In a provocative step, Israeli police allowed extremist Jewish groups to enter the Al Aqsa Mosque (Haram al-Shareef) on Thursday 28 September 2009.
This step brings to mind the visit by former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, on 28 September 2000, which sparked the second Palestinian Intifada.
Israeli police had used force to enable Sharon's visit to the mosque, killing and injuring dozens of Muslim prayers.
Exactly nine years later, on 28 September 2009, according to media sources, clashes erupted between Palestinian civilians and Israeli police forces during which Palestinians threw stones at the Israeli police.
These clashes followed the entry into the mosque of extremist Jewish groups under police protection.
Muslims prayers in the mosque tried to prevent the visit and clashed with the Israeli police who opened fire at them.
The police closed the mosque doors and prevented prayers from entering it.
According to medical sources, 40 Palestinians were injured in these clashes, six seriously.
This escalation coincides with the ninth anniversary of the second Intifada (also called the Al Aqsa Intifada), which represented a Palestinian cry for freedom, dignity and protection.
The Palestinian people have paid a high price in pursuit of their legitimate rights and have been faced with extreme violence by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) which has detached itself from its obligations under international law.
Al Mezan's documentation reveals that the IOF has deliberately killed Palestinian civilians, targeted civilian objects, and demolished agricultural land.
The silence of the international community and its abandonment of its legal obligations have only allowed for more violations of international law to occur in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
The confiscation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes, and institution of an apartheid segregation regime; manifested in the construction of the Separation Wall in the West Bank, have turned into official Israeli policy, which has continued despite the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (2004).
The construction of this Wall represents a serious affront to international law.
The construction of the Wall by the State of Israel does not only alter the situation on the ground in the oPt; it also undermines any possibility for establishing a viable Palestinian state.
It has already inflicted serious harm upon Palestinian civilians and their property.
The IOF keeps the majority of Palestinian land in the West Bank under its full control and has already seized more than 165,000 dunams.
(One dunam equals 1,000 square meters.
) The IOF has also fragmented the West Bank into separate cantons that separate towns and villages from their lands.
The Wall causes harm to about 875,000 Palestinians, seizes water sources, and prevents thousands from accessing adequate medical care and education.
Israel has also stepped up violations of human rights in East Jerusalem; including forced evictions and house demolitions, and use of Palestinian lands to build public facilities.
These acts have lead to the displacement of thousands of Palestinians while, at the same time, Jewish families are encouraged to reside in Palestinian houses and Jewish-only settlements.
In Gaza Strip, the IOF continues to act in serious violation of international law; including by committing war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinians.
According to Al Mezan documentation, the scale of victimization and material damages has increased during the last nine years due to the IOF’s escalation of human rights violations.
In the Gaza Strip alone, since September 2000, the IOF has killed 4,652 Palestinians, 981 of whom were children and 219 women.
The IOF has also destroyed 18,928 Palestinian houses, 5,713 of which were completely destroyed and leveled 40,476 dunams of agricultural land.
The IOF has destroyed 995 public facilities, including schools and places of worship, 1,322 commercial facilities, 526 industrial establishments, and 1,293 vehicles.
The Israeli siege on Gaza prevents tens of thousands of displaced persons whose homes were destroyed by IOF actions from reconstructing their houses and rebuilding their lives, further exacerbating the suffering of Gaza's population who have witnessed killing and destruction on a wide scale As a result of this siege, the humanitarian and human rights situation continues to deteriorate; sick people have died as a result of their inability to access medicines and exit Gaza to undergo medical treatment abroad.
Living standards have reached an unprecedented low, with approximately 80 percent of Gazans living in poverty.
More than half of those live in extreme poverty that seriously harms their human rights and dignity.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights views the new Israeli escalation in East Jerusalem with grave concern.
Al Mezan reiterates its strong condemnation of Israel's continuous violation of the basic rights of the Palestinian people; including their right to self-determination and to be free from foreign occupation, their right to return to their homes and freely enter and leave their own country.
Al Mezan condemns Israel's serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in oPt.
Many of the IOF's actions constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, the perpetrators of which must be brought to justice.
Israel bears a clear obligation to bring these violations to an end, to prosecute its citizens who have perpetrated them and to ensure reparations for their victims.
Al Mezan also emphasizes that ending this decades-long conflict cannot be achieved without founding a peaceful settlement on a strong basis of justice and respect for human rights and international law.
In light of the above, Al Mezan calls upon the international community to end its policy of sacrificing human rights in the pursuit of a peaceful settlement.
The past two decades indicate that this approach is doomed: it ensures neither peace nor respect for human rights and dignity.
Further, Al Mezan calls on the international community to act upon its obligations to ensure that the Palestinian people enjoy their individual and collective rights in accordance with international law.