Towards the end of September, the Israeli authorities announced that researchers working with an archaeologist from the Hebrew University had found a valuable item near Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It is a necklace engraved with a menorah, a shofar and a Torah scroll.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this a "great archaeological discovery, and on a national level, this is significant proof of Jewish existence long ago and proof of the sanctity of this area."
For decades, the attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque have been escalating at varying speeds, but there is a clear determination by the Israelis to steal this place on the pretext of the supposed existence of the "Jewish Temple" there. This is the first time that anyone has found any Jewish artefact in what is known as the holy quarter (the area surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque). The latest claim is suspicious given the Israelis' desperation to "prove" a significant ancient Jewish presence and thus justify the excavations that have been going on for decades and have almost reached the level of the mosque's foundations.
The failure to find evidence, any evidence, of the temple's existence has not prevented the Zionists from continuing to violate and attack the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. Lately this has sent warnings to us that Israel is on the verge of condemning Al-Aqsa to the same fate as the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron which has been split between the Muslims and the Jews in terms of time and access. On the Jewish holiday of Purim, which was celebrated at the end of last month, groups of settlers entered the mosque after Israeli Special Forces first evacuated Palestinians, in a taste of what is to come, perhaps.
This reminds me of what happened during the Camp David negotiations in 2000, when the Israelis demanded a share of the top part of the mosque and full sovereignty over what is under the mosque. This is what snagged the negotiations more than anything else. On that same day, one of the most important figures in the Israeli political arena, one of the creators of Oslo, Yossi Beilin, said that the sanctity of the temple in the eyes of the Jewish people is equivalent to the Kaaba in Makkah for the Muslims. In fairness, he did not go beyond the reality of the Jewish faith or the Zionist mantra launched by Ben-Gurion: "Israel is meaningless without Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is meaningless without the temple."
As such, we can say that the issue of the temple has full consensus across the Zionist political and religious arenas, as well as the refusal to allow refugees to return to the territories occupied in 1948. This is a matter that the senior Palestinian negotiator knows very well. He came out of talks with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni knowing that she had told him that the number of refugees returning to what she referred to as "Israel" is zero; and that she responded to his offer of "the biggest Yerushaláyim in Jewish history" with disregard, almost contempt, and retorted that Jerusalem was not within the remit of the negotiations.
We know what the Zionists want from Al-Aqsa Mosque, but what is being done to thwart their plans? What can be said in this context is that neither the official Palestinian nor the Arab political policies are making any real impact on the face-off at Al-Aqsa, despite the support of the mosque or making successive Jordanian governments custodians over the area.
The Zionists are executing their plans with no interruptions and if it wasn't for the Islamic movement's daily defence of the mosque, led by Shaikh Raed Salah, then the situation would've been a lot worse. They are working day and night to fight off these attacks.
Someone described such community activists as Jihadists and did not bother to mention Shaikh Raed's name. This could have been because the noble shaikh supported the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya protestors, or because he took a stand against Bashar Al-Assad and his allies, or perhaps because he is a member of the Islamic movement, which many people are demonising nowadays.
People have forgotten that those who support Al-Aqsa, hold events for it and defend it with all their might are the members of the Islamic movement, inside and beyond Palestine, including Hamas, whose members continue to defend and protect it. They are also joined by other Palestinians close to the mosque who visit it whenever possible.
Where are those who are demanding the protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque by calling on the Arabs and Muslims to visit it as tourists? It is as if the Zionists are unaware of this clever ploy and it will prevent them from carrying out their plans, even though everyone knows that they will be the ones giving the tourists entry visas; if they feel that the tourists will hinder their plans, they will not hesitate to prevent them from entering the country, not just Al-Aqsa.
These people, as well as those who claim to care about Al-Aqsa Mosque, forget that the real problem is the policy adopted by the Palestinian Authority. Historically, settlements and Judaisation have escalated when resistance to the occupation was stopped; things were different when resistance movements were active. What if the resistance slogan was focused on Al-Aqsa, which was the case during the Al-Aqsa Intifada that broke out at the end of September 2000, which the PA leaders said was foolish, damaged the PA's achievements, and was the reason that Yasser Arafat was plotted against and provided a suitable environment for his assassination?
They are the last people who have the right to talk about Al-Aqsa, as they are providing the perfect environment for more Judaisation and Israeli land seizures. They are also well-aware that the negotiations they are now engaged in will not provide protection for the mosque nor its surroundings, and will instead leave it hostage to Zionist sovereignty, even if they agree on international or three-party management of the mosque as a part of a final agreement.
Those who want to protect the mosque cannot prosecute the resistance, train the people to reject it, speak to their people about developmental projects sponsored by the US, or engage in negotiations that everyone knows will not, under any circumstances, bring about anything better than what was offered at Camp David. It is people like this who are committing crimes against Al-Aqsa Mosque, and their calls at every Arab summit to support Jerusalem will not intercede for them because Jerusalem cannot be protected with money alone if there is no real resistance, since one Jewish billionaire could pay the same amount paid by the Arabs many times over. In any case, we are talking about dishonest people in a corrupt authority which we cannot trust to use the money for the purposes intended.
If they want to protect Al-Aqsa, they must call for the end of the pointless negotiations, stop talk of elections for an authority determined to serve the occupation's purposes and, first and foremost, put an end to security coordination with the Israeli occupation. Furthermore, they must agree on an Intifada that restores the Palestinian cause against occupation, including the occupation of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
What is happening to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa is a crime, and the prevailing Arab and regional atmosphere is helping to facilitate the Zionist mission, and even encouraging Israel to seize its opportunity, grab more land and occupy the sacred mosque. In response, the people of Jerusalem and the Islamic movement are doing all they can to resist.
However, the greatest crime is the one being committed by those who are not only losing Jerusalem and its sanctities but also the entire Palestinian cause in negotiations, of which everyone knows the likely outcome. Part of the fault lies with those who are encouraging these people by referring to them as the great leaders of Fatah, the PLO and the PA; where are their minds? Where is their reasoning? Where is the true allegiance to Palestine, Jerusalem and its sanctities?
Translated from the Arabic text which appeared on Al Jazeera Net on 8 October, 2013
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.