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So that Al-Aqsa does not end up like Al-Ibrahimi

On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly issued Resolution 181 which stipulated the division of Palestine and the establishment of two states, an "Arab" and a "Jewish" state and placed Jerusalem under international protection, meaning that it must be kept as is and none of its population or geographic features can be changed. According to the division map, Jerusalem extended from Bethlehem in the south, to Kofr Akab, near Ramallah in the north, and from Abu Dis in the east to Ein Karem in the west.


However, Israel's leaders forcefully imposed, contrary to the stipulations of the UN resolution, the borders of its state on 78 per cent of Mandatory Palestine, including what became the so-called "West Jerusalem". When he was criticised for going beyond the borders set by the division map, Ben-Gurion said, "Israel's borders end where its last soldier stands".

After the occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967, the Knesset issued a decision to annex what had been known as "East Jerusalem", although the seizure decision did not include enforcing all Israeli laws upon it, as it continued to be called "Jerusalem Military District" until 1981, when the Knesset signed the Camp David Peace Accords with Egypt, but did not consider the Palestinian Jerusalemites as citizens, but "residents" instead.

This was done in order to implement the plan to Judaise Jerusalem and make it the eternal capital of the State of Israel. It was also an attempt to expel as many of its inhabitants as possible, especially its national political and community leaders, such Abdel Hamid Al-Sayeh, Rawhi Al-Khatib, Bahjat Abu Gharbieh, Dr Subhi Ghosheh, writer Mahmoud Shukair, Ahmed Khalifa, Archbishop Hilarion Capucci and many others.

We must not forget the Israeli decision to move the Jordanian Court of Cassation headquarters from Jerusalem to Ramallah and put the Israeli District Court in its place which led to the strike of an overwhelming majority of lawyers and judges in the West Bank, including Jerusalemite lawyers and judges, who refused to plead before any West Bank or Jerusalem court, or work there until the strike was ended after the Oslo Accords and the emergence of the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with the agreement, in 1994.

Regardless of the case, the sensitivity towards the religious and cultural significance of Al-Aqsa Mosque remained present, posing a mine which all successive Israeli governments avoided pushing too far for fear of igniting a fire that would explode and extend past the borders of Palestine and would be difficult to control and contain. This explains the agreement of the many Israeli governments to Jordan remaining the custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque and its surrounding holy sites.

This was emphasised in the "Wadi Araba Peace Treaty" signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994. Despite the fact that the Israeli leaders had the upper hand and many strong points, despite their distinguished and unmatched political arrogance and ideological firmness and despite their imposition of settlements and Judaisation, they realise that going too far in attacking Al-Aqsa Mosque was the direct reason for the outbreak of many of the Palestinian uprisings, both those that took place before the establishment of their state in the 1920s, most notably the "Al-Buraq Revolution" in 1929 and those that took place after the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, most notably the "Tunnel Intifada" In 1996 due to the excavation under the Mosque and the "Al-Aqsa Intifada" in 2000 because of Sharon's provocative visit to the mosque courtyards.

However, the events occurring today in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, including Israel's attempts to pass legislations, unleash the extremist Jewish settlers and their representatives in the government and Knesset to violate the Holy Mosque and the political refusal to negotiate the issue of Jerusalem, all reflect hidden intentions and a new-old desire to seize the Holy mosque. They are encouraged by the Arab powers' preoccupation with their internal affairs and concerns, which has increased the internal Palestinian divide and allowed Israeli misguidance to lead popular Arab uprisings by means of inciting groups that are selling Jerusalem and stabbing it in the heart. Such groups disguise themselves under the name of Jerusalem and commit all sorts of strife and sectarian and denomination wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

They have reversed the standards of resistance and Jihad, as Palestine and its heart, Jerusalem, no longer have a place in their thoughts and agendas, despite the fact that many hide under names associates with Jerusalem and the Holy Land etc.

It is true that the attempts to pass legislation to divide the Haram Al-Sharif, both in terms of space and time, and ending the Jordanian custodianship over the area have not been translated into law yet, but it is also true that merely daring to do so is a prelude to gradually entering this idea into the minds of the Palestinians, Arabs, and the international community. Making the repeated ground and political violations of the Haram Al-Sharif a normal issue makes it possible to repeat what happened in the case of Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.

The habit of Israeli leaders to gradually allow the world to get used to their plans has become a feature and main characteristic of their daily policies. It is worth recalling how Golda Meir breathed a sigh of relief, despite her political concern, after the Arab reaction towards the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969 was much calmer than she had expected. Meir drew the policy of continued violation of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and all the holy sites while being reassured by the weakness of the Arab's response.

We have discovered that there is a market for Jewish citizens located under Al-Aqsa which has taken away custom from the city's old markets.

The subjection of Al-Aqsa Mosque to unprecedented political and ground violations are all part of the escalating and ongoing Judaisation process of Jerusalem. Apart from generalisations, there is now a process of methodical purging of the city by easing Palestinian construction in areas of Jerusalem outside the Separation Wall in order to attract a new generation of Jerusalemites. This has made the city of Kafr Akab, a district of Jerusalem adjacent to Ramallah and which is located outside the Separation Wall, a densely populated residential city, full of Jerusalemites who are sick of the complications and difficulties of obtaining a building permit to build a house in the city.

The danger of this issue lies in the fact that merely declaring that the borders of Jerusalem are dictated by the Wall will deprive all Jerusalemites of their right of life or access to the city with just a stroke of a pen. Hence, the result is ridding the city of tens of thousands of Jerusalemites, as well as the decision of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior to dictate the validity of a Jerusalem ID, setting it at ten years, which would be the first time it has done so since 1967. There is also the decision of the Ministry of Education to apply the Israeli educational curriculum to all schools in Jerusalem after it had allowed schools to teach the Jordanian and then the Palestinian curriculum, after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

This article is a translation of the Arabic text published by Al Quds newspaper on 3 March, 2014

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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