Question of Palestine home
2 November 1990
Original: ARABIC AND ENGLISH
Agenda items 23, 35 and 75
QUESTION OF PALESTINE
THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST
REPORT OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE
TO INVESTIGATE ISRAELI PRACTICES
AFFECTING THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE AND OTHER
ARABS OF THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
Letter dated 2 November 1990 from the Charge d'affaires a.i
of the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United
Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
I am instructed by the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which has the powers and responsibilities of the Provisional Government of Palestine, to transmit to you the report of the commission, appointed by the Higher Islamic Council, for inquiry and collection of documents and information concerning the latest events at the Haram al-Sharif on 8 October 1990.
I should be grateful if you would arrange to have the text of the present letter and the annexed report circulated as an official document of the General Assembly, under agenda items 23, 35 and 75, and of the Security Council.
) Dr. Nasser AL-KIDWA
Alternate Permanent Observer of
Palestine to the United Nations
Charge d'affaires, a.i.
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY
AND COLLECTION OF DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION
To His Holiness, the Head of the Higher Islamic Council/Jerusalem
In response to your letter of 24 Rabia Awal 1411, 13 October 19909, in which you appointed us to conduct an inquiry and to collect information and documentation, we are the commission, composed of:
Sheikh Ibrahim Said Sabri, Jerusalem Sharia Court Judge, member of the Islamic council: Head of the Commission of Inquiry;
Sheikh Mohammad Ahmad Yassin, assistant to the Director of the Holy al-Aqsa Mosque, member of the Islamic Council: Commission Member;
Attorney Hashem Khalil Issa, member of the Islamic Council: Member;
Sheikh Yasser Abdul Majid Abu Ghazaleh, head of the Education and Religious Instruction: Rapporter.
In order the carry out our mandate, the Commission took the following steps:
(l) We listened to eye-witness accounts and collected sworn affidavits from over 50 eye-witnesses, attached to this report (Appendix 10);
(2) Visited the hospitals, heard the testimonies of the wounded, and interviewed medical staff, doctors and nurses;
(3) Visited the losal media (an-Nahar, a-Shaab, al-Fajr, al-Quds) and the Arab Journalists Association, whom we thank for their cooperation;
(4) Surveyed the press and Arab bulletins, and translations from the Hebrew press and reports issued by specialized societies;
(5) Examined the site of the events and material evidence left on al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock buildings, columns, doors and plazas, and the remains of spent ammunition (Appendix l2);
(6) Supported our account with personal data, written testimonies, and photographs, which are attached to the report.
Before we turn to our conclusions, we shall briefly refer to the significance of the Holy al-Aqsa Mosque for the Moslem.
The Significance of the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque
"Glory to God, who did take his servant on a journey by night from the sacred mosque to the farthest mosque whose precincts we did bless, in order that we might show him some of our signs, for he is the one who hears and sees (all things)" (Sura XVII).
"The prophet said, 'The journeys are to three mosques" the sacred mosque,the farthest mosque and my mosque'" (al-Bukhari).
The al-Aqsa Mosque is the first
(direction for prayer) for Moslems, and the third most sacred mosque, and the reward for each prayer in the Mosque or its plaza equals 500 prayers.
The Holy al-Aqsa Mosque is a part of the Moslem faith all over the world, and they are ready to give up their lives for it. What clear proof of that. The Moslems are ready to sacrifice everything to preserve it and anyone who harms it is harming the Moslems in their faith, which is the most precious thing to the Moslem.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the whole area surrounded by the walls including the gates, the plazas, the Mosateb, the Mahareb, and the Zawaya, and the buildings of al-Aqsa itself and its sanctity. The outside walls of al-Aqsa also belong to the Moslems themselves and only Moslems have the right to this place. See the order concerning the (western wall or wailing wall) in Palestine, l93l, and the Bulletin in the Palestine Laws, l933, Fourth Volume, p. 3397, translation to Arabic (Appendix 3).
Causes of the Massacre
Background on the Temple Mount Faithful
(A) the Temple Mount Faithful is one of the most extreme religious Jewish groups, established in l967 by Gershon Soloman, and its aim is to exercise Israeli authority over the Holy al-Aqsa Mosque and to build the third Jewish Temple, to replace the previous temple) which allegedly was on the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock site. This group distributes bulletins showing a picture of the temple built, according to their imagination, on the ruins of the two mosques. (An example is attached).
The Temple Mount Faithful refuses to accept that the Mosque is in Moslems hands, and they have tried throughout the years to enter the Mosque area during religious events, in order to put facts on the ground, in fulfilment of their criminal intentions. Every one of these attempts has resulted in clashes between them and the Moslems and every attempt has failed, because the Mosque is Islamic and this is God's will (Attached report about all attempts since l967, Appendix 4).
Prior to the last events, this group declared in a bulletin distributed to the Israeli media during their Succot holidays, that they plan to march on 8 October l990 toward the Holy al-Aqsa Mosque. They said that they seek to liberate the Mount, meaning the Holy al-Aqsa, from the hands of the Arabs, and they also said that they will place a
in front of the Maghrabeh Gate and they called upon Jews to attend the march. According to them, this march will be the culminating act, in which they will place the cornerstone for the so-called "third temple" (Appendix 5: translation of the bulletin). Even after the bloody events, the extremist Gershon Solomon declared that the Arab-Islamic occupation of the Holy al-Aqsa area should end and that Jews must renew their deep connection to the holy sites (See Appendix 6: a-Shaab, p. l, no. 590l).
(B) Only a few days before the al-Aqsa massacre, Prime Minister Shamir announced a plan to take over holy Jerusalem, and to force everyone to accept the israelio annexation and the police also announced that they will use new methods in confronting the events.
(C) Extremists like MK Gleula Cohen and Ministers Ne'eman and Sharon and others expressed deep hatred against the Arabs and called for using all means against them.
The Events of the Massacre
(A) Prior to the Massacre
(l) In light of the Temple Mount Faithful announcement, Moslems gathered on Monday, l9 Rabia Awal l4ll, 8 October l990, on the Day of the Martyrs at Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to prevent this group from entering the Mosque plaza. Moslems started coming to the Mosque at the dawn prayers.
The Moslems were disciplined and quiet. Preachers and Islamic scholars gve religious lessons and people prayed to God to keep their mosque and to remove the evil fromthem and their mosque (See Appendix 7" photos of mid-morning prayers, a few minutes before the massacre).
(2) The employees of the Islamic waqf, with the heop of Moslems, clergy and elderly Moslems, attempted to control the situation and they created a human chain to separate those praying from fully-armed Israeli soldiers who were on theMosque plaza between the Maghrabeh and Chain Gates and on the western roofs between the two gates. This human chain prevented anyone from approaching the Maghrabeh Gate, and the distance between thetwo groups was 50 meters. The situation continued to be calm until the massacre started. It was a massacre committed by the Israeli occupation forces with all its units -- border guards, police, unidentified plain-clothed people.
(3) The officer in charge of the border guard unit (Shlomo Katabi), known as "the Yemenite", threatened the assistant to the Director of the Mosque: ""This is your day and we don't play around here" (free translation from the Hebrew). The officer in charge of the Mosque police station, whose name in Zion Said, said, "If a small stone is thrown on us, we will shoot with live ammunition and I will kill l00,000 Moslems." Other threats of bloodshed were repeated from time to time, and the emenite officer provoked the Moslems with body gestures, as was stated in eye-witness testimonies.
(4) The Israeli authorities did not allow tourists into the Mosque on that day, unlike in previous similar events, and it is believed that they dfid so, because they did not want the world to see what they had planned against theMoslems andthe Mosque.
(5) The Israeli authorities did not limit Moslems coming into the Mosque, as they have in the past.
(6) The Israeli authorities did, however, allow extremist Jews, including the Temple Mount Faithful, to march toward al-Aqsa Mosque on Monday 8 October l990, and the police and border guards know that Moslems will defend the Mosque with their bodies and souls. If the police and border guard command were interested in peace and calm, they would have prevented these groups from coming, and prevented them from distributing their bulletin to the press and media. By allowing these things, they challenged the Islamic faith and sensitivities of one billion Moslems.
(7) Jewish worshipers were evacuated from the Holy Buraq Plaza (Wailing Wall) before the shooting started.
The Beginning of the Massacre
(l) Everything was quiet and religious classes were taking place, when all of a sudden, at about l0.40, screams were heard from women who were on the southeast Mostaba of the Dome of the Rock, known as al-Kark Mostaba.
Moslems started toward the source of the screams and the people chanted, "Allahu Akbar". The soldiers started shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas, in many places. As the women continued screaming, more tear gas was thrown on them. In response to the shooting, Moslems stoned the soldiers on the Mosque area between the Maghrabeh and Chain Gates and the walls on the western side. Shooting and sniping continued to rain on the Moslems from the windows and roofs of Talkazia School (al-Mahkama) and there was shooting from an automatic weapon while a helicopter was flying over the al-Aqsa area. Persons in civil-dress also started shooting from the al-Sharaf Quarter (Known as the Jewish Quarter) and from other places. All of this shooting caused the fall of a few martyrs.
A few minutes later, a huge number of border guards and police raided al-Aqsa Mosque from the Maghrabeh and Chain Gates, and started shooting intensely with live ammunition, as if they were in a real war. They shots in all directions, without justification, indiscriminately hitting women, youths and the elderly, and even stones and trees.
The Inhuman and Immoral Behavior of the Israeli Occupation Forces
a) They shot live ammunition at praying Moslems at close range without any justification.
(b) One ll year old girl testified that she was shot in her hand by a soldier from a distance of approximately l0 meters (See Appendix 8).
(c) One injured person testified that he was trying to help a wounded person when a soldier who was a few meters away shot him with live ammunition and hit his left knee and his riht foot, causing him to fall to the ground. The soldier came over and stepped on his head and hit him with his gun, and hit the other wounded person with his gun (Appendix 9).
(d) A l5 year old youth testified that he was hiding behind one of the columns when he was shot by four bullets in different parts of his body; he is in critical condition (Apendix l0).
(e) A group of Moslems praying were surrounded by a group of soldiers who shot them with live ammunition and rubber bullets. Two were killed, others were injured and some were arrested. Moreover, the soldiers stepped on the dead and the injured and beat those arrested (See Appendices ll and l2: photograph of this event and eye-witness affidavit).
(f) Tear gas and live ammunition were fired at an ambulance in front of al-Aqsa Mosque, while the staff were trying to rescue people. Dr. Tareq Abu al-Hawa was hit in his leg, nurse Fatma Abu Khdoir was hit on her hand and other parts of her body, and nurse Mohammad Abu Ryaleh was hit in his kidneys (Appendix 13, 14, 15).
(g) Soldiers delayed the evacuation of the wounded from the al-Aqsa mosque building, which contributed to the death of three persons who were inside the mosque; and they delayed ambulances on their way to the hospitals.
(h) Wounded people were forced out of ambulances, beaten and arrested.
These are only some examples of the soldiers' actions against peaceful worships who closed the doors of the mosques on themselves, while other ran to hide between trees but were shot, and others were chased and shot on the Al-Aqsa plaza. During the events, soldiers entered from the Asbat and Majlis Gates and surrounded worshipers trying to flee. The soldiers closed all the outside gates to prevent worshdipers from leaving and arrested tens of them, and handcuffed them with plastic handcuffs, beat them and insulted them (Appendix l6).
Live ammunition and tear gas, which is prohibited from being used in closed areas, were fired into the two mosques.
Soldiers fired gas and high-velocity live ammunition that exploded on mpact at peaceful, unarmed worshipers, without any warning and without ustification. These actions of the occupation forces violate all divine and international laws and customs, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 22 August l949 for the Protection of Civilians, which prohibits such attacks on persons and their physical integrity. They also violated the Hague Declaration of 29 July l899 and the Geneva Declaration of l2 June l925, which both prohibit the use of explosive ammunition and gases which may damage the health (Appendix l7).
The Determination to Kill
The border guard officers in charge and the police did not listento the calls of the mauzin to stop the massacre and to stop shooting in order to evacuate the wounded and the dead. Rather, they continued with their brutal force against Moslems, armed only with their faith which fills their hearts, their faith that will save the oppressed and defeat their oppressors. Some of the Awqaf officials and members of the Islamic Higher Council and the Ulama' tried unsuccessfully to speak rationally to the officers and to convince them to stopthe shooting. They were answered by filthy words and threats, and Zion, the police station officer, confiscated the al-Aqsa keys.
Meanwhile the police arrested Mr. Faisal Husseini, member of the Islamic Council, when he objected to the behavior of soldiers while they were forcing two wounded persons out of the ambulance and arrested the driver. When the officials of the Awqaf and the Ulama' insisted on trying to convince them to stop shooting, they were given twenty seconds to leave or they would be shot at, and they added that they were not kidding. The shooting continued for almost one and a half hours.
Refutation of Claims
The Israeli authorities claim that Moslems threw stones on Jewish worshipers, but what the world thought they saw on Israeli television is a lie. There is no evidence that any Jewish worshipers were seriously injured by the small stones thrown in self-defense which landed on the Wailing Wall Plaza. Moslems, according to their belief and teachings respect other religions and would never deliberately assault them. If it were true that they intended to disrupt the Jewish worshipers, why were the Moslems since dawn in the Mosque and not throwing any stones during the time that over 20,000 Jewish worshipers were in the Buraq Plaza. When the events started, atabout l0.40, the Plaza had been cleared of worshipers.
The only reason that Moslems were in the mosques was to defend them and to prevent the Temple Mount Faithful from entering the Holy al-Aqsa to fulfil their dream. The throwing of stones toward the soldiers was in response to the unprovoked shooting of the Israeli soldiers and was an act of self-defense.
How could Moslems throw huge stones from a distance of tens of meters to fall on the Buraq Plaza? Even many of small stones thrown at the solders positioned by the Maghrabeh Gate fell on the Mosque Plaza after hitting the inside wall. Perhaps a few stones fell into the Buraq area because the soldiers were positioned in the high arches of the western wall and they were shooting from there. The soldiers who fired from those positions are to blame if stones fell on the Buraq Plaza. It is completely unreasonable to assume that the large building stones were thrown from tens of meters, no matter what the strength of the thrower. Moreover, the arches are eight meters high and seven meters wide, and the soldiers were also shooting.
The authorities claim that Jews were injured, but none of them was shown on television. We know that the Buraq Plaza was empty. If there indeed had been 20,000 worshipers present and if the large building stones shown on television were indeed thrown on them, what would have happened to these worshipers? All the claims about these stones and injured Jews are clearly refuted lies, with no basis in fact. They are merely fabrications to justify their crime against the Moslems.
The Day After the Massacre
The Israeli soldiers prohibited Moslems from entering al-Aqsa and closed all the gates. They prohibited a press conference inside the Mosque and prohibited the Awqaf employees and the members of the Islamic Council from entering the Mosque. When the Moslems insisted to pray the noon prayers, Israeli soldiers and officers three sound bombs and tear gas in the area of the Majlis Gate. The Head of the Islamic Council, Sa'ad Eddin al-Alami, fainted and was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Maqassad hospital. Other elderly people fainted as well, and Moslems were dispersed by force. They left the Majlis Gate area. Some of them entered the Awqaf offices next to the Majlis Gate and they were prevented from leaving, and people were prevented from going in to see them (Appendix l8).
On the evening of 9 October l990, the gates were opened at l7:00, following the intervention of the international community who heeded the appeal of the Awqaf and the Islamic Council, Moslems entered the Mosque for evening prayers. Sheikh Mohammad Said al-Jamal, the Islamic Court Inspector, was arrested in the early hour of 9 October l990 and accused of incitement, despite the fact that he had called upon the soldiers and the officers to stop shooting.
l. The tragic events on the Day of the Martyrs, Monday 8 October l990, was not an accident, but a premeditated, well-planned operation by the command of the border guards and the police, as we have indicated in this report. These two commands would not have committed this massacre without a green light from the political eschelon of the Israeli leadership. The border guards and police initiated the shooting and the entire event.
2. The inhuman and immoral treatment by the border guards and police against worshipers, wounded, arrested, and medical staff shames every civilized person and every democratic state which stand for equality and the preservation of hiuman and religious rights.
3. The intense and indiscriminate shooting to kill, and only to kill, without any justification, was demonstrated by the extensive number of injuries and the targetting ofyouth, women, children, and elderly in the head and chest.
4. As a result of this event, l8 were killed and hundreds were injured and arrested.
5. The buildings of al-Aqsa and the Come of the Rock, the walls of the Dome of the Rock, the columns, the plazas, gates and minarets were shot with hundreds of bullets and tear-gas canisters.
6. Moslems threw stones at the soldiers only after they were shot at with live ammunition and tear gas, and then only to defend themselves and to stop the soldiers. Moslems did not in any way assault holy places and worshipers from other religions, an act which would be against the very essence of thei religion.
7. The use of live ammunition which shattered on impact, causing extensive internal damage, and the use of tear gas in prohibited manners against unarmed people violated international law and accepted humanitarian standards.
8. The brutal pattern of shooting, with no justification whatsoever, only to terrorize Moslems to appease extremist Jews, will not succeed to frighten Moslems, who fear only God Almighty.
9. In presenting this report, we pray to God Almighty to take the martyrs into his mercy and into their rightful place in paradise, to speed the recovery of the wounded and the release of those arrested, and to protect our Holy al-Aqsa Mosque from every evil and assault. Moslems will remain steadfast as the defenders of the Mosque, no matter what the risk, no matter what the sacrifice. Until God will determine what is to happen, may He help those who help Him, for God is Almighty.
Ibrahim Said Sabri
Head of the Commission
Mohammad Ahmad Yassin
Hashem Khalil Issa
Yasser Abdul Majid Abu Ghazaleh
9 Rabia Thani l4ll Hijra
28 october l990