Israeli Police Launches Mass Arab Arrests in Jerusalem as Tension Grows

JERUSALEM, November 3, 2014 (WAFA) – At least 20 Palestinians were arrested by the Israeli police in Jerusalem last night during predawn and late night raids on homes, according to the Committee of Jerusalemite Prisoners’ Families.

Police raided and searched dozens of houses, spreading fear among their residents especially children and women, and arresting 20 Palestinians, including a minor and former released prisoner Mahmoud Jaber, a resident of the Jerusalem suburb of Shuafat refugee camp.

Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Families Committee, said whereas some of the recent arrests will be taken for investigation, others are due to stand trial before the Israeli magistrate court of West Jerusalem on Monday.

In spite of a recent surge of tension in the holy city which has been on the rise for the past five months, Shuli Mualem, an extremist Jewish fanatic and a member of the Israeli parliament, Knesset, broke through the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday along with dozens of settlers and Israeli police officers.

During the provocative visit, police imposed tight security measures on the Palestinian and Muslim entry to the mosque, denying entry for men under the age of 40 and reserving the identity cards of those who were allowed into the mosque for prayers until their exit.

Meanwhile, police arrested female Sahar al-Natsheh from inside al-Aqsa compound for chanting religious slogans protesting the entry of Shuli Mualem to the compound; police beat up al-Natsheh before arresting her.

Only yesterday, Moshe Feglein, an extremist far-righter and deputy speaker of the Knesset, entered the holy mosque despite a call made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asking the Israeli parliament, Knesset, Members and cabinet to show ‘responsibility and restraint’ with regards to “Temple Mount”.

Meanwhile, United States Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that “It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount – in word and in practice,” reported media sources.

Jews claim that al-Aqsa is the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times, yet recurrent excavations revealed no evidence to that claim. Nevertheless, Jewish fanatics and rabbis continue to perform visits to the site despite of its sanctity in the Muslim doctrine, fueling more tension in the epicenter of the Arab-Israeli conflict.