Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Human Rights Group Documents Israeli Actions at Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Human Rights Group Documents Israeli Actions at Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount

Article excerpt

Massive human rights violations committed by Israeli security forces Oct. 8 in Jerusalem's Haram Al-Sharif were the focus of a Palestine Human Rights Information Center (PHRIC) report.

The report, released Oct. 31, included testimony from hundreds of eyewitnesses and concludes that Palestinians arrived at the scene, the third holiest site in the world for Muslims, "in order to protect it against what Moslems anticipated would be a provocative entry by the Temple Mount Faithful.... There is no evidence to substantiate the claim made by Israeli officials that Moslem religious men incited the local population to violent actions against Jews."

Seventeen Palestinians were killed in the compound, PHRIC reports, including 11 who were shot in the neck or head. An 18th victim was shot and killed by men in civilian clothes in the Christian quarter shortly after the Haram Al-Sharif incident. Over 300 people were injured in the clashes.

PHRIC attacked Israeli claims of acting in self-defense as "implausible at best," saying that the Israeli assumption that two of their policemen were in danger was not well-founded.

"Even had this assumption been well-founded," PHRIC concluded, "the use of lethal force...was entirely disproportionate and unwarranted."

The report notes the tension among the people gathered at Haram Al-Sharif, but found that no clashes occurred until a soldier threw a tear-gas canister into a group of women at approximately 10:45 am. A group of youths and men then started to throw rocks, and security groups opened fire with bullets and tear gas. …

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