Thursday, December 24, 2015, 12:16 On Thursday, December 24, Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Gioia Skappa-Shapiro ordered that Yehuda Etzion and an additional Jew who was detained with him on the Temple Mount on December 22, be banned for 15 days from entering the area of the Temple Mount.
Etzion was detained on Tuesday, December 22 (the Tenth of Tevet according to the Hebrew calendar) for raising his arms while walking on the Temple Mount. Policemen ordered him to lower his arms and to leave the Temple Mount with them. Etzion refused to accompany them until someone informed him whether or not he was suspected of something. Then four policemen dragged Etzion from the Temple Mount and detained him. Another Jew who ascended the Temple Mount with Etzion was detained after, according to the policemen, he told them that he would not follow their stringent orders concerning where he could stop and where he could walk on the Temple Mount. After interrogation both detainees were released and summoned to a deliberation at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on a demand by the police that they be banned from the Temple Mount for a long period of time. The deliberation took place on the morning of Thursday, December 24.
At the deliberation Honenu Attorney Sinaiya Moses-Harizi, who represented both detainees, demanded that Judge Skappa-Shapiro rule that raising one’s arms on the Temple Mount is permitted. Judge Skappa-Shapiro stated that she would not give a verdict on the matter. She did rule that due to Etzion’s refusal to accompany the policemen he would be banned from entering the Temple Mount for 15 days. The same ruling was given concerning the individual who was accused of not following the policemen’s orders.
Judge Skappa-Shapiro ruled that if Etzion and the individual who was detained with him do not sign on the ban by 16:00 they will be detained. They both stated that they are not willing to sign, even at the price of being detained.
They spoke before Judge Skappa-Shapiro and complained about the harassment by the police of Jews ascending the Temple Mount. Etzion explained why he is refusing to sign on the ban: “I am not willing to sign on the ban because it constitutes a sort of cooperation with the proceeding which determines that I am guilty. We walked on the Temple Mount in a permitted manner, even according to the shameful status quo which prohibits Jews from praying. We did not pray, but rather merely raised our arms.”
Honenu Attorney Sinaiya Moses-Harizi, who represented both detainees, intends to file an appeal with the Jerusalem District Court on the ruling and stated that, “We regard with severity the conduct of the State concerning the Temple Mount, which is demonstrated sharply in this instance in which Etzion did nothing other than hold his arms with his palms facing upwards. The court itself ruled that it is not known whether or not it [the gesture] is permitted. We are certain that it is completely permissible. The conduct of the Waqf and the Israeli Police was unfounded and therefore their demand that [Etzion and the other released detainee] leave the site was clearly unjustified. This demand led to a court deliberation on an additional demand to unjustifiably violate their rights. Also no action was taken against the Waqf personnel who cursed and caused disturbances at the site.”
Photo: Yehuda Etzion on the Temple Mount with arms raised; Photo credit: Adam Prop