By Latheef Farook
Attacking worshippers and desecrating the A Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan has become a permanent feature for lawless Israel which plans to destroy the mosque and build in its place Solomon’s Temple.
As part of this ongoing conspiracy Israeli police smashed doors and windows to enter Masjid Al Aqsa and mercilessly attacked worshippers turning a night of worship this week into a night of brutality and barbarity.
They fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas and stun grenades as worshippers were performing the Taraweeh, special night prayer during Ramadan, before violently attacking worshippers inside the mosque which is the third most holiest in Islam after the holy mosques in Makka and Madina.
A resident of the Old City told Middle East Eye that the sound of screams during the raid could be heard everywhere. The initial raid started around 10pm on Tuesday when police officers were first spotted entering Al-Aqsa. They began by removing people from the courtyards of the mosque. Dozens of worshippers had stayed there to practice Itikaf after tens of thousands attended the earlier Taraweeh night prayer.
Hundreds of Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the Qibli hall – the building with the silver dome – to perform the contemplative prayer of Itikaf, a non-mandatory religious practice that is common during Ramadan, when worshippers stay inside mosques overnight to pray, reflect and recite the Quran.
Israeli troops stormed the thousand year old Qibli mosque and threw Palestinians to the ground, stomped on them, and bound their hands behind their backs triggering retaliatory rocket fire from militants in Gaza.
Palestinian witnesses described the beatings and violence Israeli forces meted out on worshippers was far worse than the online footage had shown. According to Palestinian media number of worshippers allowed to enter the mosque, was brought down from 80,000 people on Tuesday to 20,000
Temple Movement groups, which facilitate the settler incursions and advocate for the destruction of Al-Aqsa, have called for mass storming throughout the week-long Passover holiday. However Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic site where unsolicited visits, prayers and rituals by non-Muslims are forbidden, according to decades-long international agreements.
Over the last two weeks, there have been calls by Jewish extremist groups to slaughter goats at the mosque compound as part of an ancient Passover holiday ritual that is no longer practiced by most Jews. A greater number of Muslim worshipers stayed in the mosque after calls came to prevent those attempts.
Najeh Bkeirat, the deputy director of the Islamic Waqf at Al-Aqsa Mosque, said the escalation was premeditated and Israeli government seems to have decided to empty Palestinians from al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem.
He said police violence sent a message to the Palestinians that Israel is the sole sovereign over Al-Aqsa that can decide who can enter the site and when.
Israeli forces have arrested more than 1,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem this year and issued orders barring hundreds of people from entering Al-Aqsa. “They want only Jews in the city. They don’t want Palestinians and Muslims here,” said Bkeirat.
By allocating specific times for when Palestinians are allowed at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and opening the site for settlers to visit and pray, Palestinians fear the groundwork is being laid to divide the mosque between Muslims and Jews, similar to how the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron was divided in the 1990s.
Israel’s control of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, violates several principles of international law, which stipulates that an occupying power has no sovereignty in the territory it occupies and cannot make any permanent changes there
According to Palestinian columnist, Lubna Masarwa footage of heavily armed Israeli soldiers smashing their batons and guns down on cowering Palestinian worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Al-Qibli prayer hall during Ramadan sparked outrage worldwide .
“They kept us on the ground, handcuffed, for a long time, and anyone who raised his head was hit with a gun,” Jaber told Middle East Eye. “My leg hurt, so I told a soldier about it, but he hit me on my chest and cursed me.”
Stun grenades and teargas were fired into the thousand-year-old building, before soldiers threw Palestinians to the ground, stamped on them, and bound their hands forcefully behind their backs.
Jaber said the beatings did not stop once they were removed from the prayer hall. The Israelis hit the detained Palestinians with batons as they led them out of the hall and crammed them into a space near the mosque. Even after they were taken to the police station, the assaults and insults continued, Jaber said.
Temple Movement groups, which facilitate the settler incursions and advocate for the destruction of Al-Aqsa, have called for mass storming throughout the week-long Passover holiday which started on Wednesday. They have also called for conducting ritual animal slaughter at the site which could trigger anger from Palestinians and Muslims worldwide.
Palestinian groups have urged mass presence at the site this week to prevent the planned animal slaughter and mass incursions. Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic site where unsolicited visits, prayers and rituals by non-Muslims are forbidden according to decades-long international agreements.
Israeli groups, in coordination with authorities, have long violated the delicate arrangement and facilitated raids of the site and performed prayers and religious rituals.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres may be “shocked and appalled” by images of Israeli security forces beating people inside the mosque, leaders around the world including tyrants who rule the Middle East , may condemn, the European Union may be “deeply concerned”, not condemn.
However, Israel which serves the west knows very well, that nothing will stop their cruelty as, in the face of Israel’s mafia style crimes, all of them remain willing or unwilling collaborators.
More than two billion Muslim remain help less as their rulers remain collaborators with Israel.
One should not forget that Israel, established planted in Palestine for Jewish settlers brought from outside, by US and European powers by means of violence ,deception, lies, bribery and blackmail to destabilize the entire Middle East. Facing their barbarity Palestinians remain the most oppressed and brave fighters in known human history.
Courtesy Middle East Eye
Israeli forces drag a Palestinian after beating him and arresting him from inside Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on 5 April 2023 (AP)
Israeli security forces remove Palestinian Muslim worshippers sitting on grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, on 5 April 2023 during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan (AFP)
Disclaimer: Israel Attacking Worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque
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