which was supposed to decide the next step in the peace process couldn’t accomplish anything. Works out well for Israel…

 Ibrihimi Mosque Takeover, Protests in Hebron and Beit Ummar

 The other provocation was the Israeli takeover of the Ibrihimi Mosque in Hebron—a site that has religious importance to both Judaism and Islam because it was built by Abraham/Ibrihim, a patriarch of both religions. Many Palestinians see this as the first step of the Israeli government’s takeover of more Muslim religious sites in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

 There have been violent protests in Hebron in response to the takeover. Most of them have been subdued by the Palestinian Authority—reinforcing the common belief that the PA is working with the Israeli military against their own people.

 Residents of Beit Ummar, a village near Hebron, have also organized protests against the Israeli policies. Dozens have been injured and arrested.

 Hurva Synagogue Reopened

 These fears were somewhat realized when the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish quarter of East Jerusalem was opened last week. This synagogue is symbolic of the Jewish people returning Jerusalem to them as their “undivided, eternal capital.”

 There is also a prediction from the Vilna Gaon that the third time this synagogue is rebuilt, the Jewish people will start construction on the Third Temple—which would have to be built on the same place as the 1st and 2nd temples, meaning the place where Al Aqsa stands (the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site in Islam).

 The opening of the Hurva Synagogue was supposed to be followed by an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish march around the Temple Mount (Al Aqsa compound) which would culminate in them laying the cornerstone of the Third Temple—symbolizing the destruction of Al Aqsa and the coming of the Messiah.

 Luckily, the Israeli police decided that would be too much of a provocation considering how much protesting had already been going on around the Old City. It is still a planned event, but it is not sure when they will be able to do it.

  East Jerusalem Protests

 Because of these events, along with the closure of the Old City to any Palestinian men under the age of 50, there have been protests all over East Jerusalem (in the Old City, Shuafat Refugee Camp, Qalandia, Eisawiyya, and Wadi Joz) over the past week. So far, over 250 Palestinians have been arrested (many of them teenagers who were suspected of throwing stones). There have been almost 100 injuries.

 Shuafat Refugee Camp

 I went to the protest at Shuafat on Saturday. The Israeli soldiers closed off the entrance to the camp. In the early afternoon, young kids began throwing stones at the soldiers who had closed their camp.

 The Israeli soldiers shot teargas and rubber coated steel bullets at the children, ending with 11 injuries and 15 arrests.

 Qalandia Refugee Camp

 On Friday, I went to the Qalandia protests. There were hundreds of teenagers and young Palestinians out in the street leading to the checkpoint. They were throwing stones at the occupation soldiers.

 The soldiers were shooting a lot of teargas, at head level, like rockets shooting down the street. There were dozens injured who were protesting, none serious.

 Palestinian Man Beaten and Thrown off Balcony by Israeli soldiers

 There had been protests all week at Qalandia, and the Israeli soldiers had taken positions on top of an apartment building in order to be able to shoot the kids more efficiently. They invaded the home of 25 year old Abdullah Lafee on the third floor, and beat him while he was sitting in his home.

 After they had beaten him to the point that his face was split open, they threw him off the 3rd storey balcony. And didn’t stop there…

 They went to where he fell and beat him again. He is still alive, but nearly every bone in his body is broken and at least one organ is ruptured.

  Bil’in and Ni’lin

 Earlier this week, the Israeli military declared Bil’in and Ni’lin to be “closed military areas”. This means that no international or Israeli activists are allowed to be in the protest areas on Fridays—effectively stopping the nonviolent resistance movements there.

 At Bil’in on Friday, there were hardly any international or Israeli activists there. The few protestors that were there marched to the wall to find there were no Israeli soldiers. The protest ended soon after.

 In Ni’lin, the entire village was closed by the Israeli military, preventing any activists from reaching the demonstration. One Palestinian protestor was shot and injured, but is in stable condition.

 Nabe Saleh

 Because Ni’lin and Bil’in protests were prevented by the Israeli military, most of the international and Israeli activists went to Nabe Saleh instead. This Friday was one of the most violent protests so far in the village.

 10 village homes were attacked and invaded—reinforcing the Palestinian belief that Israelis don’t differentiate between protestor and civilian.

 25 protestors were shot indiscriminately by the Israeli military with teargas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets. Several American and Israeli activists were among those shot, and several were also arrested.

 A 14 year old Palestinian boy was shot and is not in a coma.

 An 82 year old woman was shot in the head with a teargas canister and has been brain damaged.

 4 Boys Dead in Nablus Area

 In Iraq Bourin, a village close to Nablus, 2 teenage boys were killed by the Israeli military while nonviolently protesting the theft of their land. One was shot in the heart with live ammunition and the other was shot in the head with live ammunition.

 Their funerals were held today, and were attended by thousands of Palestinians.

 Earlier today, 2 more teenage boys were killed while working in their fields outside of Awarta village near an Israeli checkpoint. They were approached by Israeli soldiers asking for their IDs, and then were shot in cold blood.

 The first IDF statement was that the boys attacked the soldiers with pitchforks. That statement was immediately denied by all the villagers. Later, the IDF spokesperson admitted that the boys had been working in the fields with farming tools and that the soldiers had gunned them down without being attacked.

A third boy was injured in the Israeli attack, and taken away by the soldiers. He was thought to be dead, but has just been returned alive—as the only Palestinian witness to what actually happened, the fact that he is alive and returned may be why the IDF changed their statement about the “attack” on the soldiers.

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East Jerusalem Clashes Spread to West Bank…Gaza Protests in Solidarity

March 17, 2010

I went to Jerusalem yesterday morning. Mustafa Barghouthi, my boss, was giving a press conference outside the Damascus Gate (the main gate leading to the Muslim quarter of the Old City). We got to Qalandia checkpoint and watched the demonstration there for a little bit. There were about a hundred Palestinian boys in the streets throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers who were stationed by the wall and in the streets of Qalandia refugee camp. I got a little taste of teargas and we went to the checkpoint…

There was only one lane open for walking through and no car lanes open. The soldiers were being extra annoying…we got through and waited on the other side for a service to the Old City. As we drove through Shuafat refugee camp, I didn’t see any protests but I heard that further inside the camp the Palestinians were throwing stones and setting up road blocks to keep out the Israelis.

All around East Jerusalem, in Abu Dees University, Eisawiyyah, and Shuafat camp there were demonstrations against the perceived threat to Al Aqsa.

Basically, there are a LOT of rumors going around about what might happen to the Al Aqsa Mosque–which is the third holiest site in Islam, and also happens to be located on the exact spot where the first two Jewish temples were built. The Jewish people believe that the Messiah won’t come until they build the third temple. That would mean they have to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque first, because the temple has to be built on the same foundations as the first two temples.

This is why Muslims were worried that this plan might be progressing:

1) the opening of the Hurva synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City–this synagogue symbolizes the return of the Jewish people to their land–which could mean Israel, the Old City, or the temple mount. There was also a Rabbinical prediction from a couple hundred years ago that the Hurva synagogue would be destroyed and rebuilt three times, and on the third time they rebuilt it the next day construction would start on the third temple.

To the Palestinians, construction on the third temple means the destruction of Al Aqsa.

2) The ultra-orthodox Jewish people planned a march around the Temple Mount which would end with them placing the cornerstone of the new temple–fortunately the Israeli police forced them to at least delay the march.

3) The new settlement plans for East Jerusalem only strengthen the opinion of many Palestinians that Israel is trying to Judaize Jerusalem so they can have it as their “undivided, eternal capital”.

So this is why so many protests happened over East Jerusalem and West Bank…………so many political things have happened against the Palestinians and no real threat of third intifada occurred, but this is religious. And it seems like that is more of a threat to the Palestinians than loss of land.

Anyways, more people than every before were talking politics, listening to the radio, watching the news, and protesting across East Jerusalem and the West Bank. So Israeli deployed 3000 police and military around the Old City and the PA put special forces on every corner.

The PA is ACTIVELY PREVENTING the Palestinians from expressing their anger and frustration against Israel, occupation, and the threat to the holy sites. There won’t be an intifada while the PA is around, acting as Israel’s enforcers.

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Trouble in the Old City

March 15, 2010

Today, the Israelis re-opened and rededicated the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, Jerusalem amid high tensions. The West Bank closure by the Israeli military has been extended until at least tomorrow (Tues) because they are trying to keep Palestinians out of the Old City and out of Al Aqsa Mosque while these Jewish ceremonies are going on.

Yesterday, after night prayers, Muslims were expelled from Al Aqsa and their ID cards confiscated. They are supposed to go to the Al Qashla investigation center and the Russian compound center to get them back.

Now, Palestinian men under 50 are not allowed into Al Aqsa, and the IDF has set up checkpoints all over the Old City and at the gates denying entry to most Palestinian men under 50. Fateh has called for as many Muslims as possible to go to the mosque to protect it, as there are rumors that the Israelis will try to lay the cornerstone for the New Temple on the Al Aqsa compound.

Many Palestinians are also worried that the consistent tunneling by Israeli “archaelogists” under the mosque may eventually cause it to collapse–both the construction of the New Temple and the collapse of the Al Aqsa mosque would be important signs to people of the Abrahamic faiths about the end of times. So this is causing a lot of controversy and tension.

Thousands of Jewish worshippers were planning to march around the old temple (where Al Aqsa mosque is now…) to celebrate the opening of the Hurva Synagogue but the Israeli police have cancelled it amid fears of riots by the Palestinians.