Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness) follows with great concern
the systematic Israeli incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the accompanying
assaults on civilians inside. The latest was the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by
Israeli settlers, under the protection of the Israeli police, on Wednesday
night, 4/5/2023, in an attempt to evacuate worshipers and proceed with the
"Hebrew Easter” ceremony.
to UNESCO’s Resolution No. 40 COM 7A.13 in 2016 on the Old City of Jerusalem
and its walls, Al-Aqsa Mosque is considered an integral part of the world
heritage as an Islamic place of worship whose integrity and authenticity must
be respected and preserved.
points out that the protection of the cultural and spiritual heritage of all nations
is guaranteed by international law, especially the Second Additional Protocol
to the Geneva Conventions of 1977 which provides that it is the responsibility
of the occupation authorities to protect these properties and ensure that it is
not subjected to seizure, destruction, intentional damage, or vandalism. The
acts of vandalism carried out by the occupation police at Al-Aqsa Mosque
present a major violation of the occupation authority's obligation to protect
the cultural and spiritual heritage and refrain from acting upon any form of
the same context, the occupation police forces brutally attacked unarmed
worshipers, forcing them to leave Al-Aqsa Mosque, and preventing non-zionists
from entering it. The invasion was accompanied by targeting worshipers with
tear gas and rubber bullets, and excessive use of force during the arrests and
evacuation of the mosque neglecting the presence of women and children. The
raid resulted in the arrest of more than 500 innocent Palestinians.
brutal acts contradict the provisions of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights in 1948 which guarantees the right of every human being to
life, liberty, and security. On the same ground, the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights of 1966 affirms in Article 6 thereof that it is an
inherent right of every person.
confirms that the brutality of the occupation police contradicts the right to
freedom, security, physical integrity, and protection from cruel and degrading treatment,
which accompanies the freedom of individuals to practice their religious rights
without any annoyance.
indicates that the attack also affected the medical staff of the Palestinian
Red Crescent. Paramedics were physically attacked and ambulance cars were
damaged, and police blocked their way from reaching and aiding the injured. All
this while disregarding the special protection guaranteed for medical
facilities under international law,
particularly health care providers and means of medical transport.
accordance with the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, any
means designated for transporting the wounded and sick and the medical
personnel working therein must be respected and protected, and their duties in
aiding and transporting the wounded and sick must be facilitated, and it is
forbidden to treat them as targets for attacks or assaults. The visible mark
represented by the protection sign of the Red Crescent displayed on ambulances
reinforces the responsibility of the occupation police when targeting them.
is worthwhile to mention that this attack is part of a series of repeated
attacks that descends back several years and aims at changing the religious
features of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and finding a foothold for Jewish
settlers in this sacred Islamic landmark.
The Palestinian Association for Human Rights
(witness) warns of ongoing episodes of aggregations in violations of
international law by the occupation forces which occur in front of the
suspicious silence of the international community, and denounces the repeated
Israeli attempts to change the identity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and accordingly
the role of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and all relevant
international and regional organizations and bodies to take practical steps to
prevent the recurrence of attacks, provided that action is not limited to
the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for the damage to Palestinian
cultural property and the repercussions of these practices
the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva
Conventions of 1949, to take practical steps, per their legal obligations, to
force the occupation authorities to respect the rules of international
on the Kingdom of Jordan, as the custodian of the Islamic endowments in
occupied Jerusalem, to take the necessary legal measures to prevent the
aggravation of violations.
Palestinian Association for Human Rights (witness)