The Israeli occupation will repeat the precedent of closing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the prohibition of praying there, as was the case on Friday, and will turn it into a routine response in the future after every operation, not only in Al-Aqsa but also near it. This will occur if the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the prohibition of Friday prayers is not confronted like the first time it occurred in 1969, and if there is no angry reaction, neither from the PA nor any other Arab country, especially Jordan, which is content with boasting about the fact that it has a special position regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque in accordance with the peace treaty with Israel.
The occupation will not have a reason forcing it to change its aggressive approach or to stop its actions last Friday towards the Palestinians performing Friday prayers in the streets and roads outside Al-Aqsa Mosque and outside the walls of the Old City, unless it is subjected to an angry and pressuring Arab and international reaction.
It is important to note here that the escalation of the occupation and the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque passed without Palestinian anger. The Palestinian news agency also highlighted a statement made by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, rejecting the operation and demanding the opening of Al-Aqsa Mosque. As if him doing so fulfils his duty as president of the Palestinian Authority and as someone who is supposed to defend every inch of Palestine, as well as its sanctities and capital.
Moreover, the Jordanian position, or the lack thereof, and talk of numerous calls between the Jordanian and Israeli governments to reopen Al-Aqsa Mosque, and even accepting the principle of communication to this end, gives the occupation the green light; saying what it did is possible and subject to discussion and is not a red line.
Jerusalem will always remain the obstacle or thorn in the side of any peaceful settlement between the PA and Israel, and between Israel and other Arab states and regimes, unless this settlement results in complete Israeli withdrawal from the eastern part of the city that was occupied in 1967.
Even if the Arab governments signed the “deal of the century” and accepted a settlement with the occupation, its almost clear features seem to suggest a distorted Palestinian state that is demilitarised and deprived of sovereignty. The Palestinian people and the other Arab peoples will not accept this deal or any distorted settlement, and even if Abbas and his colleagues insist on this, Abu Dis will not be an alternative to the city of Jerusalem.
Translated from Arab48, 16 July 2017
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.