Israel’s State terrorism in Al-Quds
FOR years on end, Netanyahu’s government has been demonstrating its military brinkmanship in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as has been currently evidenced by the ruthless Israeli policy of planned evictions of the Palestinians in Al-Quds (East Jerusalem).
On last Friday of Ramadan (the AL-Quds day), Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers inside the Haram al-Sharif via stun grenade and gas bombs, an official from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf (religious endowments) told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims.
Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Hundreds of Palestinians were injured in the clashes inside the Haram al-Sharif area, the Palestinian Red Crescent said in a statement.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community. The current inhumane action of the Israeli security forces is being condemned globally.
This all has happened at a time when the Biden Administration is talking about reviving the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of the “two-state solution.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, said he “held [Israel] responsible for the dangerous developments and sinful attacks”.
The international community also appealed for de-escalation on Friday, as anger mounted over the threatened eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Shaikh Jarrah district.
A US State Department spokeswoman said Washington was “deeply concerned about the heightened tension”.
The European Union condemned the violence and said “perpetrators on all sides must be held accountable” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants the Israeli government to halt all demolitions and evictions from the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, his spokesman said.
The tension has radiated across the region, with neighbouring Jordan warning Israel against further “provocative” steps, and Iran seizing on the sensitivities around Jerusalem and encouraging the violence.
Neighbouring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Al-Aqsa, weighed in on Friday, saying “Israel’s continuation of its illegal practices and provocative steps” in the city is a “dangerous game”.
“Building and expanding settlements, confiscating lands, demolishing homes and deporting Palestinians from their homes are illegal practices that perpetuate the occupation and undermine the chances of achieving a just and comprehensive peace, which is a regional and international necessity,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi tweeted.
The EU delegation called on the Israeli security forces to “exercise maximum restraint and allow paramedics to enter to provide medical services to those injured.” “We call on all to uphold and respect the status quo of the holy sites.”
We call on both sides, now, to make an urgent contribution to deescalate the situation,” said German government spokesman Steffen Seibert as he called on Israelis and Palestinians to show restraint.
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, urged all parties to “respect the status quo of holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City in the interest of peace and stability.”
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez reiterated Egypt’s rejection of any illegal activities that seek to undermine rights of Palestinian people, particularly construction or expansion of settlements on Palestinian territory, as well as confiscation of lands and displacement of Palestinians.
This “represents a violation of international law, undermines the chances of achieving the two-state solution, and represents a threat to the pillars of security and stability in region,” said Hafez.
The High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), Miguel Ángel Moratinos, expresses his dismay and deep concern over the recent violent clashes in and around Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
Recalling the UN Plan of Action to Safeguard Religious Sites: In Unity and Solidarity for Safe Worship, the High Representative calls for respect of the sanctity of religious sites and stresses the right of worshippers to practice their religious rituals and traditions peacefully and safely without fear or intimidation.
The High-Representative appeals for peace and respect of status quo of the holy sites in East Jerusalem and wishes those who were injured a speedy recovery.
Non-Muslims can visit but cannot pray at the site.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed this status quo in a formal declaration in 2015.
Conversely, on the eve of the so-called Jerusalem Day, in his cabinet meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no direct mention of the Sheikh Jarrah case.
“I say also to the best of our friends: Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and just as every nation builds in its capital and builds up its capital, we also have the right to build in Jerusalem and to build up Jerusalem.
That is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do,” Netanyahu said. This is enough to show Netanyahu’s hawkish mindset.
“Saudi Arabia rejects Israel’s plans and measures to evict dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and impose Israeli sovereignty over them,” the kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya.
The UAE, which normalised relations with Israel last year, “strongly condemned” the clashes and the potential evictions, in a statement by the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khalifa al-Marar, and urged Israeli authorities to reduce tension.
The four members of the Middle East Quartet — the US, Russia, the EU and the UN — expressed “deep concern” over violence in Jerusalem, a day after clashes wounded more than 200 people.
“We are alarmed by the provocative statements made by some political groups, as well as the launching of rockets and the resumption of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israel, and attacks on Palestinian farmland in the West Bank.”
What clearly comes from the ongoing Israeli policy in East Jerusalem that Israel intrinsically wants the control of the whole surrounding of the Old City, including West and East Jerusalem, but by no means this unjustifiable Israeli policy could ever be acceptable to the Palestinians particularly and the Muslim community at large.
—The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-international law analyst based in Pakistan, is member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies, also a member of Washington Foreign Law Society and European Society of International Law.