Israel must withdraw forces from the Al-Aqsa compound immediately - Anderson
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called on Israeli authorities to immediately withdraw all forces of occupation from the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to help stabilize a seriously fragile situation on the ground in Jerusalem.
The Sinn Féin MEP and chair of the European Delegation for relations with Palestine stated,
"Wednesday evening in Palestine marked the start of the holy festival Eid Al-Adha. While I wish all those commemorating Eid Al-Adha a safe and enjoyable commemoration, that is unlikely to happen in East Jerusalem.
"Israeli forces of occupation are still restricting access to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound - a site of massive religious significance for numerous faiths. Only some men are being allowed to enter and no women are allowed to enter whatsoever.
"Not only have they erected scores of new checkpoints across Occupied East Jerusalem, Israel has drafted in 800 reserve troops. These troops are using excessive force to prevent the entry of Palestinian worshippers to holy sites and hundreds of who have been injured and over 150 Palestinians, some as young as 13, have been illegally detained.
"These actions are cause for increased concern given recent Israeli political developments. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on the Israeli Attorney General to "allow" occupying forces to employ open-fire regulations in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem. This, in short, would make it legally permissible for Israeli police and soldiers to shoot, with live ammunition, Palestinian demonstrators and stone-throwers.
Ms Anderson continues,
"This week alone two young Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli forces. Hadeel Al-Hashlamon, aged only 18, was shot three times by Israeli occupation forces near Hebron and left to bleed on the ground for thirty minutes before she received treatment. Diaa' Al-Talahmah, aged 21, was killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the village of Khursa, near Dora.
"I offer my sincere condolences to their families and call on the international community and the European Institutions to take responsibility in the role they have to play in deescalating tensions and protecting the rights of Palestinians living under the illegal occupation.
"I recently submitted a written question to the European Commission in relation to Israeli violence in the occupied territories. They replied stating that they were in regular contact with Israeli authorities. It is clear from their response that simply raising concerns is insufficient, action is needed immediately." ENDS