Gaza, Al Ray - A recent rights report warned against the escalating violations of Israeli occupation authorities and colonial settlers against Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Palestine, which amounted to 525 over the past five years.
The “The Settlers’ Violence & Violations against The Islamic & Christian Holy Shrines in the Occupied Palestinian Territories” report was issued in Arabic by Vienna-based ‘Friends of Humanity International’ organization, Gaza-based Center for Political and Development Studies (CPDS), and the Beirut-based Palestinian Association for Human Rights “Witness”.
It highlights the extremist Zionist organizations, their means, sponsors and their implications, and the extent to which ‘Israel’ as an occupying power is committed to protecting the Islamic shrine goers.
The report stated that the violations took place almost daily, and ranged from the closure of places of worship, arson of mosques and churches, depriving the Palestinians of the right of access to places of worship, vandalizing or destroying of property, physical assault, verbal abuse, threats, and writing of racist slogans.
The violations also included attempts to ban or decrease the volume of Adhan (Call to Prayer), attacks on Islamic graves, Judaization of holy shrines, archaeological excavations, and attempts of storming Al Aqsa Mosque or of bringing it to collapse.
In the period from 2009 to 2013, the report spotted more than 525 violations, which reached their peak in 2013, with181 violations.
Most colonial settlers’ attacks were concentrated in areas (B) and (C), that are Palestinian territories under full Israeli control, as stipulated in the 1993 Oslo agreement, where 90% of the towns therein were targets of the diverse settler attacks, while less attacks were observed in area (A), which is under Palestinian sovereignty, in comparison.
Occupied East Jerusalem saw most of the attacks compared to the 1967 occupied territories, with 292 (60%), out of 314, violations against Islamic holy shrines and 22 against Christian holy shrines.
Hebron and Nablus came 2nd and 3rd with 12% and 8%, respectively, in the number of violations.
The figures show that 60% of the violations targeted mosques and that rates of partial and total mosque destruction increased in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In late 2008, Israeli occupation during the “Cast Lead” Operation (27/12/2008-18/1/2009) targeted some 152 mosques, 45 mosques were fully destroyed and 107 partially, 25 mosques during the “Pillar of Defense” Operation (22/11/2012-14/11/2012) in the Gaza Strip.
Regarding the violations against Al Aqsa Mosque, the report states that the number of Israeli soldiers and settlers who stormed the mosque during 2012 and 2013 reached 8000 and 9,050, respectively, in addition to 220,000 foreign tourists. Eight million Israelis and foreign tourists desecrated the Buraq (Western) Wall.
The number of the Israeli excavations carried out under al-Aqsa mosque and its surrounding increased to 25, 34, 38 and 41 in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The report pointed out that the colonial settlers’ violence was a result of religious mobilization by hardline Jewish rabbis and their religious teachings.
The Arabic version of the report: Increase in Israeli violations against holy shrines in oPt