PNN – Palestine News Network -08.02.11 – 13:20
Jerusalem – PNN – The Israeli police plan to limit the volume of calls to prayer issued from the mosques in Shu’fat refugee camp and the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Khamees, responding to complaints from illegal East Jerusalem settlements.
The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported on Tuesday, “The sound of the call to prayer annoys the settlers in French Hill and Givat Ze’ev.” According to “Captain George,” the Arabic affairs liaison in the police department–infamous for his interrogation of the Lebanese sheikh Mustafa al-Dirani—the police are demanding that the mosques in question lower the volume of the calls.
Ma’ariv reported that under the proposed regulation, devised by Jerusalem police chief Ahron Franco, the police and the Islamic waqf (religious endowments authority) would work in concert to install volume control systems in the mosques in question.
“The police believe that the procedure will contribute in a small way to solving the problem, especially at night, despite laws permitting local authorities to ban high-volume calls to prayer that may cause disturbance,” said the article.
In the past, the Jerusalem police have threatened “cruel measures” if the volume of the calls to prayer in Ras al-Khamees and Shu’fat camp were not reduced.
The settlements of French Hill and Givat Ze’ev are illegal under international law as they fall on the Palestinian side of the 1949 Armistice Line, commonly known as the Green Line. The Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, prohibits the transfer of civilian populations to territories taken in wartime.
Limits on the call to prayer are commonly reported in Hebron, a large Palestinian city in the southern West Bank where about 500 Jewish settlers live amongst 300,000 Palestinians. The call to prayer from the Ibrahimi Mosque, also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs, was limited more than 50 times in the month of January.