Nour recalled, “[Safa] was being physically pushed down to the ground, and punched and shoved.”
Rabat – Israeli soldiers violently assaulted three American women on vacation in Jerusalem after they tried to help a disabled woman at the Dome of the Rock, also called Al-Aqsa Mosque, on Tuesday, March 12.
Nour Hawash, a nursing student; her mother, Germeen Abdelkarim; and her sister, Safa Hawash, were taking pictures after their midday prayer when the Israeli soldiers stormed the Dome of the Rock and tried to evacuate the place, according to the Palestine Chronicle.
Nour reported, “We heard these shots being fired and people just started running all over the place. We saw the IDF [Israeli soldiers], guns pointed, running, trying to chase people. So we just ran with everyone else to the side.”
During the evacuation, a disabled woman was being wheeled out of the mosque after her prayer. The confrontation caused her to fall from her chair, and she was unable to climb back into it.
Several Muslims tried to help her, but the IDF arrested them.
“I saw that a couple of women were trying to help her, but they were being shoved so I tried to go in as well,” Nour said. While she attempted to help the woman, the soldiers forced her to the ground and arrested her.
Nour told the soldier that she is an American citizen and tried to show her passport, but the soldier replied, “I don’t care about your ID.”
Nour said her sister was also assaulted. “[Safa] was being physically pushed down to the ground, and punched and shoved, they pulled her scarf off and tried to choke with it so she couldn’t come near me.”
While soldiers were assaulting her daughters, Germeen was pushed against the wall and arrested.
The assault lasted for more than half an hour before a soldier picked up Nour’s passport and instructed the others to release the women.
According to a statement published by Palestine’s WAFA news agency, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has accused Israeli soldiers and settlers of “consistently violating the sanctity of the mosque and provoking the sentiments of Muslims.”
Israeli forces briefly banned Palestinians, including religious figures, from entering the Al Aqsa compound, which is located near the eastern wall of the old city, causing protests among the Palestinians.
According to Israel’s Reshet Kan radio station, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to close the Al-Rahma gates that lead to the southern part of the dome, despite the Palestinians’ protests. Whether this claim is true remains to be seen.