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Arab camp kids humiliated in Jerusalem

reprinted from Ynet

by Tal Rabinovsky

Police officers force children to remove 'al-Quds t-shirts' before entering Temple Mount

A group of Arab summer camp children were banned from entering Temple Mount in Jerusalem while wearing their camp t-shirts.

When the children arrived at Temple Mount wearing their orange summer camp shirt, which read ''Al-Quds Arab Culture Capital,' police officers told them that if they wish to enter, the shirts must come off.

The incident took place Tuesday when children from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Tzur Baher toured Jerusalem's Old City as part of their summer camp activities. However, what should have been an enjoyable day out quickly became a humiliating experience.

Fuad Abu Hamed, whose son was among the children, told Ynet that "The officers held them up at the entrance to Temple Mount for more than an hour and a half, and demanded (all children) take off their shirts...including the ones who didn't have an undershirt".

The camp's guides tried to diminish the sense of humiliation for the children wearing no undershirts and quickly purchased clothes for them in the Old City.

Hamed's says his son returned home wearing only an undershirt.

"My son learned at a bilingual school, he speaks Hebrew well, and he was educated in lines with the values of coexistence and culture," Hamed said. "Now he's asking me: 'What do the police want from us? Why do they have a problem with our shirts?'"

Lose-lose situation

Hamed said he was forced to send his son to the neighborhood summer camp, set up by Tzur Baher residents, as the city of Jerusalem did not offer neighborhood residents a camp program.

"Israel on one hand doesn't provide for a camp and on the other when one is set up, doesn't allow it to operate," Hamed said.

Hamed, a former investigator for the B'Tselem organization, said: "Eventually, whenever there is an incident in east Jerusalem, we don't even get ambulances, so it's my son's shirt of all things that gets their efficient treatment?"

Jerusalem police responded by saying that camp children indeed arrived wearing shirts with the "Al-Quds Arab Culture Capital" caption, and that their guides were told that anyone wearing that type of shirt will not enter the Temple Mount which resulted in the children leaving the premises.



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