Jerusalem Teens Who Urinated On ‘Little Western Wall’ Will Not Face Punishment
Two Arab youths from Jerusalem’s Old City who urinated on a section of the Western Wall last January will not be held liable for desecrating a holy place, Israel’s NRG reported on Monday.
The two culprits, Yahya Awad and Wizan Qutini, were indicted after being caught on security cameras reliving themselves on a portion of the wall known as known as the “Little Western Wall.” The revered site is located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City near the Iron Gate to the Temple Mount.
The Little Western Wall is a continuation of the larger and more familiar part of the Western Wall, and almost exactly faces the location of the site where the ancient Jewish temple once stood.
According to the indictment, despite the presence of signs in the area, in Hebrew, Arabic and English, indicating that the location was a holy site, Awad and Qutini urinated under the signs, on the stones of the Wall and on the surrounding plaza.
The original indictment accused the two of indecent conduct in a public place and the desecration of a holy site.
The impression given by the plea bargain submitted to the Jerusalem Magistrate Court, however, is that Israeli police do not consider the Little Western Wall a holy place, NRG said.
The police claims department arrived at a settlement with the two young men last week and filed an amended indictment, removing the offense of desecrating a holy place.
Notwithstanding the settlement, the department’s representative, Arnon Yahav, highlighted during a court discussion the seriousness of the act, saying that “if this were reversed and it was a Jew who urinated on the walls of the Temple Mount, Jerusalem would have been aflame. But, when an Arab urinates on the Little Western Wall, it’s okay.”
When asked about the status of the Little Western Wall, police responded: “By the nature of things, we will not go into the details of the specific case. However, we would like to note that, in general, plea bargains are arrived at on the basis of all of the circumstances relating to the case and based on professional considerations.”
The police also said they treat “very seriously any transgression of the law against desecrating holy places.”
The perpetrators’ attorneys claim that the youths meant no harm, and urgently needed to relieve themselves as they passed the location on the way home without knowing its significance as a holy site.