Question of Palestine home
20 May 2002
Item 37 and 73 of the preliminary list*
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE TO
INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES AFFECTING
THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE POPULATION
OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Letter dated 23 June 1986 from the Permanent Representative
of Jordan to the United Nations, addressed to the Secretary-General
I have the honour to transmit herewith information concerning the attacks and violations committed by the Israeli occupation authorities against the area of Tel Al-Ramida and its mosque in the occupied town of Al-Khalil, which acts are part of a series of operations directed against holy places in the occupied Arab territories in violation of the rules of international law governing foreign occupation and in disregard of human rights, freedom of religion and the principle of the inviolability of places of worship.
It hardly needs emphasizing what damage these perfidious violations do to the general situation in the occupied Arab territories and the peace efforts which the international community and the forces of good have unceasingly made to bring about a just, comprehensive and lasting settlement of the Middle East problem and to put an end to the Israeli occupation and the daily sufferings which it causes to the inhabitants of the occupied territories.
I should be grateful if you would arrange for the text of this letter and its annex to be circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under items 37 and 73 of the preliminary list, and of the Security Council.
(Signed) Abdullah SALAH
Report on the violations and acts of aggression committed by the occupation authorities
against the Al-Arbaïn mosque in the Tel Al-Ramida area in Al-Khalil
The Muslem authorities possess, under an endowment (waqf), a plot of land situated in the Tel Al-Ramida area in Al-Khalil, some 100 metres from the Jewish cemetery of the settlement established in the area; the rights of the Muslem authorities on this plot of land are guaranteed by a deed issued by the Land Registry Office of Al-Khalil (file No.158/8/1935, p. 26). The plot measures 741 square metres and is situated at Magam Al-Arbaïn. The plot contains a sacred archaeological monument and an ancient mosque.
The occupation authorities and the settlers have treated this mosque in the same way that they have treated the sanctuary of Abraham:
(1) On 21 December 1976, a group of Jews constructed a pathway on the plot leading to the above-mentioned structure;
(2) On 21 December 1976, a group of Jews carried out an archaeological dig near the mihrâb of the mosque;
(3) On 12 January 1977, the Military Governor forbade workers from making repairs to the mosque;
(4) On 11 May 1977, workers attempting to make repairs to the Magam Al-
Arbaïn mosque were prevented from doing so by an Israeli officer;
(5) On 12 May 1977, when the above-mentioned workers were attempting to make the repairs, the adviser of the Military Governor of Al-Khalil summoned the Keeper of the Waqf and asked him to stop the repair work; however, the latter demanded a written order or a judgement from a competent court. In addition, he requested an interview with the Military Governor of Al-Khalil in order to discuss the matter with him. However, the Military Governor refused to see him and suggested that he should meet with the military officer responsible for the area. When the latter was contacted, he did nothing to correct the situation.
(6) On 17 May 1977, a group of Jewish settlers accompanied by one Rabbi Yousseb b. Roufail arrived at the site and wrote "Holy place", "Tomb of King David, son of Bechar" on the two doors of the mosque. On 18 May, a number of soldiers went to the mosque and attempted to occupy it. When the caretaker of the mosque refused to give them the keys, they attacked the mosque and threw stones at its windows;
(7) During the afternoon of Thursday, 29 May 1977, the Office of the Military Governor informed the Keeper of the Waqf that the Military Governor wished to meet him at the mosque to discuss an important matter; upon arriving at the mosque, the Keeper found the Vice-Governor accompanied by a dozen or so soldiers. The Vice-Governor asked him to remove the mats hanging inside the mosque so that the holy place could be turned into an archaeological monument open to tourists at all times; the Keeper of the Waqf refused to accede to the request; this prompted the Vice-Governor to order his men forcibly to remove the mats. The same day, the assistant to the Governor contacted the Keeper of the Waqf and told him that the Military Governor had issued an order to prevent anyone from entering the mosque pending a final decision in the matter. The Governor had also forbidden the caretakers from closing the doors and had had a post installed on the roof of the building for use by a detachment of Israeli soldiers, on the pretext that it was necessary to maintain order;
(8) From 26 May 1977 onwards, the guards prevented Muslems from entering the area of the mosque and from reciting their prayers there;
(9) In the evening of Thursday, 2 June 1977, some Jewish settlers arrived at the site by automobile and brought picks, pails and other tools into the mosque, which indicated that they intended to turn the mosque into something else and make repairs with the aim of taking possession of it;
(10) On 7 June 1977, a liaison officer named Baroukh, accompanied by two soldiers, went to the offices of the Keeper of the Waqf, carrying the mats and the Korans which had been inside the mosque in order to hand them over to the person in charge, but when the latter refused to take them, the officer left them there. Before leaving, he informed the person in charge that the Military Governor had had them removed because the settlers of Kiriet Arba had demanded that a Torah should be placed in the Jewish monument situated across from the mosque and that the
Governor had decided to prevent Jews and Arabs from entering the place and from using it.
(11) On 23 July 1977, some 20 Israeli soldiers arrived at the site and prevented the caretaker from entering;
(12) On 24 October 1977, witnesses saw Jewish workers bringing mason's tools into the place, beginning construction of a zinc and iron structure, and posting notices in the front and rear or of the building, forbidding access to the mosque without the permission of the Military Governor.
(13) On 4 June 1980, when the caretaker of the mosque noticed a strange object inside the building, he immediately notified the police. A group of soldiers arrived and discovered that the object was a bomb (which was later detonated). The caretaker indicated that three rabbis had been seen in the mosque the previous evening and that no one else had been there;
(14) On 7 January 1981, settlers broke all the windows of the Al-
Arbaïn mosque and threw stones at it;
(15) On 9 March 1985, settlers damaged the iron portal of the mosque when attempting to force it open and wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the building;
These acts constitute a flagrant violation of the integrity of one of the Muslem holy places. By his illegal acts, the Military Governor of Al-Khalil encourages the desecration of the holy places of Islam and purposely does nothing to restrain fanatical elements from the Kiriet Arba settlement. These acts are contrary to the most elementary human rights, freedom of worship and the principle of the inviolability of holy places.