The blessed al-Aqsa sanctuary has come under relentless and vicious Israeli attacks this week in a series of escalated incidents. Israeli violations come as Israel continues to deny access to the sanctuary to all Palestinian women and men under 50. Israeli forces regularly deploy heavy handed tactics to terrorise Palestinians wishing to enter the sanctuary. The worrying events that have occurred so far this week are as follows:
The confirmed demolition the Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque
In a move designed to prepare the ground to gauge the reaction upon the destruction of the al-Aqsa sanctuary; an Israeli court on Tuesday decided to allow the Israeli government to demolish part of the Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque in Jerusalem.
The Muhammad Al-Fatih Mosque, located in the Ras al-Amoud neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, was forced to expand in 2009 due to a massive increase in worshippers after Israeli authorities began preventing Palestinian worshipers from accessing the al-Aqsa sanctuary in Jerusalem's Old City.
Israeli settlers storm the al-Aqsa sanctuary
- Also on Tuesday, a group of around 40 Jewish settlers stormed the al-Aqsa sanctuary through the Moroccan Gate. The settlers toured the compound escorted by Israeli police officers to commemorate the eve of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in Israel celebrating the occupation of East Jerusalem.
Furthermore, Israeli forces once again showcased their penchant for brutality by clashing with Palestinian women trying to access the mosque. The soldiers verbally insulted the women and pushed them with one woman taken to hospital for treatment.
- The al-Aqsa sanctuary was attacked on Wednesday when a group of over 100 settlers accompanied by Israeli forces entered the al-Aqsa sanctuary, through the Moroccan Gate, for the second consecutive day.
The settlers toured the compound escorted by Israeli police officers to commemorate Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in Israel celebrating the occupation of East Jerusalem and implementing of racist laws.
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem arrested
Israel has arrested and detained the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein. In arresting the Grand Mufti, Israel has showcased its inexplicable arrogance and gross disrespect towards a figure revered by Palestinians as a spiritual leader. Despite the fact that the Grand Mufti has had nothing to do whatsoever in terms of any criminal activity, the Israelis stormed his house and after being questioned for six hours, he was released without charges being filed against him.
Extremist settlers go on rampage; Palestinians arrested
On Thursday, a provocative procession was held by extremist settlers who marched in Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Jerusalem is ours”. The settlers also attacked dozens of Palestinians, Palestinian shops and property, and called for the expulsion of Arabs and Palestinians from the city.
A counter-demonstration saw Israel police deploy their usual heavy handed tactics as they attacked Palestinian protestors and reporters with 21 Palestinians being kidnapped.
Calls repeated again by Knesset members for al-Aqsa violation
Hard line Knesset members have renewed their calls for violating and attacking the al-Aqsa sanctuary.
Naftali Bennett, Israel's minister of religion and leader of the extremist settler ‘Jewish Home’ party, is seeking to amend the law in order to allow Jews to pray at the blessed al-Aqsa sanctuary.
Speaking to a parliamentary committee, ministry director Elhanan Glat said "We would like to ensure that Jews who want to pray there can do so."
Bennett is being backed by another notorious hardliner Moshe Feiglin, an MP from the radical rightwing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, who said "How can we accept the fact that Jews don't have the right to pray at the place which is most sacred to them?"
We are currently witnessing a severe escalation of attacks on the blessed sanctuary. Israeli MPs, illegal settlers and Zionist tourists now violate the sanctity of the al-Aqsa sanctuary on a daily basis, safe in the knowledge that their actions will not be contested and that they will enjoy the security of occupying Israeli forces.
As the international community has been silent throughout Israel’s frequent violations, this gives Israel confidence that when it proceeds with the destruction of the al-Aqsa sanctuary, it will have nothing to fear by way of reprisal from the international community.
The international community must wake up from its slumber of complicity in silence and take meaningful and effective steps to pressure Israel into respecting the Palestinian heritage within the Holy al-Aqsa sanctuary.