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CAIR: US needs to hold Israel accountable for assault of American sisters at al-Aqsa

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) are calling on US congressional representatives to take action against Israel for the March 12th assault of two American sisters at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

During a press conference held at the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Virginia, CAIR and AMP representatives criticized the Israeli government for its “disrespect” and mistreatment of American citizens, especially those of Palestinian descent, while visiting the occupied Palestinian territory.

The conference was held to address the violent assault of American sisters Nour, 21, and Safa Hawash, 18, and their mother Germeen, while the three were visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque on March 12th.

The Hawash family found themselves in the middle of confrontations between Israeli police forces and Palestinian worshipers, after the former stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after a nearby Israeli police station was allegedly firebombed.

In videos that were circulated widely on social media, Noor Hawash can be seen being pushed and shoved by Israeli police forces and a female officer attempts to put her in handcuffs.

Watch | Israeli police brutally attack Palestinian women worshippers inside the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem, today.

Posted by Quds News Network on Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Speaking at the press conference, Noor’s sister Safa recounted the events that transpired last week:

“We went to take pictures of the Dome of the Rock when we heard sounds of gunfire and saw Israeli soldiers chasing people in all different directions. Within seconds the fire department arrived and great numbers of backup soldiers swarmed the area. The worshipers began to seek refuge and run for their safety, while simultaneously recording and documenting the events as they unfolded.

The Israeli forces raided the Dome of the Rock and proceeded to physically remove worshipers from the mosque. They then lined up at every door and gate and forcefully shut down Al-Aqsa.

An elderly woman in wheelchair was being hurried out of the mosque, when my sister eralized she was about to slip and fall. Another lady was trying to help her, but my sister realized that lady was also being attacked. Noor went in and attempted to help the old lady, when a female soldier grabbed her arms and placed one hand in handcuffs and pushed her to the ground.

Consequently, my mother who was holding onto my sister fell down with her. The soldier sat on my sister and continued to be aggressive with her so that she could successfully place both hands in handcuffs. My sister was holding her US passport in hand when the female soldier threw it to the side, and continued to handcuff her and say ‘I don’t care about your ID’.

Several soldiers gathered around my sister and barricaded her with their feet and bodies forcefully pushing away the men and women who were trying to help her. Another soldier physically assaulted my mom, handcuffed her and pushed her to the wall so she wouldn’t be able to help her daughter.

I was also near my sister and mom but was also aggressively pushed away…I was repeatedly pushed and kicked…”

Safa went on to say that what happened to her family was “only a fragment of what Palestinian people face on a daily basis.”

“We are not first nor last people to face the brutality of Israeli forces,” she said, adding that “supremacy was the common theme” in the attack on worshipers at Al-Aqsa and the massacre at the New Zealand mosques over the weekend.

Following her remarks, AMP Director Osama Abu Irshaid spoke to reporters, saying “this incident before us is just another reminder of Israel’s disrespect to the United States and American citizens.”

Abu Irshaid highlighted the cases of Palestinian-American teenager Tariq Abu Khdeir who was violently beaten by an Israeli soldier in 2014, and 16-year-old Palestinian American Mahmoud Shaalan, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers at a Ramallah checkpoint in 2016.

He expressed outrage over the fact that in the case of Abu Khdeir, the accused soldier was only sentenced to 45 days of community service, and in the killing of Shaalan, no one was ever held accountable.

“The US never demanded an investigation. No one was punished for murdering that American citizen,” he said.

Abu Irshaid went on to call on congress to invoke the Leahy Laws, which were passed in 1961 and prohibit the State Department and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign security forces that violate human rights with impunity.

“We are giving 3.8 billion dollars of our tax money, money that is being used to subjugate another people and to defy international law,” he said.

“We demand that the Leahy Laws be invoked, we demand an investigation into this incident, we demand that the administration revisits the whole approach in relation to Israel, in relation to the occupation, and in relation to the recent human rights report that dropped the word occupation from the west Bank, Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip.”

Echoing Abu Irshaid’s sentiments, CAIR’s executive Director Nihad Awad said that “Israel has been enabled through billions in military aid to inflict harm on the indigenous population.”

He called on the American public to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation, adding that “it is not going to be easy,” given the influences of the pro-Israel lobby on American politicians.

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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27 Responses

  1. just on March 18, 2019, 5:17 pm

    It goes without saying that the IOF are state- sponsored terrorists and cowards. They should all be banned from Al- Aqsa Mosque, and so should Israeli zio lawmakers, the illegal squatters, and any other zio- rabble rousers and inciters. What is Jordan doing anyway? Nothing at all serious~ only window dressing, imho.

    I do take it very seriously that the US does nothing to protect or react to violence and discrimination against Americans of Palestinian descent and those Americans who advocate for peace and justice. Some ‘ally and democracy’! With Friedman as ambassador across the way, it becomes more sickening/maddening every. single. day. I am so sorry that this is the memory that Noor, Safa, and Germeen have burned in their minds. It should not have been this way, nor should it be this way for Palestinians.

    Thanks to CAIR and AMP. Thanks, Yumna.

    • mondonut on March 19, 2019, 1:07 am

      @just They should all be banned from Al- Aqsa Mosque, and so should Israeli zio lawmakers, the illegal squatters, and any other zio- rabble rousers and inciters. What is Jordan doing anyway?

      Who is going to ban Israelis from Israel?

      • echinococcus on March 19, 2019, 5:35 pm

        “Who is going to ban Israelis from Israel?”

        That has already been done by the UN Charter in 1945 and by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

      • eljay on March 20, 2019, 10:06 am

        || mondonut: @just They should all be banned from Al- Aqsa Mosque …

        Who is going to ban Israelis from Israel? ||

        Jerusalem is not-Israel – it’s a Free City currently under military occupation and colonization by Israel – so no problem there.

        However, Israeli refugees are being banned from Israel by “Jewish State” supremacists who refuse to let them return to their homes and lands in Israel.

      • mondonut on March 20, 2019, 12:20 pm

        @eljay Jerusalem is not-Israel

        I will rephrase so as to not serve as a platform for you to mindlessly regurgitate the same stuff over and over. Who is going to ban the Israelis from Jerusalem? And have you now redefined the Palestinians as Israeli refugees? Do they know about this?

      • mondonut on March 20, 2019, 12:22 pm

        echinococcus ,That has already been done by the UN Charter in 1945 and by the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

        Ordinarily I would not engage with your strange opinions but I am fascinated to know how the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia applies in this context. Please explain.

      • eljay on March 20, 2019, 1:34 pm

        || mondonut: @eljay Jerusalem is not-Israel
        I will rephrase … Who is going to ban the Israelis from Jerusalem? … ||

        Once it has been liberated and the Israeli colonists who have over-run it have been removed back to their country, the decision to ban or not to ban Israeli visitors to Jerusalem should be left to the leaders of that Free City.

        || … And have you now redefined the Palestinians as Israeli refugees? … ||

        I’ve done no such thing.

        People driven from their homes and lands in what is now Partition-borders Israel are Israeli refugees.

        People driven from their homes and lands in what is now militarily-occupied not-Israel are not Israeli refugees.

      • mondonut on March 20, 2019, 6:46 pm

        @eljay, Once it has been liberated …

        Jerusalem has never been a “Free City” and there are no proposals or interest in making it one. Nor will it ever be “liberated”, at best the Israelis may resign themselves to permitting the Palestinians some presence there.

        And the Israeli refugee thing is laughable, do any Palestinians actually identify as such? Where is the line of Palestinians demanding their Israeli citizenship? Or is that just an invention to preclude the obvious realization that Palestinians in Palestine are not refugees?

      • eljay on March 20, 2019, 7:44 pm

        || mondonut: @eljay, Once it has been liberated …

        Jerusalem has never been a “Free City” … ||

        Partition – whose borders Israel accepted and within which it was recognized as a state – designated Jerusalem to be a Free City. It must be liberated from Israel’s military occupation and colonization.

        || … And the Israeli refugee thing is laughable … ||

        I see nothing laughable about it. But, then, I’m not a Zionist.

      • Talkback on March 21, 2019, 4:21 am

        mondonut: “Or is that just an invention to preclude the obvious realization that Palestinians in Palestine are not refugees?”

        After you phased out in the discussion about the territory of the State of Palestine you simply repeat your idiocy ” that Palestinians in Palestine are not refugees” allthough this is just another discussion which you chose to exit after your idiocy was debunked.

        How much stupidness does it take to claim that someone who officially has a refugee status, because he or she can’t return to his or her home/property (or at least to its vicinity) which lies now within the territory of a newly created state that denies them the right to return and citizenship is not a refugee? How much stupidness, mondonut? Seriously?

        mondonut: “I will rephrase so as to not serve as a platform for you to mindlessly regurgitate the same stuff over and over.”

        Says mondonut of all MW commenters. ROFL.

      • mondonut on March 21, 2019, 9:56 am

        @Talkback, How much stupidness does it take to claim that someone who officially has a refugee status…

        This is because, without good reason, the Palestinians maintain their very own refugee agency and their very own definition of refugee. For any other person in the world refugee status does not automatically pass through generations, is not maintained once citizenship is accepted in any country and does not apply to persons who are internally displaced.

      • Talkback on March 21, 2019, 1:05 pm

        mondonut: “This is because, without good reason, the Palestinians maintain their very own refugee agency and their very own definition of refugee.”

        That’s just another lie. UNRWA is an UN agency which was established by the United Nations General Assembly which also defined who a Palestinian refugee is or not. This definition also included Jews.

        And to call Palsetinian refugees “internally displaced” is just your own personal delusion.

        mondonut: “For any other person in the world refugee status does not automatically pass through generations, …”

        This is another of your personal delusions, because the same happens with children under UNHCR.

        mondonu: “… is not maintained once citizenship is accepted in any country.”

        That doesn’t make them “internally displaced.”

        modonut: “… and does not apply to persons who are internally displaced.”

        This is another of your personal delusions, because Palestinians who are internally displaced within Israel are not “refugees”. Neither are Palestinian non refugees in the Westbank who are internally displaced because of the illegal settlement and segregational Apartheid policy of your beloved Apartheid Junta.

        Palestinian refugees are legally and officially refugees according to the United Nations. Get over it.

  2. Kay24 on March 18, 2019, 8:46 pm

    If any American expects Trump, Jared, or the spineless Congress, to stand up for Americans who are abused, or even killed, by confronting the criminals in Israel, they are in for a huge disappointment. Whether it is Rachel Corrie, or other American citizens, who have been the victims of Israel’s aggression, America’s leaders seem blind and deaf, to these crimes. America is in a perfect position to hold Israel accountable for all their crimes, including war crimes, after all the parasites are the recipients of most American aid going to foreign nations, and we can call the shots, but maybe that control over America that Israeli leaders have bragged about, prevents anyone in our leadership from holding Israel responsible.

    • Jejasalo on March 19, 2019, 11:44 am

      You overestimate the “power” Israel allegedly holds over the United States. US – Israeli interests are very closely aligned. The US has a permanent military base in Israel& conducts joint military exercises there every year. Israel is considered a “back door” to American foreign policy. It is a client state, or satellite, of the US. There are many others, including Egypt and Colombia – the 2nd & 3rd highest recipients of US foreign aid.

      US government, corporate, and media personnel are free agents. Israel is not a puppeteer. If you turn Israel into a sinister controller of US policies you are letting people like Trump, Pompeo, Bolton & many others off the hook for their own participation in the crimes committed.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 19, 2019, 1:37 pm

        Don’t buy that argument at all.

        Israel has never provided military assistance to America in any of its many wars in the region. This is the case even though the reverse is obviously not true, and these wars were often heavily encouraged by Israeli lobbies in Washington.

        “It is a client state, or satellite, of the US.”

        Simply false. American aid to Israel comes with zero strings attached, even though America is famous – notorious – for attaching stringent conditions to its foreign ‘aid’. Unlike in the two other states you mention, America does not interfere in internal Israeli politics or try to ‘influence’ elections, though again, the reverse certainly is not true.

        Israel is a minor Asian statelet which offers its ‘allies’, including America, very little. By contrast, Israel’s future would be in severe doubt without the aid of said allies. It’s a highly unequal relationship.

      • Kay24 on March 19, 2019, 8:13 pm

        Sounds like you are downplaying the influence Israel has over the US. It can get it to send billions of dollars in aid, weapons to kill unarmed civilians, and use American stored ammunition, to kill more civilians, when they ran short to do so during the last attack of Gaza. Israel’s lobbies have damaged our political system, corrupting it, and making sure that we keep sending those billions of dollars, and protecting them at the UN whenever they have been condemned for war crimes.
        Their influence goes on. Even that crook Netanyahu bragged that he can “move” America they way Israel wants.
        No other nation has that “privileged status”.

      • RoHa on March 19, 2019, 8:58 pm

        “Israel has never provided military assistance to America in any of its many wars in the region.”

        Israel may have provided covert assistance, such as intelligence and torturers for Abu Ghraib prison.

        But let’s look at the overt military assistance Israel has provided to the US in all wars since 1948, both inside and outside the region. Here is a complete and detailed account of the actions of the IDF in support of the USA.










        Do let me know if you think I have missed one.

      • Talkback on March 20, 2019, 9:58 am

        RoHa: “Do let me know if you think I have missed one.”

        Does helping ISIS count?

      • RoHa on March 20, 2019, 8:09 pm

        It might. I think it was supposed to be covert, but air attacks on Syria look pretty overt.

      • Talkback on March 21, 2019, 1:23 pm

        How about this, RoHa:
        UN reveals Israeli links with Syrian rebels (2014)
        Reports by UN observers in the Golan submitted to 15 members of Security Council detail regular contact between IDF officers and armed Syrian opposition figures at the border.
        https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-un-reveals-israeli-links-with-syrian-rebels-1.5341840

        UN Report: Israel in Regular Contact with Syrian Rebels including ISIS (2014)
        https://www.ibtimes.co.in/un-report-israel-regular-contact-syrian-rebels-including-isis-616404

        Israel secretly armed and funded 12 Syrian rebel groups, report says (2018)
        https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/in-syria-israel-secretly-armed-and-funded-12-rebel-groups-1.6462729

        So much for state sponsored terrorism.

      • RoHa on March 21, 2019, 7:47 pm

        Yes, supposed to be sneaky, under the table stuff.

        Of course, the US and ISIS weren’t officially on the same side, anyway, so helping ISIS might or might not count as helping the US. Depends on the date.

  3. Marnie on March 18, 2019, 11:48 pm

    The new dog in the white house gets off on strong arm schtick in a big way. He must be desperately trying to compensate for something….

  4. Jejasalo on March 19, 2019, 10:38 am

    What I find most sinister in your account is the Israeli soldier’s comment, “I don’t care about your ID.” The brutality of her treatment of the American sisters is commonplace. It happens all the time to Americans & people of other nationalities in part – and certainly where the US is concerned- because no Western government is going to intervene on their behalf.

    This isn’t a new development either. When the IDF murdered or maimed Rachel Corrie, Tom Hurndall, James Miller, Brian Avery, Ian Howe and other Americans or foreign nationals, coverage in the media here was minimal (at best) and almost no protest came from the halls of power.

    Even in 2003, the year the American activist, Rachel Corrie, was crushed to death by an IDF soldier driving a Caterpillar armored D9 bulldozer in Gaza, 1 person (out of more than 100) in my course on contemporary Middle Eastern politics and history had heard of her – to say nothing of Hurndall, Avery (maimed for life) or any of the others there to show solidarity or educate people about what was happening in the Occupied Territories.

    Soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank stole the passport of an Iranian American traveling with a group of people on a peace delegation to Palestine in 2001. Had the person not noticed in time and gone back with with his companions to demand its return – given haughtily by the checkpoint soldier who had taken it & while his comrades laughed and fired their guns into the air— he would not have been able to prove his American citizenship and would have ended up detained, deported to Iran, or worse.

    The situation was no better later on when American and other non-violent activists on various flotillas aimed at breaking the siege in Gaza were detained with no immediate legal recourse or knowledge of what would happen to them. They’d been apprehended by Israeli naval gunmen who forced their humanitarian aid ships to stop while still out at sea and redirected them to the Israeli port of Ashdod where the passengers were arrested.

    The US government barely uttered a peep when Furqan Dogan, a Turkish American, was shot and killed on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

    My point is that the two American Muslim citizens beaten and cuffed by a soldier at the Dome of the Rock days ago were getting the same kind of treatment and with the usual impunity Israel receives from its allies.

    The comment, “I don’t care about your ID” wasn’t made in the heat of the moment; it is standard fare — designed to keep certain Americans and others from entering Israel or the OPTs. This kind of ruthless intimidation is as acceptable by the US as it is by Israel. It is therefore up to us to bring sustained, unrelenting media coverage to such actions. In the meantime, the often deadly treatment of foreign nationals, including Americans, will continue to be standard fare.

  5. punterweger on March 19, 2019, 1:32 pm

    Jejasalo – your point is well taken, Israel is a US aircraft carrier in the MIddle East, but I think you underestimate the power of the Israel lobby. Netanyahu was invited by Israel-loyal congressional leaders over the objections of the Obama White House, and when he addressed the Joint Session our leaders jumped up and down giving him standing ovations like Jack-in-the-Boxes. Phil has recounted the anecdote where an AIPAC operative says he can get the signatures of 70 Senators on a napkin within minutes.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 19, 2019, 3:07 pm

      “Israel is a US aircraft carrier in the MIddle East”

      An ‘aircraft carrier’ which America has never once called on in any of its many wars in the region, including those fought in neighbouring countries.

      Not much of an ‘aircraft carrier’, is it?

  6. Ossinev on March 19, 2019, 2:58 pm

    @jejasolo
    “You overestimate the “power” Israel allegedly holds over the United States. US – Israeli interests are very closely aligned. The US has a permanent military base in Israel& conducts joint military exercises there every year. Israel is considered a “back door” to American foreign policy. It is a client state, or satellite, of the US. There are many others, including Egypt and Colombia – the 2nd & 3rd highest recipients of US foreign aid.”

    Don`t know how Colombia got to 3rd ?
    https://borgenproject.org/top-10-recipients-of-u-s-foreign-aid/

    This list shows Egypt 2nd and Jordan 3rd.

    Of note neither, unlike the prosperous ( according to its own Hasbara boasts) innovative arms exporting gas producing Israel , can remotely be described as “wealthy” countries.
    https://247wallst.com/special-report/2017/11/30/25-richest-countries-in-the-world/2/

    Of note Egypt and Jordan are the only two Middle East countries which have a formal peace treaty with the light unto the nations.The words “bung” and “sweetener” spring to mind.

    Of note the 2018 Foreign Aid received by Israel from the US is in itself way more than that received by Egypt and Jordan.

    The control is not by Israel per se. The control is exercised by the ZioBenjamin Lobbies in the US.

    But the times they are a changing.

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