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Conspicuous Arab abstention from International Jerusalem Day

Last week, Iran celebrated International Jerusalem Day with angry demonstrations marching in its various cities including the capital Tehran and was attended by hundreds of thousands, chanting anti-Zionist slogans and burning U.S. and Israeli flags.

Arabs do not celebrate Jerusalem or International Jerusalem Day which was initiated by the late Imam Khomeini. Perhaps this is because Arab regimes do not want to remind their people of the tragedy of the holy city being under occupation and to stir up patriotism revealing the inability of these regimes to support Jerusalem and its steadfast inhabitants.


In light of the continued Judaization of the holy city including sustained excavations beneath the foundations of the al-Aqsa mosque and intentions to construct a Jewish synagogue on its ruins or below it, this city deserves solidarity from all believers throughout the Muslim world and not only in Iran.

Arab governments, angry at Iran for “hijacking” one of their most important tasks, have never made any attempt to inaugurate a day in solidarity with occupied Jerusalem, before Khomeini took on the responsibility or thereafter, which is unfortunate by all standards.

The holy city is a magnet for all Muslims, and solidarity with it must come above all other sectarian considerations. This formed the basis for the hope and expectation that marches would be held simultaneously in all Arab capitals and cities to demonstrate Islamic cohesion on this issue. Jerusalem should be a unifying element; working toward its liberation and supporting its people in their struggle to preserve its identity should be a common denominator for all Muslims.

It was no coincidence that those who commemorated International Jerusalem Day came from states considered part of the opposition camp and countries that support resistance factions in the occupied territories and abroad; Syria, Iran, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. As for the moderate Arab nations, they were busy providing cover for direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and supporting U.S. efforts to launch them in strict accordance with Israeli terms and conditions.

Marches took place in the Gaza Strip which is governed by the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, in Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria, and in the Lebanese capital of Beirut where International Jerusalem Day is commemorated annually with a televised speech by Mr Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. In his speech, he emphasized that peace negotiations were born dead, and that the axis of resistance has become closer to Jerusalem than it has ever been in the past 62 years of occupation.

We deeply regret the boycott of International Jerusalem Day by official ‘moderate’ Arab regimes because we as Arabs deserve more than most to celebrate this city and to show solidarity with its steadfast inhabitants who continue to fight for it. This boycott explains once again the reasons behind the collapse of the Arabs and the continued Israeli occupation of the holy city for all these years along with its Judaisation, the obliteration of its Arab and Islamic identity and its strangulation with a belt of Jewish settlements.

Source: “Al-Quds” opinion

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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