Question of Palestine home
11 March 1988
Item 77 of the preliminary list*
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO
INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES
AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE
POPULATION OF THE OCCUPIED
DOCUMENT S/19608* **
Letter dated 11 March 1988 from the representative
of Jordan to the Secretary-General
[11 March 1988]
On instructions from my Government, I wish to draw your attention and, through you, that of the international community to an incident that took place on 15 January 1988 when, during the Friday prayers, Israeli occupying forces threw tear-gas and smoke grenades inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem even though thousands of the faithful - men, women and children - had not yet finished their devotions.
In the letter I addressed to you on 24 February 1988
I detailed the savage and brutal behaviour employed indiscriminately by the occupying troops against the faithful. I should now like to add that a number of the tear-gas and smoke grenades thrown by the Israeli soldiers started at least three fires: two in the Al-Aqsa Mosque and one inside the Dome of the Rock. Had the faithful not been alert and, although choking under the influence of the gas and the smoke, rushed to put the fires out, the consequences would have been disastrous both for the two mosques and for the people inside them.
There can be no justification for such behaviour, especially as the Israeli occupying troops that threw the grenades were acting under the orders of senior officers. What is more, as the photographs annexed to this letter clearly show,
/ the grenades found inside the mosques afterwards were marked "For outdoor use only" and "May start fire.
I also wish to remind you that, since Israel's occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, the mosque has been the target of many attacks by parties seeking to destroy it and remove every trace of the Islamic heritage from the Holy City, the intention being to Judaize it and build the "temple" over the ruins of the sanctuary. Only a few days after the occupation of Jerusalem, the occupying authorities conducted excavations under the foundations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In 1969, they tried to burn it down. From time to time they have also encouraged Israeli settlers to enter the precincts of the Mosque under army protection and conduct prayers there. In 1987 a number of Israeli soldiers moved a large quantity of explosives inside, with the intention of destroying it.
The latest incident adds a new dimension to the threats hanging over the Muslim sanctuary in Jerusalem. It is now the Israeli occupation authorities themselves that are imperilling this holy place, which is regarded as one of the most important and sacred in Islam and constitutes part of the spiritual, historical and architectural heritage of mankind.
I should be grateful if you would arrange for the text of this letter and the photographs to be circulated as a document of the General Assembly and of the Security Council.
Permanent Representative of Jordan
to the United Nations
*Incorporating document S/19608/Corr.l of 16 March 1988
**Circulated under the double symbol A/43/213-S/19608.
/ The photographs are not reproduced in the present
and may be consulted in the files of the Secretariat.
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