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Waqf: Israeli forces did not steal historical documents and materials from Al-Aqsa

Aug. 10, 2017 11:48 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2017 5:46 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- The Islamic Endowment, or Waqf -- in charge of running Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem -- released results of investigations on Wednesday into Israeli damages at the holy compound during an almost three day closure of the site and two weeks of mass civil disobedience against Israeli policies at the holy site.

According to Waqf officials, all documents and materials of historical value remained in the mosque, contradicting earlier statements from Hassan Khater, the chairman of the International Jerusalem Center, who claimed that Israeli forces had seized important documents from the Waqf archives.

However, Israeli forces had damaged chemical materials used to maintain the documents and had broken locks of many lockers and conducted “unjustified searches,” the report added.
The Waqf said that Israeli forces had logged into computers of the manuscripts department in the compound, and added that it was possible that Israeli officials had made copies of the files saved on the computers.

In the Al-Aqsa library, the report stated that lockers and a painting of the Dome of the Rock were broken by Israeli forces, while a DVR was stolen.

The report noted that all items in the Islamic museum, including manuscripts, computers, and other materials and documents were not touched or damaged by Israeli forces.

The report said that a rehabilitation committee was working on fixing all the damages caused by Israeli forces.
The Waqf also reiterated their condemnation of Israel's closure of the holy site and its subsequent security measures.

Israel has continued increased security measures in the Old City of Jerusalem since three Palestinian citizens of Israel carried out a deadly shooting attack at Al-Aqsa on July 14, killing two Israeli police officers before being shot and killed themselves by Israeli forces.

Israeli authorities shut down Al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam which falls under Jordanian custodianship, for almost three days following the attack, only to reopen it after having installed unprecedented security measures, including metal detectors, turnstiles, and security cameras.

The measures sparked widespread protests for two weeks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem -- as Palestinians said the move was the latest example of Israel using Israeli-Palestinian violence as a means of furthering control over important sites in the Palestinian territory.

Despite Israeli forces’ violent repression of demonstrations across the Palestinian territory, during which six Palestinians were killed, Israel eventually backtracked and removed all new security apparatus at the compound, in what was celebrated as a victory of popular Palestinian mobilization.
However, Israeli forces have cracked down on any Palestinians believed to be involved in the protests, with nearly 50 Palestinians in East Jerusalem being detained last week due to their activities in the Al-Aqsa unrest.

Prisoners’ rights group Addameer, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights released a report on Tuesday that indicated a sharp increase in Israeli detentions of Palestinians, with 880 Palestinians being detained in the month of July alone, 144 of whom were Palestinian children.

Israeli forces detained 425 Palestinians in Jerusalem, according to the report, which the groups attributed to the rise of unrest around Al-Aqsa.
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