Accessing worship: This year’s Ramadan part II

by the Yanoun team,

As we feared, the Israeli Civil Authority did place further restrictions on those able to come to pray in Jerusalem on Friday. On 3rd of July, the age limit for men to pass without a permit was raised from 40 to 50, and instead of all women being allowed—only women over 30 could pass without a permit. This was widely seen as “collective punishment”.   One Palestinian man said:

“Where does it say in the Torah, the Koran or the Bible that you have to be over 50 to pray”.

19.06.15. Bethlehem. Checkpoint 300  Young man denied access to Jerusalem during Ramadan. Photo EAPPI / I. Tanner

19.06.15. Bethlehem. Checkpoint 300 Young man denied access to Jerusalem during Ramadan. Photo EAPPI / I. Tanner

And on the 3rd Friday of Ramadan a tragedy occurred. A young man was shot dead by an Israeli officer near Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem. The young man had been throwing stones at the army vehicle and it seems that the officers stepped out and shot him. This shooting has attracted widespread media attention, in part because of the sad story of the victim’s family—he is the third son to be killed by the Israeli military, and in part because of a view that the officer’s action was hugely disproportionate.

 03.07.15. Qalandiya checkpoint during 3rd Friday of Ramadan. Photo EAPPI / M.Lund-Johansen

03.07.15. Qalandiya checkpoint during 3rd Friday of Ramadan. Photo EAPPI / M.Lund-Johansen

During our monitoring hours at the checkpoints we repeatedly heard complaints, particularly from Palestinian women, that the soldiers were pushing and hitting them. We also met scores of young women in their 20s who claimed that there had been no information about the changing rules.

One young woman in Bethlehem told us:

“You know, one woman tried to stab an Israeli soldier here, so now they think we are all terrorists. We just want to pray, and we will try again and again until they let us enter”.

Eventually, the crowd of young women waiting at the checkpoint became too much for the soldiers and they finally gave in and let the steadfast Palestinian women pass.

 

Related:

B’Tselem, surveillance footage: ‘Video footage shows that Binyamin Brigade Commander shot and killed Muhammad ‘Ali-Kosba, 17, while the youth fled after throwing a stone’

Guardian, news: Palestinian teenager ‘shot in back by senior Israeli soldier while fleeing’

Harretz, opinion:  “Death penalty for stone throwing”

Harretz, news: ‘Female Israeli soldier wounded in stabbing at checkpoint near Bethlehem’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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