Middle East Watch commends the extensive investigation published by Israeli Magistrate Ezra Kama on July 18 into the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif killings. However, Middle East Watch is disturbed that, in light of evidence establishing criminal conduct by identifiable police officers, none of the officers involved in the incident has been prosecuted or disciplined. Middle East Watch also believes that the police's criminal investigation of the incident last fall was grossly negligent and in effect sabotaged the task of determining responsibility for the killings.
The events at the holy site last October 8 attracted world attention not only because it was the bloodiest incident of the Palestinian uprising, but also because it occurred at a site revered both by Jews and Muslims. The area, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), is an enclosed area located on a small plateau in Jerusalem's walled old city. The sanctuary contains the Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, from which the Prophet Muhammad is said to have made a night journey to heaven. It sits atop the site of the Second Temple, the western wall of which still stands and is Judaism's holiest site. The site will be referred to as "the Sanctuary" in this report.
In letters to Israeli Attorney General Joseph Harish and Police Minister Ronnie Milo, Middle East Watch urged appropriate punitive actions against policemen involved, on the basis of the factual record established by Judge Kama's inquest. Middle East Watch also urged that those responsible be held accountable for the failure of the police investigators to inspect the site until ten days after the incident, and to ascertain which guns were used by which policemen. The letter to Attorney General Harish is attached to this newsletter.