B’Tselem Accuses Israel of Showing ‘Sweeping Disregard’ for Palestinian Life in Jerusalem

Palestinians pray outside the gates of Al-Aqsa in protest of increased surveillance. (Photo: via Social Media)

As Israeli forces continued to impose a violent crackdown on Palestinians praying outside of Al-Aqsa Mosque as an act civil disobedience against new security measures at the holy site, Israeli NGO B’Tselem accused Israel of displaying “sweeping disregard” for Palestinian lives in occupied East Jerusalem.

B’Tselem denounced in a statement on Monday the new security restrictions, which in addition to the controversial Al-Aqsa metal detectors – which Israel has started to remove, only to introduce new ‘smart’ cameras at the mosque’s gates – have included thousands of heavily armed police and checkpoints around the Old City barring access to non-resident Palestinians of the Old City.

The human rights organization also condemned Israeli forces for their “excessive and unjustified force against worshipers.”

“B’Tselem’s investigation shows that in at least one instance during Friday noon prayers in the Ras al-Amud area of East Jerusalem police began firing crowd control means as soon as the prayers ended,” the report said.

The NGO also highlighted that during the widespread, violent clashes that occurred on Friday, Israeli police “raided al-Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, fired stun grenades and teargas in the yard outside the hospital and used violence against the medical staff, hospital employees, and visitors. In at least one case, the officers disrupted the medical treatment of a seriously injured person. Such actions are entirely unjustified.”

“During these recent events, Israel has repeatedly demonstrated sweeping disregard for the lives and security of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, and for their right to maintain a normal routine,” B’Tselem wrote.

“The Israel police treated Palestinian residents as if they were enemy soldiers, rather than as a civilian population for whose well-being and security it is responsible.”

The human rights group argued the conduct was part of Israel’s wider policy of control over occupied East Jerusalem, in which “Israeli authorities view the Palestinian residents as an undesirable presence, people who are worth less, with all this implies, including the use of lethal force. Nothing but comprehensive and substantive change to this regime of control, and to the reality in Jerusalem, will ensure the human rights of all the people living in the city.”

(Maan, PC, Social Media)

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