One month has passed since the beginning of what some are calling a new Palestinian intifada in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has left scores of Palestinians dead and hundreds injured. According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since Oct. 1 now stands at 75, including 17 children and two women.
Over the same period at least 2,350 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli gunfire while thousands of others have suffered temporary asphyxia as a result of excessive teargas, the ministry said. Fifty-six Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and 17 in the blockaded Gaza Strip, while an Arab-Israeli was killed in the city of Beersheba in southern Israel. The latest violence comes amid a wave of alleged Palestinian knife attacks that have left 11 Israelis dead and 145 injured, according to Israel's Magen David Adom paramedic service. The mass detention of Palestinians suspected of engaging in resistance activities, meanwhile, has continued unabated.
Last month, Israeli forces arrested more than 1,500 Palestinians, the Israeli army stated. According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronot, the Israeli army arrested 1,553 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and inside Israel itself, since the beginning of October. Of these, 437 were charged with throwing stones, Molotov cocktails or fireworks, it added. The Palestinian Authority's committee on detainees, for its part, has accused the Israeli army of arresting children in many cases. According to the committee, over 800 Palestinian minors have been arrested by the Israeli army and police in the last month alone. There are more than 6,500 Palestinians currently languishing in detention facilities throughout Israel, according to official Palestinian figures. On Wednesday, meanwhile, scores of Jewish settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound where they tried to perform "Talmudic rituals," a Palestinian official said.
"Twenty-five Jewish settlers stormed the mosque compound in small groups through Al-Mugharbeh gate and left through Al-Sisila gate," mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Qiswani told Anadolu Agency (AA). What's more, earlier Wednesday Israeli authorities issued a demolition order for a mosque and commercial establishment in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a Palestinian nongovernmental organization.
"Israel's Jerusalem municipality hung an administrative demolition order on Al-Qaqa Mosque and on a commercial establishment in the Silwan neighborhood south of Al-Aqsa," the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement. "The demolition order on the 120 square meter mosque will be implemented in the next few days," it added. It is not the first time Israel has issued a demolition order on a mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
In 2013, Israel's Jerusalem District Court ruled that a section of the Muhammad al-Fatih Mosque, located in the Ras Al-Amoud neighborhood west of Al-Aqsa, should be demolished as it had been built without a permit. On Monday, Israeli education minister and head of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett, forced his way into Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque under the protection of Israeli police. "Bennett sealed the mosque for 60 minutes and preformed Talmudic rituals inside," Munther Abu Fielat, the mosque's Palestinian director, told AA. Muslim worshippers were prevented from approaching the mosque's entrances, he said. According to Bennett, his visit to the West Bank city of Hebron was a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to escalate settlement construction activity in the Palestinian city. Revered by both Muslims and Jews, the Ibrahimi Mosque compound, known as the Tomb of Patriarchs in Judaism, is believed to contain the graves of the prophets Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Since the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers at the mosque by Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein, Israeli authorities have kept Muslim and Jewish worshippers at the site strictly segregated. The city of Hebron in which the mosque is located is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Israeli settlers who live in heavily guarded compounds.