April 20, 2022 5:17 pm
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer and celebration for Muslims around the world. In Jerusalem, in the Al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest place in Islam, Ramadan has instead become synonymous with attacks on the faithful as they go to the mosque or pray inside. Al Aqsa is located in the Temple Mount by the Jews and Al Haram al sharif (which means the noble sanctuary) by the Arabs: it is a large area that is located next to the Wailing Wall, the holiest place for the judaism.
The attack on Tuesday 19 April by Israeli forces against the Muslim faithful who had gone to break the fast on the Esplanade is the fourth since the beginning of Ramadan, on 2 April.
The assaults are documented by hundreds of videos uploaded to social networks, showing images of beaten elderly people, women and journalists beaten by Israeli police. Palestinians who publish these images of violence are calling for a review of the way the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis is told.
“Israeli forces raid the Al Aqsa mosque and injure dozens of people. They fired rubber bullets and tear gas at worshipers in a pre-dawn raid. It’s like a clockwork mechanism: Palestinians are targeted at every Ramadan, ”a law professor wrote on Twitter:
The smartphone has become the new weapon of the Palestinians on the Esplanade: women who go to pray keep their phones switched on both as a form of protection and to document the violence.
The esplanade that houses the mosque, built during the Umayyad dynasty, was annexed by the Israeli state, together with the historic center and East Jerusalem, in the 1967 war. The annexation is still considered illegal by the international community.
An agreement between Jordan and Israel requires Muslims to pray inside the mosque and Jews on the Western Wall. Israeli authorities control the mosque’s surroundings, while the place of worship is run by a Jordanian-Palestinian Islamic foundation, the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.
It was the Waqf itself that announced in a statement that on April 19, 622 settlers stormed the mosque during a raid that lasted from 7 to 10.30 in the morning. Some witnesses said that the settlers had made provocative walks on the Esplanade and Talmudic rituals in the courtyards of the mosque under the protection of the Israeli police, who fired tear gas bombs at the faithful. According to the Red Crescent, 59 Palestinians were injured in the attack.
This type of organized raids by religious Zionist groups has become increasingly frequent, as documented by a study by Middle East Eye.
Since the early 1980s, small groups of extremist Jews have wanted to rebuild the ancient temple in Jerusalem, built by King Solomon, in place of the Al Aqsa mosque. Today, due to the strong rise of Jewish extremism that feeds on a religious Zionist ideology, organizations such as The Temple Institute and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement intend to seize the site to destroy the mosque and build the “third temple” , without bothering to cancel a heritage that is both Muslim and Christian.
The same Israeli extremist groups – which define the raids as an “ascension to the Temple Mount” – this year had invited on social networks to make animal sacrifices inside the mosque on the occasion of the Jewish Passover, which was forbidden by the Israeli police.
The raids by these extremist groups and the eviction of families from the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah in East Jerusalem last year led to increased tensions that escalated into eleven days of war in the Gaza Strip during which 232 were killed. Palestinians and 12 Israelis. If this year for the moment it is still possible to avoid an escalation according to Al Quds, we need to change the way of reporting these assaults. There are no “clashes” in Jerusalem, but attacks on civilians.
As Sheikh Azzam al Khatib, director of the Waqf points out, “it is important for the Israeli people to know that the far-right Jewish parties are waging a religious war against Muslims in this country.”
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