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Youths under administrative order detained for praying at Rachel’s Tomb

Thursday, August 21, 2014, 22:43 Two Jewish minors who are banned from entering Yehuda and Shomron by an administrative order signed by GOC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon were detained on Thursday, August 21 as they were praying at Rachel’s Tomb. The definition of the exact location of Rachel’s Tomb is not clear and the youths did not intend to violate their administrative order. The two detainees were taken to the Yehuda and Shomron District Police Station in Ma’aleh Adumim and interrogated by interrogators from the Department of Nationalist Crime on suspicion of violating their administrative order. Under interrogation the detainees claimed that Rachel’s Tomb is part of Jerusalem, and that other than a checkpoint at the entrance to the tomb itself there is no checkpoint of a type which indicates entry to what is officially defined as the areas of Yehuda and Shomron. The administrative order which the detainees were issued does not include a map and therefore the definition of the area for which the order is valid is not clear. Honenu verified the matter. According to a cabinet decision in 2002 Rachel’s Tomb is defined as part of the “Jerusalem Envelope” area (Otef Yerushalayim) and that was due to the intent of Ehud Olmert, then Mayor of Jerusalem, to officially include Rachel’s Tomb in the Jerusalem Municipality. Additionally “Jerusalem Envelope” border policemen and Jerusalem District policemen secure the Rachel’s Tomb complex. Also the Jerusalem Municipality is responsible for sanitation in the complex. Despite the above-mentioned information and the attempts by Honenu to clarify that the youths had gone to the site to pray in good faith, the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police insisted on keeping the two minors in remand and announced that they intend to file an indictment against them. Honenu responded to the situation: “The conduct of the police who chose to detain the youths as they innocently entered Rachel’s Tomb in order to pray, indicates intentional harassment towards the youths. Since ancient times Rachel’s Tomb has been on a main thoroughfare and its current municipal status is not clear. Due to its location it is certainly possible to consider it part of Jerusalem, especially since the Separation Wall was built.”

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