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Al-Rahma Mosque and the power of the popular resistance

March 6, 2019 at 2:32 am

Palestinians perform prayer in front of Al-Rahma Gate (Gate of Mercy) of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, as Israeli security forces stand guard behind them after Al-Rahma Gate was chained by Israeli police in Jerusalem on 22 February 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Last Friday, we managed, despite the obstacles and preventions, to reach Jerusalem and to participate in the Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was reopened and kept open by the will and perseverance of the Jerusalemites. They have, once again, after the uprising in July 2017, presented a commendable model of popular resistance capable of challenging the occupation’s unfair measures and of imposing a Palestinian fait accompli.

Al-Rahma Mosque is not just part of a door to open, but rather a large part and component of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Inside it is ancient historical pillars, and its outer walls are connected to the Al-Rahma and Tawbah Gates.

The popular act of performing prayer in the mosque and its courtyard represents a purely patriotic act because it pre-empted dangerous colonial colonisation plans to seize the mosque and turn it into a space for the construction of an alleged temple.

The events surrounding the Al-Rahma Mosque and Gate have proven, once again, that the people of Jerusalem continue to stand up to the occupation and its oppression. They triumph every time given their ability to unite, work together, and endlessly give voluntarily without awaiting rewards from anyone.

READ: Jewish calls to convert Al-Rahma Mosque into a synagogue

They make us proud as Palestinians with their ability to protect Al Aqsa Mosque, and all Islamic and Christian holy sites, even though many who possess armies, funds and capabilities have neglected to do so.

The people of Jerusalem have demonstrated, through their actions, the power of the concept and performance of genuine popular resistance.

Limitless audacity

I did not understand the meaning of the Hebrew word “chutzpah” until someone explained it to me by telling me the story of a man who killed his parents for their money and was sentenced to death. When the judge asked him if he has any last words, he said he would like to ask for mercy. The judge asked him based on what and he said because he was an orphan who lost both of his parents.

This is how I understood the meaning of chutzpah, which applies to the behaviour of this murderer. It means excessive insolence and audacity.

Women walk by the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City on 1 December 2014 in Jerusalem, [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

Women walk by the Dome of the Rock at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City on 1 December 2014 in Jerusalem, [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

I understood the term chutzpah better when Israel’s leaders and their supporters began their hasty propaganda campaign, which was followed by financial piracy measures against the brave prisoners and the families of martyrs, who were victims of Israel’s killing and repression.

These perseverant prisoners and honourable martyrs were victims of illegal and illegitimate occupation by all standards. Some of them were burned alive or killed in cold blood by settlers, while the bullets of Israeli soldiers killed others. Some Palestinians, such as Razan al-Najjar, were killed by Israeli snipers while they treated the wounded or carried out their duties as journalists.

A large number of prisoners were arrested and detained without charge and trial under the pretext of the so-called “administrative detention”.

READ: Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians in Gaza

Those of them who have fought in defence of their rights and the rights of their people are known in the modern human rights dictionary as “freedom fighters” and are glorified everywhere except in Palestine, where the Israeli leaders and those in the US Senate who shamelessly support them, do not hesitate to describe every Palestinian confrontation, even the most peaceful ones, as terrorism, incitement, and anti-Semitism.

Chutzpah is when the occupier and killer are seen as innocent and is protected, while those who are defending themselves become the suspect and persecuted. This is the utmost level of arrogance.

However, the Israeli government’s use of piracy and theft to confiscate money paid by our people suffering under occupation as taxes deducted from our hard work and the livelihood of our children, under the pretext of cutting the allowances given to prisoners and families of martyrs, is a form of unprecedented audacity.

What the occupation, like all colonialists across history, do not know, is that no repressive action or retaliatory action has or can prevent the nation from embracing and taking care of its prisoners and the families of its martyrs, even if they must go hungry themselves to feed them.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arab48 on 5 March 2019

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