Playing With Fire: Jewish Settlers, Rabbis Break into Al-Aqsa Mosque ~ by Khalid Amayreh
...the Israeli government continues to make provocations and “create facts” aimed at destroying all remaining chances for peace. This week, Israeli authorities allowed a large number of fanatical Jewish settlers to enter and tour Al-Aqsa Mosque‘s esplanade. The settlers, dressed in religious attire and wearing kippa head-caps, were protected by a heavy police presence.
Israeli sources said the aim of the provocative intrusion into one of Islam’s holiest sites was to “assert Jewish rights in the Temple Mount”, using the Jewish name for the Haram Al-Sharif — or Noble Sanctuary — of Jerusalem.
The settlers were accompanied by “guides” who explained that the historical mosques in the area were erected on top of an ancient Jewish temple, a claim 45 years of intensive excavations beneath and around Al-Aqsa Mosque have failed to prove.
Messianic Jews, including the group known as Gush Emunim, or the Faithful Bloc, with which most settlers are affiliated, advocate the demolition of Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem in preparation for the “purification” of Israel, a process that would culminate with the appearance of the Redeemer — the Jewish Messiah. That Messiah, according to some Jewish theologists, would build a worldwide Jewish empire that would be ruled from Jerusalem.
Muslim religious leaders are frustrated by the absence or lack of an adequate response by the Muslim world to what they view as an “an earth-shattering feat” being contemplated and planned for by messianic Jewish circles, in collusion and coordination with the Israel government.
The earth-shattering feat is an allusion to repeated Jewish threats to demolish Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to build on its ruins a Jewish temple that Jewish religious authorities say would accelerate and expedite the “redemption process”.
Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, warned the Jewish state that, “the demolition of Al-Aqsa Mosque would mean the demolition of Israel itself.” Speaking during an annual public gathering under the title “Al-Aqsa is in danger” in the Arab-Israeli town of Umm Al-Fahm this week, Salah said the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque would shake the ground under Zionism‘s feet. “I have no iota of doubt in my mind that any reckless act against Al-Aqsa Mosque would spell Israel’s destruction and ultimate death,” said Salah before tens of thousands of enthusiastic Muslims who came from Arab towns and villages across Israel.
Supposedly 140 Jews entered today.
Children mobilized to provoke:
Two who arrested yesterday:
How they see it:
Dozens of settlers stormed, on Wednesday morning, courtyards of al-Aqsa Mosque from the Mughrabi Gate accompanied by Israeli soldiers, preventing Palestinian worshipers from entering it.
A state of tension prevailed in al-Aqsa Mosque due to the repeated settlers’ incursions into the mosque from the Mughrabi Gate under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, while imposing tight restrictions on the entry of Palestinian youths into the mosque, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Islamic Heritage said.
The foundation added that the Israeli occupation forces prevented on Wednesday, worshipers of all ages from entering al-Aqsa mosque, which led to verbal altercations between young people and Israeli policemen, resulting in the arrest of the young Hazem Kassas, 30, from the old town, and the security guard of Quds University.
The Israeli occupation policemen stationed in the al-Aqsa mosque drove a number of elderly worshipers out after confronting the invading settlers by chanting “God is great.”