ICSPR surprised by the Palestinian civil affairs ministry refusal to accept the requests of activists of the campaign “praying at al-Aqsa is my right”
The International Commission to support Palestinian rights “ICSPR” followed with concern and condemnation the refusal of the Department at civil affairs ministry in Gaza Strip to receive requests from activists of the campaign (praying at Al-Aqsa is my right), under the allegation that the Israeli occupation has set conditions for accepting applications, including the requirement of age.
As reported by Mr. Sami Akela, a member of board of directors at ICSPR, an activist of the campaign, that he had gone yesterday morning, Sunday, July 30, 2017 to the headquarter of the civil affairs ministry in Gaza City, and he asked staff members to take an application to pray at al-Aqsa mosque, and visit Jerusalem, but they refused his request, arguing that the state of Israel’s occupation has identified in advance the terms of accepting applications including a specific age, it does not apply to Mr. Akela, and most of those involved to submit requests.
The International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights “ICSPR” confirmed that international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, protect the freedom of access to the holy places, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to freedom of worship, as a civil and political rights, that the human being must have, regardless of color and sex, beliefs, article (18) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to confirmed that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This includes the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching, alone or in public, as confirmed by the international resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations No. 194, on the Arab – Israeli conflict, the principle of freedom of access to holy sites in Jerusalem, among the resolution of other issues, such as the return of refugees.
The International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights ICSPR, emphasize on the right of the Palestinian people to access the holy sites and pray in it, and surprised by the behavior of the staff of the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Gaza. Declaring its readiness to receive a complaint from activists of the campaign “Praying in Al-Aqsa is my right”, therefore; ICSPR Calls for the following:
ICSPR affirms that Israeli actions that restrict the access of Palestinian civilians to the holy sites, including the requirement of a certain age, are is direct violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Where article 9 states: ‘Freedom to practice religion or belief publicly or privately, and freedom of religion in worship, teaching, practice and rituals . ‘. As well as articles 27 and 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which guarantee the freedom of worship and access to worship, and not to obstruct the exercise of their religious rites.
ICSPR demanding the Minister of Civil Affairs, Mr. Hussein Al-Sheikh, to intervene to urge the staff of the ministry to receive the requests of the activists, and support their just demands, even if the ministry is unable to secure the right; due to the restrictions imposed by the occupation authorities, this behavior may be interpreted as a waiver of the responsibility of the occupation, that must receive the requests of the citizens in this regard.
ICSPR support the right of Gaza Strip citizen’s to movement, travel and their right to access the holy places for prayer and religious rituals, and consider that it is the duty of the authorities to enable citizens to exercise their rights, and to hold the occupation responsibility for its refusal to enable citizens to exercise their rights, which makes it easier for specialized organizations to expose Israeli violations and its violations against Palestinian human rights.
ICSPR calls the Palestinian factions, civil society organizations, United Nations organizations and the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention to pressure to lift the unjust siege on Gaza Strip and to support Palestinian human rights in movement, travel and free access to holy sites in Jerusalem and other Palestinian cities.