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Jerusalem: Adding fuel to fire

December 10, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Israeli forces attack Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque on 11 August 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Israel has practised its organised terrorism against the city of Jerusalem, and raised the level of crimes and attacks, to impose a new reality that could be the prelude to pushing Jerusalemites to forcibly leave the Holy City. These repeated attacks on the citizens, their land, their property, their livelihoods, their sanctities and their resilience, have not stopped for a moment.

The policy of collective punishment adopted by Israel and its systematic campaigns of abuse, affect people, trees and stones. It also carries out dozens of arrests on a daily basis in Jerusalem, as well as the night raids that spare no women or children, the continuous expulsion of all activists and those stationed in Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel has also demolished buildings under the pretext of a lack of permits, has seized the homes of Jerusalemites and suppressed all activities in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Every time Jerusalemites are beaten, assaulted and relentlessly repressed, the occupation does not refrain from using sticks, poisonous gas bombs, rubber bullets or sound bombs. They boast about their crimes, while directly shooting the youth in Jerusalem to eradicate them. They kill female activists in cold blood under false security pretexts, to terrorise Jerusalemites and spread fear in their hearts.

This barbarism and retaliatory policies of the occupation also affects schools, and hinders students from accessing them. These students have been terrorised and intimidated in a manner that violates all international treaties and covenants, which guarantee the right to education and safe access for children to their educational institutions. The barriers, the restrictions on freedom of movement and the controlling of who enters Al-Aqsa Mosque, clearly demonstrates that the occupation is continuing its racist and expansionist plan, aiming to impose temporal and spatial division as a fait accompli.

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The occupation justifies itself under the pretext of “terrorism” to close cultural, social and educational institutions in Jerusalem. The matter has even reached the level of prohibiting any institutions affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA), from operating in Jerusalem. Therefore, the people only see the occupation authorities and they do not see the presence of any other parties carrying out their work. Occupation is occupation. When will we wake up and realise that the occupation does not differentiate between us Palestinians? The matter requires us to have a united and single national position, and to rally our efforts in confronting the occupation.

Moreover, Muslims and Christians are being targeted with guns pointing at their chests at every moment. The occupation wants to eradicate our positions, suppress our ideas, destroy all factors of steadfastness and empty the city of its national and political status. From the expulsion of Jerusalemite parliamentarians, to the arrest of Sheikh Raed Salah and the banning of the president of the Palestinian National Christian Coalition, Dimitri Diliani, from entering the Old City of Jerusalem.

Leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Shaikh Raed Salah [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

This Zionist criminality did not come from nowhere and was not sudden, it is a reflection of the laxity of the official Palestinian positions represented in the PA’s actions, and its failure to play a responsible and effective role in what is happening in Jerusalem. It is true that there are condemning positions and local movements here and there, but they do not fulfil the purpose required nationally. Meanwhile, the PA has maintained meetings and contact with the occupation, supressed popular movements, prevented the resistance from voicing its opinions and restricted its activity in the West Bank, although this would discipline the occupation and allow it to regain its sanity after having lost it.

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The matter was also not unrelated to the Arab and Islamic position, which has remained in the formal framework, from conferences, workshops, seminars, meetings and statements – none of which were put into effect. The Arab options are also sufficient to stop the current deterioration and to prevent Israel from continuing its crimes, accompanied by American arrogance and Trump administration’s bias in favour of the occupation. The American administration’s most recent actions motivated the occupation, by moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and recognising Jerusalem as the unified capital of Israel.

President Trump has even expressed his pride in his historic position when he recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in his speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), considering it to be one his best accomplishments during his term. This comes despite the warnings that he received from various presidents and kings, fearing the reactions sweeping across the Arab and Islamic world.

These successive events in the city of Jerusalem, and inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, are one of the most important factors causing tension in the Palestinian territories, and are pushing towards redirecting the compass of confrontation. The explosion may occur from the heart of Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the situation is unbearable and Jerusalem is loved by millions, and without it, blood will be shed and lives will be sacrificed. The enemy must not be deceived by the current calm.

The enemy must reconsider its calculations well, as the spark of confrontation and the hurricane of a popular and armed intifada will sweep all areas. Al-Qassam Brigades summed this up in a tweet that threatened the occupation and vowed to make the enemy pay. This spark indicates that the situation has reached a new stage of escalation, the price of which the enemy cannot bear, and will beg the mediators to appease the situation.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Palinfo on 9 December 2019

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