JERUSALEM, April 7 (JMCC) – When an Israeli court ordered 15-year-old Abdel Rahman Zaghal to stay away from his Ras al-Amoud home for two months, he went to live with a brother in Tel Aviv
, missing school.
“I’d stay alone from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. while my brother went to work,” recalls the 10th grader, who was arrested in October.
“For the entire two months, I did not go out into the street because the court forbade it. The constant boredom made me feel nervous and agitated,” he says.
The practice of ordering Palestinians to stay away from Jerusalem
is increasingly being used by Israeli officials as they seek to contain Palestinian anger in the city.
At least 50 residents of Jerusalem’s Old City were ordered by the courts to stay away from the walled city and its Muslim shrines after March clashes, found a preliminary report by the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights.
The youngest of the exiled was 12-year-old Mohammad al-Qadi, arrested from his home in the African quarter and expelled to Jericho
for two weeks for allegedly participating in demonstrations on March 16, declared a “Day of Rage” by Palestinian leaders.
Among those ordered to stay away are minors, Palestinian citizens of Israel
, and clerics.
On March 18, the Israeli military summoned Hikmat Naamnah, head of architecture at the al-Aqsa mosque, and handed him an order banning him from entering the mosque compound and the Jerusalem Old City for two months.
The order, made to preserve “public order,” was attached to a map that portrayed the areas Naamnah was not allowed to enter.
The court orders seem clearly intended to restrict activism.
Ihab Jallad, 34, is coordinator of an international project meant to support Jerusalem as a capital of Arab culture.
He was detained for five days for allegedly organizing a demonstration at the al-Aqsa mosque before being fined, placed under house arrest for 10 days and denied entry to the mosque for 20 days.
“I explained to the interrogator that my work and activism, including the solidarity events with the 28 threatened homes at Sheikh Jarrah
, are all nonviolent activities,” said Jallad. Nevertheless, he was detained on secret evidence with affiliation with Hamas
and organizing demonstrations around the al-Aqsa mosque in February and March.
Fifteen-year-old Abdel Rahman returned from Tel Aviv to finish his sentence under house arrest. One of his parents must accompany him to school.
“Even after I returned to my home in Jerusalem,” he says, “I was not freed from my prison. My freedom was restrained once again.”