Palestinians Mourn Victims Of Temple Mount Shootings
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Palestinian families in Arab east Jerusalem held receptions Saturday to mark the 40th day of mourning since their relatives were killed in the Temple Mount shootings.
At Abdel Rahman Kashour’s house in the walled Old City, a white flag flew outside instead of a traditional black flag. Kashour’s 19-year-old son, Burhan, was by Arab accounts the first to be killed when police opened fire on the mount Oct. 8, killing at least 17 Palestinians.
″This is the day of a wedding, not mourning,″ said Kashour, a 62-year-old electrician, explaining the white flag. He said his son was nicknamed the ″bridegroom of al-Aqsa″ after the revered mosque atop the mount, the third holiest shrine in Islam.
The flag was decorated with an Islamic saying: ″There is no God but one God.″
An Israeli government investigation blamed Palestinian stone-throwers for the riot. But it criticized police commanders for their failure to anticipate trouble and said there were instances of ″unsupervised″ gunfire.
There has been a shake-up within the police, but no disciplinary action was taken against officers mentioned in the report.
The Temple Mount is known to Arabs as Haram es-Sharif, or ″Noble Sanctuary.″ Tradition says Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from the spot. It is also revered by the Jews as the site of their ancient Temple, destroyed by the Romans.
″God gave Burhan to me and God took him away,″ said Kashour, a devout Moslem. ″What makes it easier is that we believe in God.″ His wife wept.
A picture of Burhan hung on the wall, surrounded by flowers and about a dozen small plagues brought by visitors. Hundreds came to Kashour’s house Saturday to pay their respects - Burhan’s teachers, former classmates, amd neighbors.
Atop the house and on a nearby roof, there were also two outlawed Palestinian flags and strips of cloth covered with verses from the Koran, Islam’s holy book.
The crowd occasionally broke into nationalist songs: ″Palestine needs men to become martyrs,″ and ″Palestine must return.″
Kashour proudly recalled his son, an athlete who ″could jump more than three meters high.″ Burhan, one of the family’s seven children, was never jailed during the 35-month-old Palestinian uprising and planned to study art in the United States.
″Last time I saw him, it was 10 in the morning,″ Kashour said. ″Half an hour later, he was dead. He went to pray and was killed. Now I go every day to pray on his blood.″
Elsewhere in the Arab east Jerusalem on Saturday, police arrested three schoolgirls and closed a school after several stone-throwing incidents, officials said.
Jerusalem police spokesman Aharon Elchayani said about 200 high school girls demonstrated and threw stones at police near the Mamuniye school. Police dispersed them by firing tear gas grenades, and three of the girls were arrested, he said.
Witnesses said that several girls lost consciousness after being overcome by tear gas. Others ran into the St. George Hospital nearby, and police were seen throwing tear gas grenades into the hospital compound.
It was the third day of scattered demonstrations in the annexed eastern part of the city, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.
The demonstrations were linked to the second anniversary Thursday of the Palestinians’ proclamation of ″independence″ in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In the Gaza village of Abasan, Palestinian militants stabbed to death Musa Ahmed Arafat, 45, after accusing him of assisting Israel, Arab reports said.
The death raised to 300 the number of Arabs slain by fellow Palestinians as alleged collaborators with Israel. At least 773 Arabs have been killed by Israeli soldiers or civilians in the revolt. Fifty-two Israelis have died in the violence.