I write to draw your urgent attention to the rising tensions in Occupied East Jerusalem. The illegal actions and constant provocations and incitement by Israel, the occupying Power, including in particular by right-wing Israeli government officials, extremist settlers and religious zealots, against the Palestinian people, their land and their holy places are aggravating already-high tensions, religious sensitivities and the fragile situation on the ground, threatening to ignite religious conflict and further destabilize the region, which is already experiencing unprecedented instability and upheaval.
For two consecutive days, extremist Israelis escorted by occupying forces broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Al-Haram Al-Sharif), the third holiest site in Islam, in Occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli occupying forces injured and detained Palestinian worshipers, prevented the entry of Palestinian worshipers and instigated violent confrontations, using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber coated steel bullets. At least 110 Palestinian civilians, including worshippers, Mosque guards, reporters and cameramen, have been injured and occupying forces obstructed ambulances from reaching the injured. 20 of the injured have been transferred to the hospital, with three in critical condition suffering injuries to the head and chest areas, including Anas Siyam, a Palestinian boy, who was hit with a rubber coated steel bullet in the chest. Sheikh Omar Al-Kiswani, Director of the compound, was also assaulted by Israeli occupying forces. Reports indicate that an elderly man was shot with a rubber coated steel bullet in his eye and Tamer Khalaf, age 29, was assaulted and sprayed with toxic gas prior to being detained by occupying forces. [Read more…]