Seven Palestinians wounded in Al Aqsa clash


The Disengagement Administration bases its assessment on the fact that according to the disengagement law anybody not leaving by that date could lose tens of thousands of dollars in compensation money.

Seven young men have sustained various bruises and wounds, one seriously, after the Israeli occupation forces assaulted hundreds of citizens on Monday who tried to reach the courts of the Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (Jerusalem sanctuary enclosing Al-Aqsa Mosque).

Occupation soldiers fired a barrage of poisonous gas canisters and stun grenades on young men near the Lions Gate in the old city of occupied Jerusalem.

Citizens had continued to flock to the courts of the Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif Monday morning where hundreds of citizens managed to cross several military checkpoints set up at the entrances of the old city and the Al-Haram al-Qudsi, thus joining thousands of citizens who spent Sunday night at the courts of Al-Haram to protect it against attempts by extremist Jewish groups that threatened to storm it Monday.

The Awqaf (Islamic endowment) Department in occupied Jerusalem declared a state of emergency in the Al-Aqsa Mosque Monday.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces transformed the city into a military barracks, deploying hundreds of troops around the old city and the environs of the Al-Aqsa Mosque after closing the gates of the city and Al-Haram and preventing the entry of food to demonstrators.

Occupation forces also prevented citizens aged less than 50 years from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in an attempt to prevent any sit-in.

In statements to Palestinian radio, Jerusalem Deputy Ahmad al-Batsh described the situation in occupied Jerusalem as very serious, thus requiring the Arab and Islamic nations to shoulder their responsibility and prevent threats.

The Al-Aqsa Institute Inside the Green Line announced that Monday would be a day of mobilisation, stressing that it would dispatch a convoy of vehicles to the Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif.

Arab Knesset member Abd-al-Malik Dahamishah noted that Israeli Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra informed him that the occupation police will not allow settlers to enter Al-Haram.

Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei had Sunday warned against storming the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist Israeli groups.

In statements to reporters prior to the cabinet meeting in Ramallah Sunday, Qurei said that the dangers threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic holy places should be confronted.

The prime minister added that suspending the release of prisoners means that there is no seriousness to implement the roadmap or return to the peace process, noting that the Israeli side insists on pursuing its unilateral steps.

Minister of Prisoners Affairs Sufyan Abu-Zayidah has stressed that the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) informed the Israeli side that it will not participate in any meeting regarding the issue of prisoners if it is held for propaganda purposes.

In statements to Palestinian radio Monday morning, Abu-Zayidah explained that the PNA is interested in a meeting that will lead to changing the Israeli criteria for releasing prisoners.

The minister of prisoners affairs refused Israel’s continued manipulation of the prisoners’ file and linking it with what it terms combating terrorism, warning that this stance threatens calm and stability in the region.

The joint Palestinian-Israeli committee meeting, which was held Sunday, failed due to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s refusal to release 400 prisoners during the Israeli government meeting.

On top of this, Israeli Occupation Authorities expelled 16 prisoners to Jordan on Sunday night.

Head of Palestinian Prisoners Society, Isa al-Qaraqi’a said that Jordan allowed 12 prisoners to enter its territories and returned the others.

The prisoners have been held in Israeli jails for three years under pretext of having Jordanian passports and not having identity cards.

He revealed that there are 20 more prisoners threatened to be expelled for the same reasons.

Israel exploits the situation in the Palestinian territories and the region to deport more Palestinians under vain pretexts, Al-Qaraqi’a concluded.

In Sunday’s Israeli cabinet session, Defence Minister Shaul Mufaz reviewed the plan for bolstering the defence of the Israeli communities located close to the Gaza Strip after the ‘disengagement plan’ is implemented.

Israeli radio’s political correspondent Shmuel Tal reported these communities will be divided up into four areas on the basis of their distance from the border.

Some 270 million shekels have been allocated for this defence plan.

Half of the sum has already been accounted for in the budget.

Minister Hayim Ramon said Israel will not tolerate Palestinian gunfire after the evacuation is implemented, and will retaliate with force to such attacks.

The Israeli ‘Disengagement Administration’ is optimistic that no less than 50 per cent of the settlers destined for evacuation will agree to quit their homes even before the legal date for the disengagement, 20th July, Israeli newspaper Ma’arev reported Monday.

The defence establishment however doubts this assessment, it added.

However, senior Israeli army commanders doubt that half the settlers will leave by 20 July.

They believe that because of social pressure and a wish to protest the disengagement, the large majority of settlers will remain in their homes until the actual start of the disengagement process on 15 August, and that there will be a need to evacuate them from their homes without an agreement.

Therefore, the defence establishment is working on the premise that there will be a need to evacuate 90 per cent of the settlers by force.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers stepped up hostilities against Al-Mawasi citizens, west Khan-Younis city in the Gaza Strip on Monday, witnesses said.

Tens of armed settlers stormed Hamzah al-Farra’s farm, uprooted the fruitful trees, devastated the green houses and destroyed water nets.

More than 50 Donums have been destroyed, including the green houses, Al-Farra told Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

In the West Bank, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed, at pre-dawn, Berkin village of Jenin city and arrested seven citizens.

Eyewitnesses told Wafa that the soldiers started opening heavy machine gunfire to terrify the citizens.

They spilled olive oil on the ground, threw food supply in the streets and arrested seven citizens.