The occupation police in Jerusalem attacked and arrested people holding the Palestinian flag in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the rest of the city on Monday, but at the same time, allowed Jewish settlers to raise the flag of Israel in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque, said that the Israeli occupation forces were seeking to rapidly extend their control over Al-Aqsa.
In remarks to the press on Monday, Sabri noted that the occupation has “succeeded in achieving its goals in Al-Aqsa Mosque by oppressing and arresting Jerusalemites, while opening the way for settlers to provoke the feelings of Muslims in their holiest sites.”
The Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem issued a statement, saying that the Jews’ violation of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in particular waving the Israeli flag, was an “unprecedented, aggressive act.”
The Israeli peace movements had accused the police of assaulting anyone who raised the Palestinian flag in Jerusalem. It noted that although the new Minister of Internal Security, Omer Bar-Lev, issued instructions prohibiting movements against the waving of the Palestinian flag “except in extraordinary cases,” police attacked the Israeli and Palestinian demonstrators over the same matter.
In a sworn statement submitted to the court, Oren Ziv, a photojournalist, who has been documenting a range of social and political issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories since 2003, recounted how Israeli forces attacked demonstrations held in solidarity with the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, who are facing eviction threats.
Ziv said: “Calm prevailed over the demonstration, which proceeded from the main street towards the police checkpoint... But the police officer, Shahar Mahsumi, called them over a loudspeaker, saying: I ask not to wave the flags. If you wave the flags, we will disperse the demonstration.”
He continued: “Later, when a number of young men raised the flags, the police arrested four Israeli Jewish demonstrators, one of them a minor, and several Palestinians.”
Knesset member Mossi Raz, who participated in the march, said: “The demonstration was quiet … until the police officer decided to use violence to confiscate some of the small Palestinian flags.”