House of prayer was considered a sacred site for worshipping
By Maryam Razzaq
The Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site in occupied Jerusalem was stormed by Israeli settlers and police. Tear gas was launched, and rubber-coated bullets were used to attack Palestinian worshippers. The Israeli police forced out the peaceful worshippers from their holy site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque to allow Jewish settlers to pray and observe the first day of Tisha B’av.
“Tisha B’av is an annual fast day in Judaism, on which many disasters in Jewish history occurred, primarily the destruction of both Solomon’s Temple by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in the Siege of Jerusalem (597 BC), and the Second Temple by the Roman Empire in Jerusalem.” Wikipedia
The holy mosque is in East Jerusalem, which is occupied by Israel but access to the site is administered by Jordan’s Islamic Waqf. The site does allow the Jewish community to visit however, there are agreements put in place that do not allow for praying or displaying any Judaism symbolism. Although that may be the case, the Israeli police force has turned a blind eye to both stipulations.
Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett considers himself to be more far-right than his predecessor Netanyahu and agreed with the decision to allow Jewish settlers to visit the holy mosque that was followed by violence against the worshippers.
On Sunday, Bennett said both Jews and Muslims have “freedom of worship” on the Temple Mount. That statement went against the status quo, which was later followed by a statement from his office issuing a full retraction.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) governs parts of the Israel-occupied West Bank and has released a statement. The PA further called the violence against Muslim worshippers to make space for Jewish visitors to the holy site provocative and a “serious threat to security and stability.”
“The Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the escalation resulting from the Israeli incursion in the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied Jerusalem,” said the Palestinian Authority.
Mohammed El-Kurd, a writer from Jerusalem was a witness to the violence and has released footage, of Israeli Forces brutalizing Palestinians, tear-gassing worshippers, shooting bullets inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and beating women.
The Waqf condemned the “violations and attacks” by “Jewish fanatic groups, with the support and political cover of the Israeli government”.
“The Israeli actions against the mosque are rejected and condemned and represent a violation of the historical and legal status quo, international law and Israeli’s obligations as an occupying power in East Jerusalem,” said a representative for Jordan’s foreign ministry, Daifallah Al-Fayez.
Tensions continue to be high in the region since the recent deadly clash between Israel and Palestine. That clash saw a violent 11-day assault on the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the holy month of Ramadan. That attack on Muslim worshippers was responded to by rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas, a separate entity that does not speak for the Palestinians. The Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip killed at least 256 Palestinian civilians, which included 66 children.
The recent intrusion at the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli police force shows an indifferent attitude when Palestinians are the ones peacefully occupying a place of worship.