Sunday, July 20, 2008

Israeli forces attack summer camp, terrorize children

Jerusalem / Maisa Abu Ghazaleh – Israeli forces attacked East Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina Social Club late this week. They scattered the contents of the rooms on to the floor, turning furniture upside down and terrorizing the 220 boys and girls who were there for summer camp.

Head of the Gathering of Civil Institutions in Jerusalem, Hazem El Gharably, denounced this attack which comes as part of the Israeli campaign targeting Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and private organizations.

He stressed that such acts lead to a blurring of the political horizon and the possibility of coexistence and a peaceful solution on the issue of Jerusalem. The Israeli actions and its quest to annex East Jerusalem to the Israeli government, which is being cleansed of its population while they are imprisoned by the Wall and settlements at the same time, contravene all international law. Charters, the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, none of these are being heeded by the Israeli government.

El Gharably has demanded that the international community provide protection and international observers within the city of Jerusalem to protect the Palestinians from the oppression perpetrated by Israeli forces, which raided the club, attacked and intimidate innocent children and prevented them from exercising their right to assemble. And this is the treatment of children. The treatment of adults becomes far worse. He also called on human rights bodies to “protect our children from the onslaught on them and their rights.”

Secretary of the Jerusalem Bureau, businessman Yousef Mekhemar said that the attack on the summer camp is part of the strategy of to empty and Judaize the city. Home seizures and destruction, land theft and attacks, arrests and putting in the Wall and settlements where the Palestinians lived until being kicked out of their homes and businesses, are the rule, not the exception. Just this month Israeli forces have demolished 20 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and issued 40 more demolition orders. The general campaign of racism is on the rise as well, continues Mekhemar, who says that attacks on Palestinian workers are becoming more frequent, as are random arrests.

Regarding the attack on the summer camp, Fateh said, “We denounce this act and consider it a type of terrorism against Palestinian children and an assault on one of the national institutions in Jerusalem which is a social and sports club. We will expose this to the international community.”

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