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فلسطين زياد منى الجمعة 15 أيار2020

في ذكرى النكبة واغتصاب الحركة الصهيونية وحلفائها من الغرب الاستعماري ـــــ وبمشاركة عرب «سايكس بيكو» وأعرابها ـــــ أرض فلسطين، نود الحديث عن مكانتها في التاريخ العربي والإسلامي، عبر استعراض مختلف المقامات المقدّسة فيها، كما ترد في مختلف المصادر. وقد استعنّا في عملنا هذا بمراجعَ عديدة، منها مؤلّف «فضائل القدس» لأستاذ التاريخ والفكر الإسلامي في «جامعة سميث كولدج» الأميركية سليمان علي مراد، الصادر عام 2019 عن مؤسسة الدراسات الفلسطينية في بيروت والمكتبة الخالدية في القدس المحتلّة، إضافة إلى مؤلّف الطبيب الفلسطيني توفيق كنعان mohammedan saints and sanctuaries in palestine, 1927 / «الأولياء والمقامات الإسلامية في فلسطين» الصادر في القدس ـــــ فلسطين عام 1927، وكذلك المؤلّف الحديث ‹bones of contention: Andrew Petersen, muslim shrines in palestine / «رفات الخصومة: المقامات الإسلامية في فلسطين» الصادر عام 2018. وهدفنا هو إثبات المكانة العليا التي حظيت بها فلسطين في الفكر والعقل العربي والإسلامي عبر العصور، في الوقت الذي تحاول فيه مشيخات الخليج، والوهابيون، تشويه ذلك التاريخ ومسح أي مكانة لفلسطين في الوعي التاريخي العربي والإسلامي. وهذا أيضاً لفضح اللاهثين وراء تكريمات الغرب وجوائزهم الصدئة، والذين ينفون أي علاقة للإسلام والمسلمين، ليس بالحرم القدسي فحسب، بل بمكّة المكرمة أيضاً.

عندما نتحدث عن المقامات الإسلامية في فلسطين، ليس المقصود فقط مواقع معروفة مثل مدافن الأنبياء أو «الأولياء» بمعنى الأفراد الصالحين، بل أيضاً كلّ مكان من مزار وقبر وشجرة وجنينة وجَنْبَة وكهف ونبع وصخرة وحجر وتحويطة، لهم علاقة بموضوع المقال، سواء كانوا مقدّسين أم مرتبطين بخرافات وأوهام. لكن ليست المقامات جميعها تحظى بالمكانة العليا، حيث نرى أن قلّة منها تحظى بمكانة قدسية لدى البداة، لكن ليس لدى أهل البلدات أو القرى القريبة منها. وثمة مقامات تحظى بمكانة عليا في خارج فلسطين، كما سنرى لاحقاً.

أينما نظرت في فلسطين تجد أمكنة مقدسة: في القرى وفي الحقول وفي البراري، في الجبال وفي الوديان. وفي معظم الأحيان يعثر المرء على جامع قريب من المقام، حيث يتوافد المؤمنون إليه للتعبّد لله. فعلى سبيل المثال، نجد في قرية عورتا 14 مقاماً، 11 منها تقع في داخل القرية وثلاثة في خارجها، وهذا يتكرّر في قرى وبلدات أخرى مثل عناتا والعيسوية وقولونيا وغيرها. يلاحظ المرء أنّ المقامات عادة ما بُنيت في أعالي الجبال، كي ترى من على بعد، مثل النبي صموئيل والشيخ القطرواني والشيخ أحمد الكركي الطيار في قرية القسطل، وأبو هريرة في وادي الشريعة، والعُزير في عورتا والشيخ العُمَري في بيت عنان، حيث يمكن من هناك رؤية كل من يافا واللد والرملة وسهولها، وكذلك البحر الأبيض المتوسط، والمصعد في جبل الزيتون والشيخ جراح بالقرب من مدينة القدس، ومقام الخضر في نابلس مكتوب داخله: «عُمِّر هذا المسيجد أيام السلطان الملك سيف الدين قلاون الصالح عزَّه الله ووالده السلطان الصالح علا الدين عز نصره».

أي إنه تمّ اختيار أمكنة المقامات قرب القرى، ولا يعني ذلك إطلاقاً أنّ التل أو الهضبة أو الجبل مقدّس. أما إذا وقعت في أراضي منخفضة، مثل عند تقاطع وديان أو ينابيع أو جداول، فيتم إقامتها في أمكنة يراها الناظر من مسافات بعيدة، بما يؤكد وظيفتها الاجتماعية أيضاً، إما لاستراحة المسافر أو لتناول الطعام، وتُعرف باسم «المضافة»، وهكذا. فعلى سبيل المثال، نجد في مقام أريحا حسن الراعي، بالقرب من النبي موسى، النقش الآتي: «أنشأ هذه القبة المباركة علي حسن الراعي قدس سره صاحب الخير محمد باشا حين أتى من استقبال حجاج المسلمين فشرع في البناء فلم يلقَ ماءً فبعلو همته حفظه الله تعالى نقل الماء على البلد من قرية أريحا وحصل الثواب سنة 1 ربيع عشر وماية وألف». كما يلحظ المرء أنّ قبور الرجال الصالحين تقع في أغلب الأحيان وسط المدن أو البلدات، مثل مقامات الطور (6) وأريحا (6)، ومنها «النبي موسى» وشعفاط (4) وصور باهر (4) وعناتا (7).

أينما نظرت في فلسطين تجد أمكنة مقدسة: في القرى وفي الحقول وفي البراري في الجبال وفي الوديان


وثمة مقامات قرب مواقع أثرية، مثل القطرواني بالقرب من كنيسة على تخوم قرية بير زيت، وذو الكفل بالقرب من خربة الكفيرة ومقام عبد العزيز الواقع بين قريتي القسطل وبيت سوريك، إلى جانب نبع عتيق وفق علماء الآثار، وقبر ستنا الشامية بالقرب من نبع عتيق، وفق المصدر نفسه. هنا وجب لفت الانتباه إلى أن الأشجار القائمة إلى جانب المقامات ليست مقدسة بحد ذاتها، وإنما تنال مكانتها من المقام. ويلاحظ أنّ فائدة بعضها غذائي مثل أشجار التين والصبر والرمان والجميز والدوالي والخروب وغيرها.

كذلك، يعثر المرء على مقامات عبارة عن حجارة مرتبة على شكل دوائر تسمّى الحويطية ومفردها الحويطة (انظر التعبير الشعبي: حوطك بالله)، ومنها حويطية الشيخة امبركة في قلنديا والشيخ فرج في بين حنينا. ومن الجدير بالذكر هنا، وجود حويطية مسيحية مشابهة، ومنها على سبيل الذكر المرتبط بالنبي الخضر (st. george) بالقرب من بيت جالا. وثمة حويطية أخرى هي النبي دانيال تقع وسط كرم بين قريتي الخضر وأرطاس.

ويعثر المرء أيضاً على ينابيع تحظى بمكانة عليا لدى السكان، ومنها عين الشريف وعين إم دراج في سلوان، وعين الحمّام في القدس وعين النوباني في نابلس وعين الجوز في رام الله وعين أرطاس في القرية بالاسم وعين عونا (st. mary) في بيت جالا وعين الحجر في دير الغسَّانة، وحمام الدرادجة في نابلس ومرتبط ذكره بالنبي الخضر، وحمام ستي مريم مرتبط بالسيدة مريم العذراء، وحمام الشفا، وبير أيوب المرتبطين بالنبي أيوب، وبير سنجيل المرتبط بالنبي يوسف، وعين كارم المرتبط بالسيدة العذراء، وهكذا. إضافة إلى ما سبق، ثمة أشجار مرتبطة باسم نبي أو رجل صالح، منها زيتونة النبي في حرم الشريف ونخلة مار سابا وشجرة زيتون في الجثمانية وشجرة زيتون في بيت ساحور. ومن الجدير بالذكر وجود مقامات حظيت بدعم سلاطين مختلفين، ولكن نكتفي بما سبق ذكره ونوجّه نظرنا نحو مقامات إسلامية أخرى، ومنها الصوفية والبهائية والشيعية والدرزية.

أشار الجغرافي العربي الدمشقي (1256 ـــــ 1327) إلى «مشهد النصر» أعلى جبل حطين، حيث بني في عهد الناصر صلاح الدين قبة تسمى قبة النصر، لتخليد انتصاره على الفرنجة في معركة حطين. وثمة شهادة من حجاج مسيحيين على وجود ذلك النصب، الذي بقي قائماً حتى القرن التاسع عشر. أما المقامات التي حظيت برعاية سلطانية الظاهر بيبرس، فهي النبي موسى في غور الأردن، ومقام أبي هريرة في يبنة، وحرم سيدنا علي في أرسوف، حيث صلى الظاهر بيبرس في المكان، ونذر أن يرعاه في حال انتصاره على الفرنج. أما الزوايا الصوفية، والتي تسمى أيضاً رباط وخَنَقَة، فثمة العديد منها، علماً بأنّ فلسطين كانت مقر ما لا يقل عن 11 طريقة، منها القادرية (محمد أبو العون ـــــ ثمة مسجد باسمه في مدينة الرملة ويضم رفاته ورفات زوجه)، والتي جلبها شهاب الدين أحمد المعروف أيضاً باسم ابن أرسلان، والرفاعية والدسوقية والأحمدية والشاذلية واليونسية والمولوية وغيرها. وثمّة أيضاً مقام دير الشيخ في وادي النسور جنوب غربي مدينة القدس، الذي يحوي رفات السطان بدر، وكذلك مقام اليشرطية في عكا، ومقام الصحابي أبي عبيدة في عمواس حيث توفي أيام الطاعون الذي انتشر في البلاد حينئذ.

أما المقامات الشيعية، فمنها المشهد الذي أقيم في عسقلان لوضع رأس الحسين بن علي رضي الله عنهما، والذي استشهد في كربلاء في العاشر من تشرين الأول / أكتوبر عام 680، لكنّه أرسل إلى دمشق حيث حفظ في الجامع الأموي بالقرب من رفات النبي يحيى أو يوحنا المعمدان. وثمة مقام النبي يوشع الواقع في شمال فلسطين بالقرب من الحدود اللبنانية.

أما المقامات الدرزية، فمنها مقام النبي شعيب الواقع قرب حطين. وثمة رواية بأنّ صلاح الدين الأيوبي أمر الشيخ عماد الدين، أحد أبناء الحكام الفاطميين، برعاية المقام الذي زاره العديد من المؤرّخين والحجّاج والجغرافيين العرب وغير العرب. وثمة مقامان بهائيان رئيسيان في فلسطين، هما قبر بهاء الله في عكا وقبور عائلته، وقبر الباب علي محمد الشيرازي. وثمة مقامات أخرى قام العدو الصهيوني بتدميرها، في عام 1948، وما بعد ذلك، ومنها مقام النبي الكفل، ومقام النبي بولس وغيرهما.

نكتفي بهذا القدر، علماً بأن المراجع تحوي عشرات المواقع الأخرى، وحتى صوراً لها ومخططاتها. ما يهمنا ختاماً، توضيح أنّ فلسطين، أرض المقدّسات، حظِيت بمكانة خاصة لدى العرب والمسلمين شرقاً وغرباً وشمالاً وجنوباً، نجد عرضاً مفصّلاً لها في مؤلّف «فضائل القدس» الآنف الذكر، وليس بإمكان أيٍّ كان أن يجرّدها من موقعها التاريخي، الضاربة جذوره في عمق تاريخنا.

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Israeli Police Allow Israeli Settlers Into Al-Aqsa Mosque, Restrict Muslim Presence

March 23, 2020 12:23 AM  Rami Almeghari

Image: Ma’an

Dozens of Israeli colonial settlers, belonging to the Temple Mount group, on Sunday morning, stormed the vicinity of the Islamic holy shrine of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem..

Witnesses told media outlets that the group of illegal settlers performed provocative rituals before leaving through the Bab Alselsela gate used by Palestinian-Muslim residents.

Israeli police force escorted the illegal settlers, while also restricting entry of Muslim Palestinian worshippers into the sacred Islamic compound.

The Temple Mount group had previously called on Israeli colonists to perform rituals at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, also known as the Al-Haram Ash-Sharīf, widely agreed to be an Islamic holy place.

New measures of the Israeli occupation authorities’ efforts to fight the now internationally-spread, Coronavirus, are claimed to be the reason for the tightened restrictions. High fines have been threatened only against Palestinian locals and scholars, allegedly to avoid the assembly of large numbers of people, however the Israelis are not subject to the same rules.

In September 2000, late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, invaded, along with almost 3000 Israelis, including Jews, police forces and officials, stormed the holy shrine, which sparked the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising) otherewise known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which took the lives of 3,000 Palestinians over a 5 year period.

In the last 2 decades, Israelis and illegal settlers have regularly stormed the Muslim holy site with the protection of Israeli police and performed rituals, which are forbidden. Israelis who wish to pray near the mosque have a designated area for prayer, known among Muslims as the Buraq Wall, know by Jews as the Wailing Wall.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Waqf council announced the decision to suspend all Muslim prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, starting Monday at dawn, until further notice.

Palestine news

Palestinians Heroically Confront Israeli Attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque

Palestinians Heroically Confront Israeli Attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque

August 11, 2019

Palestinians heroically confronted on Sunday brutal Israeli attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque, with dozens hurt, including Grand Al-Quds Mufti.

Clashes erupted as dozens of Zionist settlers, backed by Israeli occupation forces arrive at the holy site, also known as Al Haram Al Sharif, in the Old City of Al-Quds.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured including Grand Mufti of Al-Quds, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein and former minister Adnan Al-Hasani, Palestinian media reported.

Israeli media also reported the clashes, saying Palestinian worshippers were marking Eid Al-Adha “which coincides with” the so-called Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av.

The clashes erupted around 9:30 A.M. after Palestinian worshipers finished their prayers, with occupation police fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters, Haaretz reported.

Source: Agencies

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Say Al-Aqsa Red Line, Call for Escalating Intifada

August 11, 2019

Hamas Islamic Jihad logos

Two major Palestinian resistance movements warned on Sunday that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a redline, calling for escalating Intifada (uprising) against the Israeli enemy.

The remarks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad come as Zionist settlers, backed by Israeli occupation forces, stage brutal crackdown on Palestinian worshipers at the holy site earlier on Sunday.

“Al-Aqsa is a red line and our people won’t fall behind defending it,” Hamas said in a statement.

“The craziness of the occupation government and other Zionist extremists will have noxious consequences on them,” the Palestinian resistance movement warned, stressing that the Israeli occupation bears full responsibility of such attack.

Hamas, meanwhile, hailed the Palestinian worshipers who sacrificed themselves in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Islamic Jihad for its part, called for escalating the Intifada (uprising) against the Israeli occupation, stressing that the resistance is the “only path to respond to the Israeli hegemony and terror.”

In a statement, the Islamic Jihad called upon other Palestinian factions to hold an urgent meeting in order to set a strategy that aims at confronting the Israeli attacks.

“The Israeli occupation bears full responsibility for the repercussions of its aggression and crimes against our people,” the resistance movement said in the statement, stressing that the Palestinian people will defend its land and holy sites.

Dozens of Palestinians were injured as IOF attacked Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday, including Grand Al-Quds Mufti Sheikh Muhammad Hussein and former minister Adnan Al-Hasani.

Source: Palestinian media

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In Israel the Push to Destroy Jerusalem’s Iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque Goes Mainstream

Al-Aqsa Feature photo

TWO CENTURIES IN THE CROSS-HAIRS

In Israel the Push to Destroy Jerusalem’s Iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque Goes Mainstream

This ancient site that dates back to the year 705 C.E. is being targeted for destruction by extremist groups that seek to erase Jerusalem’s Muslim heritage in pursuit of colonial ambitions and the fulfillment of end-times prophecy.

The iconic golden dome of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque, located on the Temple Mount or Haram el-Sharif, is the third holiest site in Islam and is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of the city of Jerusalem. Yet, this ancient site that dates back to the year 705 C.E. is being targeted for destruction by increasingly influential extremist groups that seek to erase Jerusalem’s Muslim heritage in pursuit of colonial ambitions and the fulfillment of end-times prophecy.

Some observers may have noticed the growing effort by some Israeli government and religious officials to remove the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque from the Jerusalem skyline, not only erasing the holy site in official posters, banners and educational material but also physically removing the building itself. For instance, current Knesset member of the ruling Likud Party, American-born Yehuda Glick, was also the director of the government-funded Temple Institute, which has created relics and detailed architectural plans for a temple that they hope will soon replace Al-Aqsa. Glick is also close friends with Yehuda Etzion, who was part of a failed plot in 1984 to blow up Al-Aqsa mosque and served prison time as a result.

“In the end we’ll build the temple and it will be a house of prayer for all nations,” Glick toldIsraeli newspaper Maariv in 2012. A year later, Israel’s Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel stated that “[w]e’ve built many little, little temples…but we need to build a real Temple on the Temple Mount.” Ariel stated that the new Jewish Temple must be built on the site where Al-Aqsa currently sits “as it is at the forefront of Jewish salvation.” Since then, prominent Israeli politicians have become more and more overt in their support for the end of Jordanian-Palestinian sovereignty over the mosque compound, leading many prominent Palestinians to warn in recent years of plans to destroy the mosque.




In recent years, a centuries-old effort by what was once a small group of extremists has gone increasingly mainstream in Israel, with prominent politicians, religious figures and political parties advocating for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque in order to fulfill a specific interpretation of an end-times prophecy that was once considered fringe among practitioners of Judaism.

As Miko Peled, Israeli author and human-rights activist, told MintPress, the movement to destroy Al-Aqsa and replace it with a reimagined Temple “became notable after the 1967 war,” and has since grown into “a massive colonial project that uses religious, biblical mythology and symbols to justify its actions” — a project now garnering support from both religious and secular Israelis.

While the push to destroy Al-Aqsa and replace it with a physical Third Temple has gained traction in Israel in recent years, this effort has advanced at a remarkably fast pace in just the past few weeks, owing to a confluence of factors. These factors, as this report will show, include the upcoming revelation of the so-called “Deal of the Century,” the push for a war with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and the Trump administration’s dramatic lenience in regards to the activity of Jewish extremist groups and extremist settlements in Israel.

These factors correlate with a quickening of efforts to destroy Al-Aqsa and the very real danger the centuries-old holy site faces. While the U.S. press has occasionally mentioned the role of religious extremism in dictating the foreign policy of prominent U.S. politicians like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it has rarely shone a light on the role of Jewish extremism in directing Israel’s foreign policy — foreign policy that, in turn, is well-known to influence American policies.

When taken together, the threats to Al-Aqsa are clearly revealed to be much greater than the loss of a physical building, though that itself would be a grave loss for the world’s Muslim community, which includes over 1.8 billion people. In addition, the site’s destruction would very likely result in a regional and perhaps even global war with clear religious dimensions.

To prevent such an outcome, it is essential to highlight the role that extremist, apocalyptic interpretations of both the Jewish and Christian faiths are playing in trends that, if left unchecked, could have truly terrifying consequences. Both of these extremist groups are heavily influenced by colonial ambitions that often supersede their religious underpinning.

In Part I of this two-part series, MintPress examines the growth of extremist movements in Israel that openly promote the destruction of Al-Aqsa, from a relatively isolated fringe movement within Zionism to mainstream prominence in Israel today; as well as how threats to the historic mosque have grown precipitously in just the past month. MintPress interviewed Israeli author and activist Miko Peled; Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta in New York; Imam and scholar of Shia Islam, Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, of the Islamic Institute of America; and Palestinian journalist and academic Ramzy Baroud for their perspectives on these extremist groups, their growing popularity, and the increasing threats to the current status quo at Haram El-Sharif/Temple Mount.

The second part of this series will detail the influence of this extremist movement in Israeli politics as well as American politics, particularly among Christian Zionist politicians in the United States. The ways in which this movement’s goal have also influenced Israeli and U.S. policy — particularly in relation to the so-called “Deal of the Century,” President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the push for war against Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah — will also be examined.

 

Two centuries in the cross-hairs

Though efforts to wrest the contested holy site from Jordanian and Palestinian control have picked up dramatically in recent weeks, the Al-Aqsa mosque compound had long been targeted prior to Israel’s founding and even prior to the formation of the modern Zionist movement.

For instance, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Kalisher — who promoted the European Jewish colonization of Palestine from a religious perspective well before Zionism became a movement — expounded on an early form of what would later be labeled “religious Zionism” and was particularly interested in the acquisition of Haram el-Sharif (i.e., the Temple Mount) as a means of fulfilling prophecy.

As noted in the essay “Proto-Zionism and its Proto-Herzl: The Philosophy and Efforts of Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kalisher” by Sam Lehman-Wilzig, Professor of Israeli Politics and Judaic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, Kalisher sought to court wealthy European Jews to finance the purchase of Israel for the purpose of resettlement, particularly the Temple Mount. In an 1836 letter to Baron Amschel Rothschild, Kalisher suggested that the eldest brother of the wealthy banker family use his abundant funds to bring Jewish sovereignty to Palestine, specifically Jerusalem and the Temple Mount:

[E]specially at a time like this, when the Land of Israel is under the dominion of the Pasha… perhaps if his most noble Excellency pays him a handsome sum and purchases for him some other country (in Africa) in exchange for the Holy Land, which is presently small in quantity but great in quality… this money would certainly not be wasted… for when the leaders of Israel are gathered from every corner of the world… and transform it into an inhabited country, the many G-d-fearing and charitable Jews will travel there to take up their residency in the Holy Land under Jewish sovereignty… and be worthy to take up their portion in the offering upon the altar. And if the master (Ibrahim Pasha) does not desire to sell the entire land, then at least he should sell Jerusalem and its environs… or at least the Temple Mount and surrounding areas.” (emphasis added)

Kalisher’s request was met with a noncommittal response from Baron Rothschild, leading Kalisher to pursue other wealthy European Jewish families, like the Montefiores, with the same goal in mind. And, though Kalisher was initially unsuccessful in winning the support of the Rothschild family, other notable members of the wealthy European banking dynasty eventually did become enthusiastic supporters of Zionism in the decades that followed.

Kalisher was also influential in another way, as he was arguably the first modern Rabbi to reject the idea of patiently waiting for God to fulfill prophecy and proposed instead that man should take concrete steps that would lead to the fulfillment of such prophecies, a belief that Kalisher described as “self help.” For Kalisher, settling European Jews in Palestine was but the first step, to be followed by other steps that would form an active as opposed to a passive approach towards Jewish Messianism. These subsequent steps included the construction of a Third Temple, to replace the Second Temple destroyed by the Romans around the year 70 C.E., and the reinitiation of ritual animal sacrifices in that Temple, which Kalisher believed could only be placed on the Temple Mount, where Al-Aqsa then sat and still sits.

Kalisher wasn’t alone in his views, as his contemporary, Rabbi Judah Alkalai, wrote the following in his book Shalom Yerushalayim:

It is obvious that the Mashiach ben David [Messiah of the House of David] will not appear out of thin air in a fiery chariot with fiery horses, but will come if the Children of Israel bend to the task of preparing themselves for him.”

Though Kalisher wasn’t the lone voice promoting these ideas, his beliefs — aside from promoting the physical settlement of European Jews in Palestine — remained relatively fringe for decades, if not more than a century, as secular Jews were hugely influential in the Zionist movement after its official formation. However, prominent religious Zionists did influence the Zionist movement in key ways prior to Israel’s founding. One such figure was Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, who sought to reconcile Zionism and Orthodox Judaism as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine, a position he assumed in 1924.

Yet, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss of Neturei Karta, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group based in New York that opposes Zionism, told MintPress that many religious Zionists have since latched onto Kalisher’s ideas, which were widely rejected during his lifetime, in order to justify neocolonial actions sought by secular Zionists. “This rabbi, at the time, other rabbis ‘roared’ against him and his beliefs weren’t accepted,” Rabbi Weiss stated, “But now, the ones who are talking about building this Third Temple….these are Zionists and they have found some rabbi whose ideas benefit them that they have been using to justify Zionist acts” that are not aligned with Judaism “and make them kosher.”

Al-Aqsa and temple mount 1974

The famous Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, at center, and the dome of Al-Aqsa Mosque pictured on May 15, 1976. Horst Faas | AP

Weiss further expanded on this point, noting that the participants of the modern religious Zionism movement that seek to build a new Jewish temple where Al-Aqsa currently stands are, at their core, Zionists who have used religious imagery and specific interpretations of religious texts as cover for neo-colonial acts, such as the complete re-making of the Temple Mount.

“It’s like a wolf in a sheepskin…These people who want to incorporate the teachings of this rabbi [Rabbi Kalisher] are proudly saying that they are Jewish, but are doing things Jews are forbidden from doing,” such as ascending to and standing upon the Temple Mount, which Rabbi Weiss stated was “a breach of Jewish law,” long forbidden by that law according to a consensus among Jewish scholars and rabbis around the world that continued well beyond the formation of the Zionist movement in the 19th century.

Weiss also told MintPress:

There are only a few sins in Judaism — which has many, many laws, that lead to a Jew being cut off from God — and to go up to the Temple Mount is one of them…This is because you need a certain level of holiness to ascend and… the process to attain that level of holiness and purity cannot be done today, because [aspects of and the items required by] the necessary purity rituals no longer exist today.”

Rabbi Weiss noted that, for this reason, the Muslim community that has historically governed the area where Al-Aqsa mosque stands never had any problems with the Jewish community in relation to the Temple Mount, as it has been known for centuries that Jews cannot ascend to the area where the mosque currently sits and instead prayed only at the Western Wall. He also stated that the prophetic idea of a Third Temple was, prior to Zionism, understood as indicating not a change in physical structures on the Temple Mount, but a metaphysical, spiritual change that would unite all of mankind to worship and serve God in unison.

Rabbi Weiss asserted that the conflict regarding Al-Aqsa mosque started only with the advent of Zionism and the associated neo-colonial ambition to fundamentally alter the status quo and structures present at the site as a means of erasing key parts (i.e., Palestinian parts) of its heritage. “This [the use of religion to justify ascending to and taking control of the Temple Mount] is a trap for conning other people into supporting them,” concluded the Rabbi.

Nonetheless, Kalisher’s impact can be seen in today’s Israel more than ever, thanks to the rise and mainstream acceptance within Israel of once-fringe elements of religious Zionism, which were deeply influenced by the ideas of rabbis like Kalisher and have served in recent decades as an incubator for some of Israel’s most radical political elements.

Meanwhile, as the debate within Judaism over the Temple Mount has changed dramatically since the 19th century, its significance in Islam has remained steadfast. According to Imam Sayed Hassan Al-Qazwini, “Al-Aqsa is the third holiest mosque in Islam…it is considered to be the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven and has been mentioned in the Qoran, which glorifies that mosque and identifies it as a blessed mosque. All Muslims, whether they are Sunni or Shia, revere that mosque” — a fact that has remained unchanged for over a millennium and continues to today.

 

Religious Zionism gains political force

The modern rise of the religious Zionist movements that promote the destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque and its replacement with a Third Jewish Temple is most often traced back to the Six Day War of 1967. According to Miko Peled, who recently wrote a piece for MintPress Newsregarding the threats facing Al-Aqsa, “religious Zionism” as a political force became more noticeable following the 1967 war. Peled told MintPress:

After the ‘heartland’ of Biblical Israel came under Israeli control, the religious Zionists, who before then were marginalized, saw it as their mission to settle those newly conquered lands, and to be the new pioneers, so to speak. They took on the job that the socialist Zionist ideologues had in settling Palestine and ridding it of its native Arab population in the years leading up to Israel’s establishment and up to the early 1950s. They saw the “return” of Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus, or Shchem and, of course, the Old City of Jerusalem as divine intervention and now it was their turn to make their mark.

It began with a small group of Messianic fanatics who forced the government – who at that point, after 1967, was still secular Zionist – to accept their existence in the highly populated areas within the West Bank. That was how the city of Kiryat Arba [illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank] was established. The government, it is worth noting, was happy to be forced into this. From a small group that people thought were fringe lunatics to a Jewish city in the heart of Hebron region.”

Peled further noted that this model, employed by the religious extremist groups that founded illegal West Bank settlements like Kiryat Arba, “has been used successfully since then and it is now used by the groups that are promoting the new Temple in place of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.” He continued, pointing out that “whereas 20-30 years ago they were considered a fringe group, this year they expect more than 50,000 people to enter the compound to support the group and their goals. Religious Israeli youth who opt out of military service and choose national service instead may work with the [Third] Temple building organizations.”

Extremist settlers storm Al-Aqsa

Extremist settlers escorted by Israeli after they stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on July 22, 2018. Mostafa Alkharouf | Anadolu

Dr. Ramzy Baroud — journalist, academic and founder of The Palestine Chronicle — agreed with Peled’s sense that the Third Temple movement or Temple Activist movement has grown dramatically in recent years and has become increasingly mainstream in Israel. Baroud told MintPress: 

There has been a massive increase in the number of Israeli Jews who force their way into the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to pray and practice various rituals…In 2017 alone, over 25,000 Jews who visited the compound — accompanied by thousands of soldiers and police officers and provoking many clashes that resulted in the death and wounding of many Palestinians. Since 2017, the increase in Jews visiting the compound has been very significant if compared to the previous year when around 14,000 Jews made that same journey.”

Baroud also noted:

[The Temple Activist movement] has achieved a great deal in appealing to mainstream Israeli Jewish society in recent years. At one point, it was a marginal movement, but with the rise of the far right in Israel, their ideas and ideologies and religious aspirations have also become part of the Israeli mainstream.”

As a result, Baroud asserted:

[There is] an increasing degree of enthusiasm among Israeli Jews that is definitely not happening at the margins [of society], but is very much a part of the mainstream, more so than at any time in the past, to take over the Al-Aqsa mosque, demolish the mosque in order to rebuild the so-called Third Temple.”

However, Rabbi Weiss disagreed with Peled and Baroud that this faction presents a real threat to the mosque, given that the mosque’s destruction is widely rejected by Diaspora Jewry (i.e., Jews living outside of Israel) and that destroying it would not only cause conflicts with the global Muslim community but also numerous Jewish communities outside of Israel.

As Rabbi Weiss told MintPress:

Some of the largest and most religious [i.e. ultra-orthodox] Jewish communities outside of Israel, like the second largest community of religious [ultra-orthodox] Jews in Williamsburg, Brooklyn [in New York], and also in Israel … are opposed to this concept of taking over the Temple Mount and other related ideas.”

Weiss argued that many of these religious Zionists in Israel that are pushing for a new Temple “do not follow Jewish law to the letter and don’t come from the very religious communities, including the settlers…They don’t go to expressly religious schools, they go to Zionist schools. Their whole view is built on Zionism and [secondarily] incorporates the religion,” as opposed to the reverse. As a result, the destruction of the Al-Aqsa mosque, in Weiss’ view, could greatly alienate the state of Israel from these more religious and ultra-orthodox communities.

In addition, Rabbi Weiss felt that many Jewish and secular Israelis would also reject such a move because it would create even more conflicts, which many Israelis do not want. He described the Temple Activists as “a vocal minority” that represented a “fringe” among adherents to Judaism and a group within Zionism that has tried to use the Temple Mount “in order to be able to excuse their occupation and to try to portray this [the occupation of Palestine] as a religious conflict,” with the conflict surrounding the Temple Mount being an extension of that.

An Israeli police officer raises his baton on Palestinians worshipers near the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, July 27, 2017 (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

An Israeli police officer raises his baton on Palestinians worshipers near the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 27, 2017. Mahmoud Illean | AP

Weiss believed that the push to take over the Temple Mount was a “scare tactic” aimed at securing the indefinite nature of the occupation, and noted that many Israelis did not want a spike in or renewal of conflict that would inevitably result if the mosque were to be destroyed. He also added that he did not think there was a “real threat” of the mosque being targeted because international rabbinical authorities have stood fast in their opposition to the project promoted by the Temple Activists.

 

“Tomorrow might be too late”

It is hardly a coincidence that the growth of Temple Activism and associated movements like “neo-Zionism” have paralleled the growth in threats to the Al-Aqsa mosque itself. Many of these threats can be understood through the doctrine developed by Rabbi Kalisher and others in the mid-19th century — the idea that “active” steps must be taken to bring about the reconstruction of a Jewish Temple at Haram El-Sharif in order to bring about the Messianic Age.

Indeed, during the 1967 war, General Shlomo Goren, the chief rabbi of the IDF, had told Chief of Central Command Uzi Narkiss that, shortly after Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem’s Old City, the moment had come to blow up the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. “Do this and you will go down in history,” Goren told Narkiss. According to Tom Segev’s book 1967, Goren felt that the site’s destruction could only be done under the cover of war: “Tomorrow might be too late.”

Goren was among the first Israelis to arrive at the then-recently conquered Old City in Jerusalem and was joined at the newly “liberated” Al-Aqsa compound by a young Yisrael Ariel, who now is a major leader in the Temple Activist movement and head of the Temple Institute, which is dedicated to constructing a Third Temple where Al-Asqa mosque currently stands.

Narkiss rejected Goren’s request, but did approve the razing of Jerusalem’s Moroccan quarter. According to Mondoweiss, the destruction of the nearly seven centuries old Jerusalem neighborhood was done for the “holy purpose” of making the Western Wall more accessible to Jewish Israelis. Some 135 homes were flattened, along with several mosques, and over 700 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed as part of that operation.

Following the occupation of East Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa has come under increasing threat, just as extremist movements who seek to destroy the site have grown. In 1969, a Christian extremist from Australia, Daniel Rohan, set fire to the mosque. Rohan had been studying in Israel and, prior to committing arson, had told American theology student Arthur Jones, who was studying with Rohan, that he had become convinced that a new temple had to be built where Al-Aqsa stood.

Then, in 1984, a group of messianic extremists known as the Jewish Underground was arrested for plotting to use explosives to destroy Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. Ehud Yatom, who was a security official and commander of the operation that foiled the plot, told Israel’s Channel 2 in 2004 that the planned destruction of the site would have been “horrible, terrible,” adding that it could provoke “the entire Muslim world [into a war] against the state of Israel and against the Western world, a war of religions.”

One of those arrested in 1984 in connection with the bomb plot, former Jewish Underground member Yehuda Etzion, subsequently wrote from prison that his group’s mistake was not in targeting the historic mosque, which he called an “abomination,” but in acting before Israeli society would accept such an act. “The generation was not ready,” Etzion wrote, adding that those sympathetic to the Jewish Underground movement “must build a new force that grows very slowly, moving its educational and social activity into a new leadership.”

“Of course I cannot predict whether the Dome of the Rock will be removed from the Mount while the new body is developing or after it actually leads the people,” Etzion stated, “but the clear fact is that the Mount will be purified [from Islamic shrines] with certainty…”

Upon his release from prison, Etzion founded the Chai Vekayam (Alive and Existing) movement, a group that Al Jazeera’s Mersiha Gadzo described as aimed at “shaping public opinion as a prerequisite for building a Third Temple in the religious complex in Jerusalem’s Old City where Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are located.” Gadzo also notes that “according to messianic belief, building the Third Temple at the Al Aqsa compound — where the First and Second Temples stood some 2,000 years ago — would usher the coming of the Messiah.”

Six years later, another group called the Temple Mount Faithful, which is dedicated to building the Third Temple, provoked what became known as the Al-Aqsa massacre in 1990 after its members attempted to place a cornerstone for the Third Temple on the Temple Mount / Haram El-Sharif, leading to riots that saw Israeli police shoot and kill over 20 Palestinians and wound an estimated 150 more.

Al-Aqsa 1996 massacre

Blood-stained footmarks mark the entrance to Al Aqsa Mosque after Israeli police opened fire on Palestinian worshipers in 1996. Khaled Zighari | AP

This was followed by the riots in 1996 after Israel opened up a series of tunnels that had been dug under Al-Aqsa mosque that many Palestinians worried would be used to damage or destroy the mosque. Those concerns may have been well-founded, given the involvement of then- and current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Third Temple activist groups in creating the tunnels and in subsequent excavations near the holy site, which were and continue to be officially described as “archaeological” in nature. During the 1996 incident, 80 Palestinians and 14 Israeli police officers were killed.

Some Israeli archaeologists have argued that these tunnels have not been built for archaeological or scientific purposes and are highly unlikely to result in any new discoveries. One such Israeli archaeologist, Yoram Tseverir, told Middle East Monitor in 2014 that “the claims that these excavations aim at finding scientific information are marginal” and called the still-ongoing government-sponsored excavations under Al-Aqsa “wrong.” When those “archaeological” excavations at Al-Aqsa resulted in damage to the Western Wall near Al-Aqsa last year, a chorus of prominent Palestinians, including the spokesman for the Fatah Party, claimed that Israel’s government had devised a plan to destroy the mosque.

 

Since 2000, Al-Aqsa mosque has been the site of incidents that have resulted in new state crackdowns by Israel against Palestinians both within and well outside of Jerusalem. Indeed, the Second Intifada was largely provoked by the visit of the then-Likud candidate for prime minister, Ariel Sharon, who entered Al-Aqsa mosque under heavy guard. Then-spokesman for Likud, Ofir Akounis, was later quoted by CNN as saying that the reason for Sharon’s visit was “to show that under a Likud government it [the Temple Mount] will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

That single visit by Sharon led to five years of heightened tensions, more than three thousand dead Palestinians and an estimated thousand dead Israelis, as well as a massive and still continuing crackdown on Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud told MintPress that Sharon’s provocation in particular, and subsequent provocations, are often planned and used by Israeli politicians in order to justify crackdowns and restrictions on Palestinians. He argued:

[Some powerful Israeli politicians] use these regular provocations at Al Aqsa to create the kind of tensions that increase violence in the West Bank and to [then] carry out whatever policies they have in mind. They know exaclty how to provoke Palestinians and there is no other issue that is as sensitive and unifying in the Palestinian psyche as Al-Aqsa mosque.

Not only do we need to be aware of the fact that [provocations at] Al-Aqsa mosque are being used to implement archaic, destructive plans [i.e., destruction of Al-Aqsa and construction of a Third Temple] by certain elements that are now very much at the core of Israeli politics, but also the fact that this type of provocation is also used to implement broader policies pertaining to Palestinians elsewhere.”

 

Drums beating loud

While there have long been efforts to destroy the historic Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, recent weeks have seen a disturbing and dramatic uptick in incidents that suggest that the influential groups in Israel that have long pushed for the mosque’ s destruction may soon get their way. This reflects what Ramzy Baroud described to MintPress as how support for the construction of the Third Temple where Al-Aqsa currently sits is now “greater than at any time in the past” within Israeli society.

Earlier this month on June 2, a religious adviser to the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Al-Habbash, took to social media to warn of an “Israeli plot against the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” adding that “If the Muslims don’t act now [to save the site]… the entire world will pay dearly.”

Al-Habbash’s statement was likely influenced by a disturbing event that occurred that same day at the revered compound when Israeli police provided cover for extremist Israeli settlers who illegally entered the compound during the final days of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Israeli police used pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse Palestinian worshippers who had gathered at the mosque during one of Islam’s most important holidays while allowing over a thousand Israeli Jews to enter the compound. Forty-five Palestinians were wounded and several were arrested.

Though such provocative visits by Jewish Israelis to Al-Aqsa have occurred with increasing frequency in recent years, this event was different because it up-ended a long-standing agreement between Jordan’s government, which manages the site, and Israel that no such visits take place during important Islamic holidays. As a consequence, Jordan accused Israel’s government of “flagrant violations” of that agreement by allowing visits from religious nationalists, which Jordan described as “provocative intrusions by extremists.”

Less than a week after the incident, Israel’s Culture and Sports Minister, Miri Regev, a member of the Netanyahu-led Likud Party, called for more settler extremists to storm the compound, stating: “We should do everything to keep ascending to the Temple Mount … And hopefully, soon we will pray in the Temple Mount, our sacred place.” In addition, Regev also thanked Israel’s Interior Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, and Jerusalem’s police chief for guarding the settler extremists who had entered the compound.

In 2013, then-member of the Likud Party Moshe Feiglin told the Knesset that allowing Jewish Israelis to enter the compound is “not about prayer.” “Arabs don’t mind that Jews pray to God. Why should they care? We all believe in God,” Feiglin — who now heads the Zehut, or Identity, Party — stated, adding, “The struggle is about sovereignty. That’s the true story here. The story is about one thing only: sovereignty.”

In other words, Likud and its ideological allies view granting Jewish Israelis entrance to “pray” at the site of the mosque as a strategy aimed at reducing Palestinian-Jordanian control over the site. Feiglin’s past comments give credibility to Rabbi Weiss’ claim, referenced earlier on in this report, that the religious underpinnings and religious appeals of the Temple Activists are secondary to the settler-colonial (i.e., Zionist) aspect of the movement, which seeks to remove Palestinian and Muslim heritage from the Temple Mount as part of the ongoing Zionist project.

Feiglin, earlier this year in April, called for the immediate construction of the Third Temple, telling a Tel Aviv conference, “I don’t want to build a [Third] Temple in one or two years, I want to build it now.” The Times of Israel, reporting on Feiglin’s comments, noted that the Israeli politician is “enjoying growing popularity.”

Earlier this month, and not long after Miri Regev’s controversial comments, an event attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Leon, used a banner that depicted the Jerusalem skyline with the Dome of the Rock noticeably absent. Though some may write off such creative photo editing as a fluke, it is but the latest in a series of similar incidents where official events or materials have edited out the iconic building and, in some cases, have replaced it with a reconstructed Jewish temple.

al-Aqsa third temple

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman poses with a picture of the ‘Third Temple,’ May 22, 2018. Israel Cohen | Kikar Hashabat

The day before that event, Israeli police had arrested three members of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound’s Reconstruction Committee, which is overseen by the government of Jordan. Those arrested included the committee’s head and its deputy head, and the three men were arrested while performing minor restoration work in an Al-Aqsa courtyard. The Jordan-run authority condemned the arrests, for which no official reason was given, and called the move by Israeli police “an intervention in their [the men’s] reconstruction work.” According to Palestinian news agency Safa, Israeli police have also prevented the entry of tools necessary for restoration work to the site and have restricted members of the authority from performing critical maintenance work.

In addition, another important figure at Al-Aqsa, Hanadi Al-Halawani, who teaches at the mosque school and has long watched over the site to prevent its occupation by Israeli forces, was arrested late last month.

Arrests of other key Al-Aqsa personnel have continued in recent days, such as the arrest of seven Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, including guards of the mosque, and their subsequent ban from entering the site. The Palestinians were arrested at their homes last Sunday night in early morning raids and the official reason for their arrest remains unclear. So many arrests in such a short period have raised concerns that, should the spate of arrests of important Al-Aqsa personnel continue, future incidents at the site, such as the mysterious firethat broke out last April at Al-Aqsa while France’s Notre Dame was also ablaze, may not be handled as effectively owing to staff shortages.

Soon after those arrests, 60 members of a settler extremist group entered the al-Aqsa compound under heavy guard from Israeli police. Safa news agency reported that these settlers have recently been accompanied by Israeli intelligence officials in their incursions at the site.

All of these recent provocations and arrests in connection with the mosque come soon after the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, publicly stated in late March that he had recently come under great pressure to relinquish Jordan’s custodianship of the mosque and the contested holy site upon which it is built. Abdullah II vowed to continue custodianship over Christian and Muslim sites in Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa, and declined to say who was pressuring him over the site. However, his comments about this pressure to cede control over the mosque came just days after he had visited the U.S. and met with American Vice President Mike Pence, a Christian Zionist who believes that a Jewish Temple must replace Al-Aqsa to fulfill an end times prophecy.

In May, an Israeli government-linked research institute, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, wrote that Abdullah II had nearly been toppled in mid-April, just weeks after publicly discussing external pressure to relinquish control over Al-Aqsa. The report stated that Abdullah II had been a target of a “plot undermining his rule,” which led him to replace several senior members of his government. That report further claimed that the plot had been aimed at removing obstacles to the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century,” which is supported by Israel’s government.

Last year, some Israeli politicians sought to push for a transfer of the site’s custodianship to Saudi Arabia, sparking concern that this could be connected to plans by some Third Temple activists to remove Al-Aqsa from Jerusalem and transfer it piece-by-piece to the Saudi city of Mecca. On Thursday, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published an article asserting that “tectonic shifts” were taking place in relation to who controls Al-Aqsa, with a Saudi-funded political group making dramatic inroads that could soon alter which country controls the historic mosque compound.

Sayyed Hassan Al-Qazwini told MintPress that, in his view, the current custodianship involving Jordan’s government is not ideal, as control over the Al-Aqsa mosque “should in the hands of its people, [and] Al-Aqsa mosque belongs Palestine;” if not, at the very least, a committee of Muslim majority nations should be formed to govern the holy site because of its importance. As for Saudi Arabia potentially receiving control over the site, Al-Qazwini told MintPress that “the Saudis are not qualified as they are not even capable of running the holy sites in Saudi Arabia itself. Every year, there has been a tragedy and many pilgrims have died during hajj time [annual Islamic pilgrimage].”

 

Once fringe, now approaching consensus

The threat to Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock compound, the third holiest site in Islam and of key importance to three major world religions, is the result of the dramatic growth of what was once a fringe movement of extremists. After the Six Day War, these fringe elements have fought to become more mainstream within Israel and have sought to gain international support for their religious-colonialist vision, particularly in the United States. As this article has shown, the threats to Al-Aqsa have grown significantly in the past decades, spiking in just the past few weeks.

As former Jewish Underground member Yehuda Etzion had called for decades ago, an educational and social movement aimed at gaining influence with Israeli government leadership has been hugely successful in its goal of engineering consent for a Third Temple among many religious and secular Israelis. So successful has this movement been that numerous powerful and influential Israeli politicians, particularly since the 1990s, have not only openly promoted these beliefs, and the destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, but have also diverted significant amounts of government funding to organizations dedicated to replacing the historic mosque with a new temple.

As the second and final installment of this series will show, this movement has gained powerful allies, not just in Israel’s government, but among many evangelical Christians in the United States, including top figures in the Trump administration who also feel that the destruction of Al-Aqsa and the reconstruction of a Jewish Temple are prerequisites for the fulfillment of prophecy, albeit a different one. Furthermore, given the influence of such movements on the Israeli and U.S. governments, these beliefs of active Messianism are also informing key policies of these same governments and, in doing so, are pushing the world towards a dangerous war.

Feature photo | Israeli police stand next to the Dome of the Rock mosque at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 27, 2017. Mahmoud Illean | AP

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism

What if al-Aqsa Mosque caught fire?

It is doubtful in today’s US-dominated world that anyone would rally to its cause, as they did for Notre Dame
Palestinians gather at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in June 2018 (AFP)

On 15 April, a devastating fire broke out at France’s famous Notre Dame Cathedral.

In the course of the conflagration, the church’s distinctive 93-metre medieval spire and two thirds of its roof were destroyed. Had it not been for the tireless efforts of French firefighters, who fought day and night to extinguish the blaze, the damage would have been far more extensive.

For days, the story was front-page news in Western countries, and media outlets were saturated with expert analyses of the cathedral’s history, architecture and significance.

Symbol of national identity

There is no doubt that Notre Dame, dating from 1163, is a Gothic masterpiece and a Parisian landmark. It is a symbol of France and of Roman Catholicism, even though France is an officially secular state that prides itself on what it calls laicité. Church and state were formally separated in 1905.

But that did not stop crowds of people from singing hymns in a vigil near the stricken cathedral and marching in its honour. Paris’s deputy mayor of tourism and sports joined others in creating a human chain to save the ancient relics held inside the cathedral.

For Palestinians, al-Aqsa is their very own possession – a symbol of Arab historical continuity in a city claimed by non-Arabs

Notre Dame is today not just a religious monument, but a symbol of French national identity. For that reason, the French president quickly took on the responsibility of rebuilding the cathedral, and French billionaires and businesses have already pledged more than €700 million ($787m) towards that goal.

In recognition of that nationalist bond, many western states, from Australia to Europe, hastened to send their condolences to President Emmanuel Macron. Japan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan did the same.

In the United States, the One World Trade Centre and the Empire State Building were lit up in the tricolour of the French flag, and the governor of New York pledged his city’s solidarity with the people of France.

Sacred character

What if a similar fate overtook al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem? This building is older than Notre Dame, built by the Umayyad caliphs in the eighth century, and has a long, rich history. The mosque was hit by earthquakes in 746 and 1033 and rebuilt each time; taken over by crusaders in 1099 and reclaimed by Saladin in 1187; then remained under Muslim rule until the war of 1967, when it came under Israel’s control.

Muslims everywhere revere this mosque. It is the third holiest place after the mosques of Mecca and Medina. Many associations bind al-Aqsa to Muslim religious sentiment.

Palestinians pray at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in May 2018 (AFP)
Palestinians pray at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in May 2018 (AFP)

Interpreted as the place referenced in the Isra verse in the Quran, al-Aqsa has taken on a sacred character, and is traditionally associated with the Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous night journey to Jerusalem. Its spiritual significance for Muslims is hard to overstate. Jerusalem was Islam’s first qibla, or direction of prayer, and it has been an important place of pilgrimage ever since.

For Palestinians, al-Aqsa is their very own possession – a symbol of Arab historical continuity in a city claimed by non-Arabs, and an affirmation of Arab identity in an anti-Arab environment. Though it stands beside what is claimed to be the site of the now-vanished Jewish Second Temple, it is the only concrete historical building in that place.

No assaults by religious Jewish groups claiming rights to the mosque can alter this reality, nor have Israel’s constant excavations to detect a trace of Jewish history at the site since 1967 produced that evidence.

The case of the 1969 fire

What if this unique building, so meaningful for the 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, succumbed to fire, or collapsed after Israel’s archaeological digs weakened its ancient foundations?

Would the Arab and Islamic world rise up as one? Would Israel, the de facto custodian of Jerusalem’s holy places, be made accountable? Would world leaders rush to rebuild the mosque or to help the Palestinian people?

The struggle for al-Aqsa: Palestinians have ‘no one but God to help them’

Read More »

We have a preliminary answer in the case of the fire that burned Saladin’s minbar inside al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Denis Michael Rohan, an evangelical Christian Australian, started a fire in the mosque to try to destroy it, aiming to clear the way for the Jewish Temple to be rebuilt in its place, thus hastening Christ’s second coming. The incident led to the establishment of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Jordan’s representative to the UN presented letters of protest over the fire at al-Aqsa. These came from just 17 states, and a further 58 letters came from NGOs, Muslim religious bodies, other Muslim groups and Muslim individuals around the world. They called on the UN to intervene to protect the holy site from Israel’s occupation.

An orphan without allies

The Western response to the fire at al-Aqsa was muted. None displayed solidarity with Palestinians or Muslims, and no effective action was taken by the UN.

In the 50 years since the fire at al-Aqsa, Israel has only increased its hold on Jerusalem’s holy places. In 2017, it illegally installed turnstiles and metal detectors at the entrances to al-Haram al-Sharif, although they were subsequently removed. Religious settlers are now regularly allowed to march through al-Aqsa compound, threaten Muslim worshippers, and perform Jewish religious ceremonies.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is no less a religious and nationalist symbol for Arabs and Muslims than Notre Dame is for the French

Al-Aqsa Mosque is no less a religious and nationalist symbol for Arabs and Muslims than Notre Dame is for the French. But if it burned down, it is doubtful in today’s US-dominated world – and given Arab and Islamic weakness – that anyone would rally to its cause. Only the Palestinians who live there would go on fighting to defend it.

Like them, this wonderful Islamic icon is an orphan in a world without allies.

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

Ghada Karmi
Ghada Karmi is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter. She was born in Jerusalem and was forced to leave her home with her family as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948. The family moved to England in 1949, where she grew up and was educated. Karmi practised as a doctor for many years working as a specialist in the health of migrants and refugees. From 1999 to 2001 Karmi was an Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation. In 2009, she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Are tensions at al-Aqsa reaching another boiling point?

Ben White is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy’. He is a writer for Middle East Monitor, and his articles have been published by Al Jazeera, al-Araby, Huffington Post, The Electronic Intifada, The Guardian’s Comment is free, and more.
A new conflict has emerged amid intensifying efforts by Israeli authorities and settlers to change the status quo at the holy site

Israeli police detain a Palestinian demonstrator at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on 18 February (AFP)

Below the Western media’s radar, tensions have been escalating in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem.

In the last week, a new confrontation has emerged over al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the context of intensifying efforts by Israeli authorities and settlers to change the status quo and take over Palestinian properties in and around the Old City.

The Jordanian government recently decided to expand the composition of the Waqf – the body charged with managing al-Aqsa Mosque compound – to include a number of high-ranking Palestinians, alongside the long-standing Jordanian members.

Gates shuttered

The move came in response to what International Crisis Group’s Ofer Zalzberg described to Haaretz as “the erosion of the status quo” at the site, including the tolerance by Israeli occupation forces of “quiet worship” by Jews in the compound – “a relatively new development”, the paper noted.

Last Thursday, the newly expanded council inspected, and prayed at, a building located at the Gate of Mercy (Bab al-Rahma), shuttered by Israeli occupation authorities since 2003. At the time, the closure was justified on the grounds of alleged political activities and links to Hamas – but the building has remained closed ever since.

What is taking place in Jerusalem is ‘an organised and systematic campaign of settlers, with the assistance of government agencies, to expel entire communities in East Jerusalem’

Overnight on Sunday, Israeli forces put new locks on metal gates that lead to the building. When Palestinian worshippers attempted to open the gates, clashes broke out, and a number of Palestinians were arrested by Israeli police.

Tuesday night saw renewed confrontations and arrests, while an Israeli court on Wednesday banned a dozen or so Palestinians from entering the compound. Both the Palestine Liberation Organisation and Hamas have condemned the developments, and warned of the “volatility” of the situation.

New facts on the ground

Events in the compound cannot be viewed in isolation from the bigger picture in Jerusalem, and in particular, what Israeli NGO Ir Amim has called an “accelerated, intensifying chain of new facts on the ground”, including “a mounting number of state-sponsored settlement campaigns inside Palestinian neighbourhoods”.

One expression of such campaigns is the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes so that settlers can take possession of the properties. Last Sunday, the Abu Assab family was expelled from their home in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, a fate facing hundreds more Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem.

What is taking place in Jerusalem is “an organised and systematic campaign of settlers, with the assistance of government agencies, to expel entire communities in East Jerusalem and to establish settlements in their stead”, in the words of an Israeli settlements’ monitor.

A Muslim man checks a gate closed by Israeli police at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on 18 February (AFP)
A Muslim man checks a gate closed by Israeli police at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on 18 February (AFP)

“It is very clear what they want: a Jewish majority here and in East Jerusalem,” Silwan-based activist Jawad Siyam told the Independent recently. His community is blighted by the presence of the settler-run “City of David” compound, which is set to receive a further boost from Israeli occupation authorities in the form of a planned cable-car station.

Jerusalem has largely been out of the headlines for awhile, with most attention – understandably – being paid to the Great March of Return protests in the Gaza Strip and the bogged-down efforts to secure relief from the blockade. Israeli elections are also on the horizon, and speculation continues over what precisely the Trump administration has got in store by way of a “peace plan”.

In the background, however, accelerated Israeli colonial policies in occupied East Jerusalem could be leading to a new boiling point.

Grassroots activism

The Waqf has stated that it seeks the opening of the Bab al-Rahma site, a demand that has the potential to become a focus for the kinds of mass protests witnessed in the summer of 2017. Then, metal detectors introduced by Israeli occupation authorities outside al-Aqsa Mosque compound sparked spontaneous demonstrations, with the devices ultimately removed.

Whether or not the Waqf chooses such a path, it could also find its hand forced by the pressure of grassroots activism; there is considerable concern among Palestinians that the Israeli government – along with the so-called “Temple movement” activists – are ultimately working towards a spatial division of, and establishment of formalised Jewish prayers within, al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

How Israel is ‘cleansing’ Palestinians from Greater Jerusalem

Meanwhile, the United States is proceeding with the closure of its consulate in East Jerusalem, and relocation of Palestinian “affairs” to an office within the new embassy – a potent symbol, were one needed, that the Trump administration’s vision will be a stark departure from even the pretence of a “two-state solution”, and a rubber-stamp for Israel’s de-facto, single state.

This week’s events – however they develop – are a reminder, however, that while Israel and the US see Jerusalem as fair game for an accelerated process of colonisation and deepening imposition of Israeli sovereignty, the city’s Palestinian residents are experienced spoilers of Israeli designs, and may well soon reprise such a role.

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

(Video): Mecca or Las Vegas? Why Saudis destroyed Islam’s holiest sites – English Subtitles

The destruction of sites associated with early Islam is an ongoing phenomenon that has occurred mainly in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, particularly around the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The demolition has focused on mosques, burial sites, homes and historical locations associated with the Islamic prophet Muhammad and many of the founding personalities of early Islamic history. In Saudi Arabia, many of the demolitions have officially been part of the continued expansion of the Masjid al-Haram at Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and their auxiliary service facilities in order to accommodate the ever-increasing number of people performing the pilgrimage.

Concerns are growing among Muslims as Saudi authorities plan to destroy the birthplace of Prophet Mohammad in the holy city of Mecca. Reports say under the plan, the historic site will be destroyed and replaced with a royal palace for King Abdullah for his visits to Mecca. The work is part of a multibillion-dollar construction project in the holy city which has already resulted in the destruction of hundreds of historic monuments. Saudi Officials claim that the plan aims to expand al-Masjid al-Haram, or the Grand Mosque to host more pilgrims. Riyadh is under fire for mass destruction of historic buildings in Mecca. Some reports say up to 95 percent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been destroyed to be replaced with luxury hotels and shopping malls.

 

(Video): How British Empire & America gave rise to Kings of Saudi Arabia – English subtitles

Description:

Senior Arab political analyst and writer Anees Naqqash recounts how the British Empire played a decisive role in the creation and regional rise of the modern state of Saudi Arabia, and how the Americans later provided protection in exchange for control over Saudi oil.

According to Naqqash, who is a prominent feature on Lebanese and Arab media, the Saudi royal family has for decades been used by the British and Americans due to their political and economic expediency.

Naqqash was speaking at an event promoting his new book ‘A look at the course of future transformations to the Gulf’.

Source: Al-Wafa’a Islamic Party (YouTube)

Date: 6 October, 2018

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تهويد المقامات: «حرب الخرافة» مستمرّة

تهويد المقامات: «حرب الخرافة» مستمرّة

امتدّ الاستغلال السياسي لـ«التوراة» ليطاول نحو 23 مقاماً في الضفة

ريم رضا

تحت ستار توراتي مزيّف، يحاول العدو الإسرائيلي، ولا سيما مستوطنوه في الضفة المحتلة، اختراع رابط بينهم وبين الأرض التي يحتلّونها بقوة السلاح. هم لم يكتفوا بالعمل على قدم وساقٍ لـ«تهويد» القدس المحتلة، بل امتدّ الاستغلال السياسي لـ«التوراة» ليطاول نحو 23 مقاماً في الضفة يقتحمها المستوطنون بصورة متكررة، على رغم أن مقامات كثيرة منها أتت بعد قرون على التوراة.

يعود تاريخ المقامات الدينية والتاريخية في فلسطين إلى حقب تاريخية متعددة إبّان فترات الحكم الإسلامي المتعاقبة، لكن العهدين المملوكي والفاطمي شهدا الانتشار الأوسع لها. ومن جهة أخرى، لا بدّ من التفريق بين المقام والضريح العادي، فالثاني هو القبر المتعارف عليه، بينما المقام غرفة أو أكثر وقد يضمّ ضريحاً داخله أو يُبنى من دون قبر، تبرّكاً أو علامة على مرور الشخص من المكان أو تكريماً له. وعامة، تُنسَب المقامات في الضفة المحتلة خاصة، وفلسطين عامة، إلى أنبياء أو علماء أو أولياء صالحين، فيما تكون مقامات الأنبياء والصحابة أقدم عمراً من البقية الأقلّ شهرة، طبقاً للموروث الديني والتاريخي، وأحياناً الشعبي.

تتوزع هذه المقامات على امتداد الضفة، وقسمٌ منها بات تحت سيطرة العدو منذ احتلاله القدس والضفة عام 1967، مثل: مغارة «مشهد إبراهيم» الواقعة داخل الحرم الإبراهيمي في مدينة الخليل (جنوب)، وتسمّى بالعبرية «المكفيلا»، وقد انتزعها العدو من الفلسطينيين وأجرى تعديلات عليها، كما أقام مستوطنات في محيطها؛ أبرزها «كريات أربع» بعدما سيطر على الحرم كلياً. وتكرر الأمر نفسه في بلدة كفل حارس، شمالي سلفيت، مع فارق أن مقامَي النبي ذي الكفل ويوشع بن نون يلاصقان بيوت الفلسطينيين.

القسم الآخر من المقامات فقده الفلسطينيون بفعل سرقة الأراضي لإنشاء المستوطنات وتوسعتها أو لبناء جدار الفصل العنصري، وقد تكون هذه الطريقة في السيطرة على المقام مدموجة مع أساليب أخرى. فهناك مقاماتٌ سيطر العدو عليها منذ 1967 وشيّد المستوطنات قربها، ثمّ قطّع الجدار أوصال أراضي الفلسطينيين حولها. وعلى أي حال، يمكن رصد السعي الإسرائيلي للسيادة على المقامات مبكراً، إذ تزداد وتيرة اقتحامات المستوطنين لها بالتوازي مع نشاط ملحوظ لحملات التنقيب عن الآثار التي يقودها «علماء» إسرائيليون.

 

«أوسلو» أسّس للسرقة

وجد العدو في اتفاق أوسلو 1993 وملحقاته في العامين التاليين فرصة سانحة ليشرعن سيطرته على مقامات محددة أَوْلاها اهتماماً خاصاً، فمثلاً قبة مسجد بلال بن رباح، المسماة «قبة راحيل» إسرائيلياً، الواقعة على المدخل الشمالي لمدينة بيت لحم (جنوب) مصنّفة وفق «أوسلو 2» في 1995 كمنطقة «ج» إسرائيلية، بعدما سُلخ المكان عن بيت لحم المصنفة «أ» تحت سيطرة السلطة الفلسطينية. وبعد ذلك، تحوّلت القبة من «مكانٍ مقدس للديانات الثلاث» وفق «أوسلو» إلى معسكرٍ استيطاني رئيسي يفصل بيت لحم عن القدس والخليل. أما قبر يوسف وتل بلاطة، الواقعان في المنطقة الشرقية من مدينة نابلس (شمال) المصنفة «أ» أيضاً، فاستُثنيا وحدهما كمكانَين «يهوديَّين مقدّسين» من سيطرة السلطة!

رافق مختصّون جيش العدو في جولات مفاجئة على مقامات جديدة

بالانتقال إلى قرية عورتا الى الجنوب الشرقي من نابلس، منح اتفاق التسوية المقامات فيها وضعاً خاصاً، إذ صنّفها ضمن منطقة «ج» بخلاف بقية أراضي القرية المصنّفة «ب»، والأخيرة تتبع للسلطة (إدارياً) والعدو الإسرائيلي (أمنياً) معاً. أما المقامات داخل المدن الرئيسة الكبيرة الخاضعة للسلطة، ولم يتمكن العدو من فرض واقع خاص بها، فتنال الحصة الأكبر من الاقتحامات المتكررة (نابلس، بيت لحم، الخليل)، ويصار إلى تهويدها عبر استباحتها، لربطها بالتراث اليهودي تمهيداً لتحويلها إلى جزء من «التاريخ» المزعوم، أو للسيطرة الأمنية عليها كحد أدنى.

مهما يكن وضع هذه المقامات، وطريقة الوصول/ السيطرة عليها، يوليها العدو أهمية بالغة لما تحمله من أبعاد سياسية ودينية وتاريخية، ويتجلّى ذلك في الدعم الحكومي والأمني؛ فالجيش وأجهزة الأمن تسهّل اقتحامات المستوطنين، وتؤمّن لهم الحماية، فيما تقضي الأوامر العسكرية بمصادرة أراضي الفلسطينيين التي تجاور بعض المقامات، أو منع أصحابها من الوجود فيها.

تقول مصادر متابعة لهذا الملف، لـ«الأخبار»، إن مختصين في الآثار وأعمال التنقيب رافقوا جيش العدو خلال السنوات الخمس الماضية في جولات مفاجئة على مقامات وقبور جديدة لاستكشافها في الضفة، وتخلّل هذه الجولات تصوير للأماكن من دون أن يتغير الوضع على الأرض حتى اللحظة، لكن «الخشية لا تزال موجودة من وضع اليد بالقوة عليها استناداً إلى مزاعم توراتية». وتتعدد مواقيت اقتحامات المستوطنين للمقامات، فمنها ما يكون خلال الأعياد العبرية، أو ذكرى وفاة صاحب المقام، أو وفق تاريخ ثابت، كما يُختار يوم عشوائي أحياناً.

غياب الصدقية العلمية

يمكن من جانبٍ فهم هذا التهويد للمقامات ضمن سياق الاحتلال الإسرائيلي لفلسطين، لكن العدو يجد مشكلة في توثيق هذا التهويد، ولذلك يسعى إلى سدّ الهوة الكبيرة بين علم الآثار و«إسرائيل التوراتية». فحملات التنقيب الإسرائيلية وحتى الغربية منذ التسعينيات لم تنجح في ذلك، بل كلما كانت المعلومات الأركيولوجية تتراكم، يتبيّن للمؤرخين والمختصين أن ملاءمة الواقع الفلسطيني مع الصورة القديمة لتاريخ إسرائيل أمر بالغ الصعوبة.

وبرصد محاولات لصق الروايات التوراتية بمقامات الضفة، يتبين أنها روايات تفتقد الدلائل التاريخية الموثقة أو حتى المادية، ومنها مثلاً حقيقة أن العمران الإسلامي الذي يجمع ما بين هذه المقامات لا يزال ماثلاً حتى اليوم، ويمكن بسهولة رصده في مجمل فلسطين. وإذا كانت النقوش الإسلامية داخلها دليلاً على نحو ما، فإن جزءاً منها شُيّدت القبور فيها بشكل يدل على إسلاميتها بوضوح.

وما يعزّز ضعف حجج العدو وحاخاماته، وجودُ خلط ولبس في أماكن عدد من القبور داخل المقامات، فمقام يوشع بن نون مثلاً يتخذه المستوطنون مبرراً لاقتحام بلدة كفل حارس شمالي سلفيت (وسط الضفة)، رغم أن الرواية الأولى لمكان وجود القبر كانت في طبريا المحتلة، فيما توجد رواية قديمة أيضاً تقول إنه في قرية عورتا (جنوبي شرقي نابلس)، بجانب روايتين مختلفتين عن وجوده قرب السلط الأردنية وبغداد العراقية. التضارب نفسه ينسحب على مسجد النبي يونس في بلدة حلحول (شمالي الخليل)، إذ يقتحمه مستوطنون بذريعة وجود قبر النبي فيه، رغم أن القبر منسوبٌ إلى مكانين آخرين هما: الموصل العراقية، وبين إدلب وحلب السوريتين، فضلاً عن مقام للنبي نفسه في جنوب لبنان، لكنه لا يضمّ ضريحاً.

لماذا ضعف التصدي؟

لماذا ضعف التصدي؟

من اقتحامات المستوطنين لقبر ذي الكفل في بلدة كفل حارس

ريم رضا

رغم وقوع معظم المقامات الدينية في قلب التجمعات والأحياء السكنية الفلسطينية، إلا أن معظمها يشهد حالياً ضعفاً في مقاومة اقتحامات المستوطنين أو محاولة التصدي لهم، مثل مقامات قرية عورتا، وبلدة حلحول، وبلدة كفل حارس وغيرها، بعكس مقامات أخرى تشكّل نماذج للمقاومة الجماهيرية؛ أبرزها قبر يوسف شرقي نابلس.

من أبرز العوامل التي تحول دون مقاومة فعّالة هناك، كما يرى مراقبون، تغير نظرة المجتمع الفلسطيني إلى هذه المقامات، فالنظرة السائدة في الماضي جنحت نحو «التصوف» و«تقديس الأولياء الصالحين»، ولذلك كانت هذه المقامات والقبور تحظى باهتمام مجتمعي ويتقرب إليها الناس ضمن حشود ويتبرّكون بها. مع اضمحلال هذه العادة في نهاية السبعينيات، غدت المقامات مهمَلةً رسمياً وشعبياً ودينياً، وهي الآن مجرد شواهد من الماضي وأرقام وأسماء تُسرد عند المختصين والباحثين في التاريخ.

من جهة أخرى، يكثف المستوطنون اقتحاماتهم لمقامات بعينها، على عكس أخرى، فمثلاً مقام النبي يونس في حلحول يتميز بوقوعه داخل منطقة ذات كثافة سكانية فلسطينية، كما أنه موجود داخل مسجد بُني بطوابق فوق المقام، ولهذا لا يقتحمه المستوطنون على نحو متكرر وكثيف. كذلك، توجد عوامل فلسطينية أخرى تتصل بالمشهد العام، مثل تأخير أولويات معينة أمام المعيشة وأعباء الحياة.

وعلى الصعيد الرسمي، تتحمل السلطة مسؤولية كبيرة بحكم وجود وزارة الأوقاف التي تختصّ بالمعالم الدينية، لكن دورها في ملف المقامات يتصل بسياستها العامة، فهي تعامل المقامات تماماً كما تعامل بقية الأراضي، وتلتزم اتفاق أوسلو، رغم إعلانها مراراً أنها «لن تلتزم به ما لم تلتزم إسرائيل». وثمة استثناء وحيد هو قبر يوسف شرقي نابلس (شمال الضفة)، حيث تسيّر السلطة دوريات من جهاز «الأمن الوطني» في محيط المقام للحيلولة دون اقتحام مستوطنين له. أما في حالة وجود تنسيق أمني، فتنسحب السلطة، ويدخل جيش العدو لتأمين اقتحام المستوطنين في موعد تُعلنه إسرائيل مسبقاً وحتى إعلامياً.

«قبر يوسف»: حيث «التنسيق الأمني»… والمقاومة!

«قبر يوسف»: حيث «التنسيق الأمني»... والمقاومة!

تشكل منطقة «قبر يوسف» حالة مقاومة جماهيرية فعّالة في ملف المقامات

ريم رضا

تقول الرواية الفلسطينية إن مقام قبر يوسف، شرق نابلس (شمال الضفة)، هو ضريح إسلامي يحوي قبر يوسف دويكات، وهو «ولي صالح وشيخ من قرية بلاطة البلد»، فيما يدعي المستوطنون ضمن حملة تهويد المقامات المستمرة أنه «مكان يهودي مقدس يضم رفات النبي يوسف بن يعقوب بعد نقل عظامه من مصر». يعود تاريخ هذا الادعاء إلى عام 1967، حينما وصل الضابط سابقاً والبروفسور حالياً زئيف تساحور، على رأس دورية لجيش العدو، إلى المقام، برفقة الحاخام اللواء سلومو غورين، فوجدوا شيخاً فلسطينياً يخدم المكان فطردوه فوراً، ثم استدعى الحاخام عبر اللاسلكي جرّافة عسكرية شرعت في تنظيف المقام ومحيطه وهدمت بعض المباني القريبة من المنطقة.

يذكر تساحور في مقالة نشرتها صحيفة «يديعوت أحرونوت» العبرية عام 2012 أن حال مقام يوسف انقلبت، وفوجئ بها عندما عاد إليه للمرة الثانية، إذ استبدل الإسرائيليون بالسجاد بلاطاً يلائم الشعائر التلمودية، واختفت نسخ القرآن لتحلّ مكانها الكتب العبرية، كما استبدل بالجدار الحجري أسلاكاً شائكة وسّعت حيّز المكان. أما الشيخ الفلسطيني فبقي يُلازم المكان بعد طرده إلى أن مات!

وتشكل منطقة «قبر يوسف»، من مخيم بلاطة وقريتَي بلاطة البلد وكفر قليل، حالة مقاومة جماهيرية فعّالة في ملف المقامات، ولعلّ هذا يعود إلى موقعه ورمزيته التي اكتسبها من سجل متميز في المقاومة. فمكان المقام يوفر فرص المقاومة نظراً إلى وجود كثافة سكّانية قريبة منه، ووقوعه بين قرى وثلاثة مخيمات وأحياء يقطنها مئات آلاف الفلسطينيين، إضافة إلى أنه أسهل نقطة اشتباك وتماس مع العدو ومستوطنيه في المنطقة الشرقية لنابلس، خصوصاً أن «حاجز حوارة» ساقط بالمعيار الأمني ولا مجال للكرّ والفرّ جماهيرياً خلال المواجهات فيه، بعكس المنطقة المحيطة بالمقام.

يختصّ هذا المقام برمزية جراء المواجهات المتكررة

أما رمزية المكان، فهي مستمدّة من مواقف شهدها المقام ومحيطه، ففي السادس والعشرين من أيلول/ سبتمبر 1996، خلال «هبة النفق»، هاجمت الجماهير عشرات من جنود جيش العدو كانوا في المقام تطبيقاً لاتفاق أوسلو، ما أدّى إلى استسلام 41 جندياً وطرد قوات الأمن الفلسطيني لهم من المكان. وفي بداية تشرين الأول/ أكتوبر 2000، بعد أسبوع فقط على انطلاقة «انتفاضة الأقصى»، وبالتزامن مع تزايد المجازر التي ارتكبها العدو والارتفاع الكبير في أعداد الشهداء، اندلعت أعنف الاشتباكات هناك، ويسمّيها الفلسطينيون «معركة قبر يوسف» أو «معركة تحرير قبر يوسف». آنذاك، هاجم مئات الشبان جنود العدو بالزجاجات الحارقة والحجارة، وتدخلت مجموعة من المقاومين المسلحين، وأطلقت النار لساعات على الجنود داخل القبر. وكانت غالبية المسلحين من «كتائب شهداء الأقصى» التابعة لحركة «فتح»، ثم استشهد معظمهم بعد سنوات خلال المطاردة، منهم: هاشم أبو حمدان، ياسر البدوي، عزام مزهر، حكم أبو عيشة، كايد أبو مصطفى الملقّب بـ«المكيري» من مخيم بلاطة، وغيرهم.
أسفر ذلك الاشتباك عن مقتل جندي إسرائيلي وإصابة آخرين، واستشهاد ستة فلسطينيين لكون منطقة القبر مكشوفة لنقاط المراقبة الدائمة، إذ ينتشر القناصة على قمم نابلس. أما بقية الجنود، فكانوا متحصنين داخل القبر المُسيّج بالأسلاك والأسوار، علماً أن العدو استعان بطائرة مروحية أطلقت الرصاص الثقيل على الشبان. وانتهى الاشتباك بفرار الجنود ورفع العلم الفلسطيني فوق قبة القبر وطلائها باللون الأخضر كرمز إلى إسلامية المنطقة، بعدما طلاها المستوطنون بالأبيض.

في تلك الأيام، انسحب الجنود من داخل القبر، ولم يتمركزوا فيه حتى انتهاء التوتر الأمني، ومنذ ذلك الحين يجري التنسيق الأمني لإدخال المستوطنين إلى المكان. ثم بين 2000 و2011 شهد المكان استقراراً بالنسبة إلى المستوطنين، لكن حدث ما لم يكن متوقعاً، وهو أن تهاجم دورية من الأمن الفلسطيني الإسرائيليين مجدداً. الحادثة باغتت الجميع صباح 24 نيسان/ أبريل 2011، عندما اقتحمت ثلاث مركبات للمستوطنين محيط المقام بلا تنسيق ومن دون مرافقة من جيش العدو. وصل المستوطنون لأداء شعائرهم التلمودية، وعند خروجهم، اشتبهت بهم دورية «الأمن الوطني» هناك، وطلبت منهم التوقف، لكنهم رفضوا، فأطلق أفراد الأمن النار نحو المركبات أثناء مغادرتها المكان ما أدّى إلى مقتل المستوطن يوسف بن لفنات، الذي كان ابن شقيقة وزير الشباب والرياضة في حكومة العدو آنذاك، وإصابة مستوطنين آخرين.

عقب الحادثة، اعتقلت السلطة أفراد دوريتها كافة، وحققت معهم لجان أميركية، كما حوكم عدد منهم أمام محكمة عسكرية فلسطينية، ثم اعتقل العدو ثلاثة منهم بعد انتهاء محكوميتهم وإفراج السلطة عنهم. أما الضابط المسؤول عن الدورية ومعه جندي آخر، فبقيا معتقلين في سجن الجنيد التابع للسلطة في نابلس. ومنذ مدة، سلّم العدو الأسير نواف بني عودة قراراً بدفع 100 مليون شيكل (100 دولار = 362 شيكل) لعائلة المستوطن القتيل، على رغم أن بني عودة سيُفرَج عنه في أيار/ مايو المقبل، لعدم ثبوت قتله المستوطن خلال الحادثة.

عقب حادثة 2011 اشتدت المواجهات في محيط قبر يوسف والشوارع المؤدية إليه حتى السنة الماضية، كما شهد 2016 استشهاد جمال محمد دويكات (20 عاماً) خلال تصدّيه مع عشرات الشبان لآليات جيش العدو هناك. وأخيراً صار العدو يستعين بجرافات عسكرية لفتح الشوارع عقب إغلاق الشبان لها، فيما يبدو أن المنطقة ستظلّ موقعاً للاشتباكات.

من ملف : تهويد المقامات: حرب الخرافة مستمرة

No connection between Judaism and Al-Aqsa, suggests UN resolution

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Muslims arrive at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound to perform the Friday prayer in Jerusalem on 26 October 2018 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | December 3, 2018

The UN General Assembly has apparently rejected any connection between Judaism and the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. In a vote held on Friday, the General Assembly passed six resolutions condemning Israeli violations against Palestinians. Among them was Resolution A/73/L.29 entitled “Jerusalem” which called for “respect for the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including the Haram Al-Sharif.”

The use of the Arabic name for the sanctuary has been interpreted as a not-so-subtle rejection of the site’s alleged connection with Judaism. The Jewish name for the Noble Sanctuary, the Temple Mount, is not mentioned anywhere in the UN document.

The resolution received 148 votes in favour and just 11 against. It also stressed that the UN General Assembly,

“Reiterates its determination that any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever, and calls upon Israel to immediately cease all such illegal and unilateral measures.”

The Assembly passed several other resolutions on the question of Israel-Palestine this weekend. One — A/73/L.29 The Syrian Golan — rejected Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, “demand[ing] once more that Israel withdraw from all the occupied Syrian Golan to the line of 4 June 1967 in implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.”

The resolution also declared that “the Israeli decision of 14 December 1981 to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void,” adding: “The continued [Israeli] occupation of the Syrian Golan and its de facto annexation constitute a stumbling block in the way of achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the region.”

The General Assembly resolutions were condemned vehemently in the Israeli media, with Breaking Israel News slamming them as evidence of the UN “[continuing] its streak of frequently condemning the Jewish state”. Other media cited NGO UN Watch — which is known for calling the UN anti-Israel or anti-Semitic – as saying that the “Jerusalem” resolution “implies that Israeli administration of Jerusalem hinders freedom of religion when in fact the opposite is true.” UN Watch also labelled the “Syrian Golan” resolution as being “oblivious to [the] genocidal massacres taking place now in Syria, and its security implications for Israel and the civilians of the Golan Heights.”

The resolutions, however, were hailed as a success by the Palestinian Authority, Wafa reported. “By voting in favour of the five resolutions,” said Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, “the international community affirms its support of our national cause, despite the efforts made by the US administration in international forums to resist this.”

In a rare move, following the General Assembly vote, the European Union publicly warned the Palestinians that they must drop their UN bid to use only Al-Haram Al-Sharif to refer to Jerusalem’s holiest site. In a statement, the EU “[stressed] the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions, and to respect religious and cultural sensitivities.” It added that the future choice of language “may affect the EU’s collective support for the resolutions.”

Commenting on the EU statement, the Jerusalem Post observed, “Until now, the EU has not taken a united stand on a drive by both the Arab states and the Palestinians to subtly change UN language with regard to the Temple Mount [Al-Haram Al-Sharif].” Its opposition or decision to abstain on any future resolutions of this nature “would mark a dramatic shift in its policy.”

148 Nations Disavow Jewish Ties To Jerusalem, Temple Mount

Source

The Jerusalem Post

A general view of Jerusalem's old city shows the Dome of the Rock in the compound known to Muslims a

The UN General Assembly in New York on Friday approved six anti-Israel resolutions including two that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

The primary resolution on Jerusalem, that passed 148-11 with 14 abstentions, also disavowed Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.  

Both that text and a second more global one on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which passed 156-8, with 12 abstentions, spoke of Judaism’s most holy site – The Temple Mount – solely by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.

The votes comes as Israel is working to shore up international support for its sovereignty in Jerusalem.

A third text, which was approved 99-10 with 66 abstentions, called on Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights.

The United States, Canada and Australia voted against all six resolutions, which are the first batch of some 20 resolutions that the UNGA annually passes against Israel.

“We live in a time of many crises, crises that are raging around the Middle East and around the world. It is a shame that rather than addressing these crises, the UN passes so many biased resolutions,” said Israeli Deputy Permanent Representative Noa Furman.

She said she was particularly concerned by the two resolutions that ignored Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount.
“This omission was deliberate. It shows yet another instance of the Palestinian refusal to recognize the proven historical connection between Judaism, Christianity, the Temple Mount and Jerusalem as a whole.

“The international community must stop participating in such a blatant denial of history. You must not permit these blatant attempts to delegitimize Israel,” Furman said.

The European Union, which supported both texts, warned it could stop doing so unless more include language was used to reference holy sites in Jerusalem.

Speaking on behalf of the EU, the Austrian representative said the EU stresses “the need for language on the holy sites of Jerusalem to reflect the importance and historical significance of the holy sites for the three monotheistic religions.”

It added, “future choice of language may affect the EU’s collective support for the resolutions.”

PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour thanked UN member states for their support of texts that reference a two-state resolution to the conflict based on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

This “global consensus, which all of us have worked for, is still the cornerstone of finding a just and lasting peace to the conflict.”
US representative Leslie Ordeman, who is deputy political coordinator, also spoke out against the texts.

“We are disappointed that despite messages of support for reform, member states continue to single out Israel with these resolutions.

“As the United States has repeatedly made clear, this dynamic is unacceptable. Again, we see resolutions that are quick to condemn all manner of Israeli actions, but say almost nothing about Palestinian terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. This is particularly acute now, when the rocket attacks on November 12 saw more projectiles fired on a single day than on any day since 2014.”

Both Israel and the US took issue in particular with the two resolutions passed Friday that continued to support the work of the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” and the “Division for Palestinian Rights.”

“The Palestinians are the only actor in the UN system with a dedicated division within the UN Secretariat. The message that it sends is that the Palestinians never need to come back to the negotiating table – they can rely on flawed and biased mechanisms, such as these, to push their agenda,” he said.

Mecca or Las Vegas? Why Saudis destroyed Islam’s holiest sites – English Subtitles

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Zionist Occupation Authorities to Tighten Control over Sanctities in Al-Quds

December 27, 2017

Al Quds

The Zionist occupation authorities plan to establish 16 police station in Al-Quds in order to tighten control over the Islamic and Christian sanctities in the holy city.

The Zionist plan includes also installing 40 surveillance cameras to be used by the occupation forces to monitor Bab Al-Amoud area in Al-Quds.

Source: Al-Manar Website

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Some Thoughts on the Latest Church Vandalism in Israel

Father Antonio Scudu, caretaker at the St. Stephen Church, west of Jerusalem, examines a portion of a shattered statue of the Virgin Mary. The vandalism of the church took place on September 19, 2017.

By Richard Edmondson

There still has been no arrest in the vandalism of St. Stephen’s Church, a Christian site near Jerusalem which vandals entered and desecrated on the night of September 19. I am, for that matter, not especially hopeful an arrest will be forthcoming. Israel has an extremely sorry history when it comes to investigating and prosecuting criminal cases of this sort. The record speaks for itself.

An article published by Haaretz on September 24 reports that over 50 Christian and Muslim religious sites have been vandalized since the year 2009. In that time only nine indictments have been filed, and only seven convictions have been handed down. That’s bad enough, but an article published Tuesday at Crux, a Catholic news site, suggests the record may be even worse than Haaretz is reporting. “There have been some 80 incidents of vandalism against churches and Christian sites in the Holy Land over the last decade. In most of the cases, no arrests or indictments have taken place,” that article states.

All I can tell you is that over the years since I’ve been blogging, which is about seven years now, I have reported on numerous attacks by vandals on religious sites in Israel, yet still the practice remains an acute problem.

My initial report on this month’s attack at St. Stephen’s was posted September 23. In that post I noted that the church is located on the grounds of a Catholic monastery, Beit Jamal, a Salesian monastery that lies near the city of Beit Shemesh. I also noted that this is the third time in four years that the site has been vandalized and commented, “Apparently the site is on somebody’s hit list.”

The previous attacks occurred in 2013, when a firebomb was thrown at the door and hateful graffiti scrawled on the walls, and in January of 2016, when the cemetery was vandalized. At the time, I put up a post on the 2016 cemetery attack, which you can access here. All this taken into consideration, it does seem as if the church might be on a hit list of some sort.

Whether this has anything to do with the fact that the locale is believed to have been the burial place of St. Stephen, I can’t say. But indeed, there is a longstanding tradition in church history that the saint’s remains were buried here. This of course is why the church is named after him, and perhaps for this reason, it is worth recounting a bit of St. Stephen’s story

Stephen, his speech before Jewish leaders and his death by stoning at their hands, are told of in the sixth and seventh chapters of the Book of Acts. Initially selected to help with daily distribution of food, Stephen was described as “a man full of God’s grace and power” who “did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people,” and he seems to have risen quickly to prominence among the disciples in Jerusalem. This of course in the months after Christ’s crucifixion.

Jews from one of the synagogues began to accuse Stephen in a manner very reminiscent of the charges brought against Jesus–and, like Jesus himself, Stephen ended up before the Jewish ruling council, or Sanhedrin. He was, among other things, accused of speaking “words of blasphemy against Moses and against God,” and he was also alleged to have invoked Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of the temple. It’s probably not too much of a stretch, then, to speculate he may even have told people that God didn’t live in the Jewish temple (as Jewish leaders claimed) and that it was not necessary for people to actually go there in order to worship God, that God can be worshiped anywhere. This would have reflected Jesus’ teaching in John 4:21-23, and if Stephen indeed spread such teachings, then it would have infuriated the Jewish leadership all the more, for the temple was an enormously lucrative enterprise for them.

Then the high priest asked him, “Are these charges true?”

This is the opening line in Acts chapter 7, and it is at this point that Stephen launches into his lengthy speech. Basically, it’s a speech recounting the narrative of the Old Testament. The Abrahamic covenant, the stories of Issac and Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, the bondage in Egypt, Moses and the Exodus–all of this is spoken of by Stephen. All of it makes up about ninety percent of his speech, and for the most part it doesn’t ruffle too many feathers, but then we get to the following passage–and it is at this point that all “heck” breaks loose. Here again, the speaker is Stephen:

You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him–you who have received the law that was put into effect but have not obeyed it.

Notice that Stephen chooses the same adjective–“stiff-necked”–used by Moses in describing the Israelites. He is in effect saying that the Abrahamic covenant is hereby abrogated. If you consistently disobey the law–most especially if you murder God’s son–what other conclusion than that can be drawn? The covenant is dead. Jews can no longer consider themselves God’s “chosen,” Stephen is basically saying. It’s a pivotal moment. It is literally earth shaking. And the reaction from the Sanhedrin is spontaneous and immediate:

When they heard this they were furious, and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him.

Thus Stephen became the first Christian martyr in recorded history. Interestingly, the text notes that one of those present, giving his approval to it all, was Saul–later Paul–who, somewhat astonishingly, ended up becoming an apostle of Christ himself.

Could this narrative in the New Testament have anything to do with why St. Stephen’s and the monastery have been attacked repeatedly?

The night of September 19/20, when the vandal(s) entered the church, was the eve of the Jewish New Year. “The monastery is open for visitors and generally has good relations with its Jewish neighbors,” the Crux article notes, “including the residents of an ultra-Orthodox town.” The “ultra-Orthodox town” being referred to here is Beit Shemesh, located nearby, a city of about 103,000 population.

Beit Shemesh is mentioned in the Book of Joshua as being among the towns allotted to the Levites, or priestly class. In the modern, post-1948 era it was settled by Jewish immigrants from Bulgaria, though by the late 1970s it had become a major center of the Likud Party. The “good relations” mentioned in the Crux article probably pertain to Neturei Karta, which has a small community living in Beit Shemesh, primarily in one neighborhood of the city. You can go hereto see video of a protest in which an NK member, holding a Palestinian flag, is attacked and chased by Israeli police. The date on the video is 2015. An earlier video, also shot in Beit Shemesh, shows a confrontation between police and a large group of Orthodox men demanding enforcement of segregation between the sexes. It is perhaps not terribly surprising that a Christian church and monastery located in proximity to such a city would come under attack.

The vandals destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary, a cross, and smashed stained glass windows depicting events in the life of Jesus. While Hebrew graffiti has been a hallmark of previous church attacks in Israel, nothing of the like was left in this case. Still,  Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, the Catholic patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, expressed the view that the attack was most likely carried out by “Jewish extremists.”

“Vandals broke into the church and destroyed the crosses, the statue of Our Lady and the stained glass, as well as the faces of the saints,” Mgr. Marcuzzo said.

“In the Old Testament, it is written to destroy the statues as a symbol of idolatry. Here, these people distort the Scriptures and promote fanaticism. Perhaps it is not a direct attack on Christians, but it is certainly a message against those who do not share their ideology and it is scary because it shows that there is no respect for others. Living together is undermined,” he added.

Anther cleric who commented on the matter is Salesian Father Antonio Scudu, who serves as caretaker of the church.

“I was shocked. I didn’t expect to see something like this. The church is always open. If you see what happened, you feel they did it with hate. They smashed everything,” he said.

Israeli Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told the Catholic News Service that the case is being given “top priority.”

“There have been arrests in previous cases. We are looking into this case to see if it was an individual or a group. These are all separate cases,” Rosenfeld said. “People can say what they want. This kind of case is top priority.”

Yet as the report posted by Crux notes:

Christians in the Holy Land, including Catholic leaders, have expressed frustration with lack of legal action against cases of desecration and vandalism of sacred places.

Even as the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement condemning the September 20 desecration and vandalism of a Catholic shrine in Israel, some people criticized the statement’s “weak language” and asked, “How long will we be tolerant?”

“Unfortunately, in these situations we feel how vulnerable we are,” one person wrote on Facebook.

The words “how long will we be tolerant?” have a certain poignance to them, for in Israel there are “Jewish extremists” who seem to feel the nation has been overly “tolerant” by even allowing Christians and Christian churches to exist inside the country’s boundaries. One such individual is Benzi Gopstein, whose views I discussed in the post I put up in January of 2016 on the St. Stephen’s cemetery desecration.

Gopstein is the leader of Lehava, the far-right Israeli organization that opposes intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. He also hates Christianity. My 2016 post included an excerpt from a Times of Israel report in which Gopstein is quoted as referring to Christianity as “that accursed religion” and likening Christians to “vampires.”

Interestingly, the Lehava leader has also been referred to as “Israel’s teflon man, nothing sticks to him.”

The Israeli government may be feeling mounting pressure to do something about the wave of attacks upon religious sites, and if that is the case, we could end up seeing an arrest in the St. Stephen’s case. This of course would not alleviate the anti-Christian hatred felt by Jews like Gopstein, and if anything will make it worse. There is a reason the Christian Church, founded by men like Stephen, ended up breaking off from Judaism: the two faiths are pretty much incompatible.

Hezbollah Congratulates Palestinians: Only Resistance Path Can Liberate Occupied Land

Hezbollah flag

 July 27, 2017

Hezbollah congratulated on Thursday the Palestinian people on the great victory represented by obliging the Zionist enemy to cancel all the arbitrary measures it had taken in Al-Aqsa Mosque’s vicinity, noting that the Israelis aimed deeply at controlling this major Islamic symbol away from the Arabs and the Muslims.

In a statement, Hezbollah considered that this victory is the  fruit of the Palestinians’ steadfastness and bloody sacrifices made for the sake of protecting the sanctity Al-Aqsa from the Zionist desecration, adding that admitting the path of resistance is the only way to liberate the occupied land and regain the sanctities.

Hezbollah pointed out that the Palestinian uprising against the Zionist measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque is a shining torch which illuminates the path of the Umma that, according to the statement, has to provide the Palestinian people with all the forms of support.

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations

 

 

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Hezbollah Flags Waved, «Israeli» Flags Burnt at London Embassy Protest

Hezbollah Flags Waved, «Israeli» Flags Burnt at London Embassy Protest

Local Editor

Scores of demonstrators vented their anger at new security measures at the al-Aqsa Mosque in al-Quds [Jerusalem]. Hezbollah flags were waved and “Israeli” flags were burned outside the “Israeli” entity’s London embassy over the weekend.

"Israeli" flag being burned in a UK protest

The Kensington protest on Saturday was organized by a group called Palestinian Forum in Britain to counter “‘Israeli’ aggression in Jerusalem [al-Quds]” after the apartheid “Israeli” regime introduced metal detectors following the killing of two policemen on 14 July.

Videos of the London protest, posted online by both Palestinian and “Israeli” supporters, show a group of young men seizing an “Israeli” flag, running away down the street with it, and later setting fire to it with a blowtorch.

Press Attaché Yiftah Curiel tweeted that the protesters were “sick” and “thugs” for “cheering on the bloodshed”.

Saturday’s event was one of a series of flare-ups around the world, with protests in Turkey, Jordon, Malaysia and Lebanon, as Muslim communities reacted to the apartheid entity’s new measures at one of Islam’s holiest sites.

In the Irish city of Derry, residents held a silent protest for Palestinians in Gaza, in which they lit a candle and shared a message of solidarity for Gaza’s population, who last month had their electricity supplies cut further.

israel | palestine | united kingdom | aqsa

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

25-07-2017 | 13:33

Palestine news

الأقصى .. المسجد اليتيم .. والخطوط الحمر الثرثارة

ربما تحتوي الصورة على: ‏‏‏5‏ أشخاص‏، و‏‏أشخاص يبتسمون‏، و‏‏‏‏أشخاص يقفون‏، و‏نشاطات في أماكن مفتوحة‏‏ و‏لقطة قريبة‏‏‏‏‏

 بقلم نارام سرجون

الى جانب الحرية والديمقراطية اللتين صرت أحتقرهما سأضيف مصطلح (الخط الأحمر) الى قائمة الكلمات التي فقدت سمعتها وتحولت الى كلمات مشحونة بالطاقة السلبية وتفوح منها رائحة الشيطان ..

 انني كما تعرفون لاأتردد في المجاهرة باحتقاري لكلمتي “الحرية والديمقراطية” لكثرة ما لاكتهما أسنان جورج بوش وتوني بلير ولكثرة ما تنقلتا بين شفتي كوندوليزا رايس السوداوين وضاجعتا لسان ديك تشيني وجون بولتون وكولن بأول حتى صرت أحس بلعاب كل هؤلاء يرطب جلد هاتين الكلميتن كلما مرّتا على لساني فأحس برغبة في التقيؤ ..

ان الحرية والديمقراطية كأجمل عبارتين تحولتا برأيي الى أسوأ كلمتين لأنهما تورطتا بدماء ملايين العرب والمسلمين وحملتا وزر كل جرائم الغرب منذ أن وصفت اسرائيل بأنها واحة الديمقراطية في الشرق وأن العرب حاربوها لأنها أول ديمقراطية وصلت اليهم .. ولأن يدي الحرية والديمقراطية منذ عهد بوش ملطختان بدم مليوني عراقي .. وخلف كل يتيم وأرملة وثكلى تقف هاتان الكلمتان كملائكة العذاب .. ولم تعد هناك قوة في الأرض تعيد لي علاقتي بالحرية والديمقراطية .. فما بيننا انكسر الى الأبد .. وصرنا أعداء الى يوم الدين .. وخاصة منذ أن زنا بهما الثورجيون الإسلاميون في الربيع العربي ونادوا يشعارات الحرية التي جعلت مذاق الحرية بمذاق الزنا في الضمير .. ولن أبالي باحتجاج واعتذار كل منظري الحرية والديمقراطية وعشاقهما وكل من يعزف الأناشيد لهما وينظم القصائد الحمراء لهما ..

ولكن قائمة الكلمات التي أحتقرها كبرت وتكاثرت في السنوات الأخيرة وضمت اليها “الاستبداد” و”الرأي الآخر” و”اللاجئين” و”الخلافة” و “دولة الشريعة” و “العرب” و “النفط” و“حماس” و “المثقفين العرب” وكل الكلمات التي تبين أنها محشوة بالتبن والسم .. الا أن القائمة استضافت اليوم عبارة جديدة لم أتوقع ان تبلغ بسرعة هذه المكانة من الاحتقار الشديد والازدراء في نفسي .. بل انها استقرت على رأس قائمة الكلمات المزني بها والتي تطل عليك مثل اطلالة مومس ترقص .. ولكن ثوبها الأحمر يضفي عليها نكهة تهريج كوميدية تدغدغني وتضحكني الى حد محرج يكاد يحبس أنفاسي خلف كل ضحكة فلا أقدر حتى على الشهيق .. هذه العبارة هي عبارة (الأقصى خط أحمر) ..

لاتضحكوا لأن العبارة حلت محل (قضية فلسطين المركزية) في أفواه الخطباء والسياسيين وصارت موضة التضليل الجديدة .. وما جعل العبارة من أحقر العبارات وأسوأها سمعة في نظري هو أنها صدرت عن أحقر شخصيات العرب والمسلمين .. فقد أصدرت الجامعة العربية ورئيسها (خطها الأحمر) لإسرائيل لأنها تجاوزت الخط الأحمر في الأقصى .. ورسمت الجامعة العربية الخط الأحمر ثم ألقته أمام نتنياهو كي يرتعد جسده ويرتجف ويتعرق ويشحب لونه وهويرى احمرار لغة الجامعة العربية واحمرار خطوطها .. وكان ملك الأردن سباقا الى القاء الخطوط الحمر في الأقصى ..

كما أن سانشو الفلسطيني وصبي أردوغان وخادم القرضاوي المخلص (إسماعيل هنية) قد ألقى خطبة عصماء في غزة وذكّر نتنياهو بأن (الأقصى خط أحمر) !!..

ولاأعرف من اين يأتي هنية وغيره بخطوطهم الحمر .. من تركيا الإسلامية الاردوغانية المشغولة بخطوط حمر الأكراد وادلب وقتلة نور الدين زنكي الذين ذبحوا اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في حلب ؟؟.. أم من السعودية المشغولة في رسم الخطوط الحمر لفقراء اليمن ؟؟.. أم من قطر أم من الامارات؟؟ أم من الكويت ؟؟ وكلها دول محتلة .. أم من الأردن الذي يحكمه ملك أمه يهودية؟؟ .. أم من ليبيا الممزقة التي صارت مثل قوم عاد وثمود اثر تحريرها على يد الإسلاميين .. أم من منظمة العالم الإسلامي أم من اتحاد علماء المسلمين؟؟

إسماعيل هنية: المسجد الأقصى خط أحمر

هل سيأتي هنية وغيره بالخطوط الحمر من جبهة النصرة أم من أحرار الشام أو فيلق الرحمن أم جيش الإسلام الذي يقصف دمشق والذي حظي بمباركة حماس باستشهاد زهران علوش الذي انتقم لإسرائيل من دمشق واذاقها ماذاقت سديروت وعسقلان من قذائف حماس التي وصلتها من دمشق عبر أنفاق سيناء التي حفرتها آلات حفر حزب الله العملاقة المستوردة من ايران ..

ولاأستبعد أن نسمع هذه العبارة اليوم من اقذر الأشخاص .. في فتاواهم في الحرم المكي وربما يظهر أنور عشقي ويذكرنا بأت الأقصى خط أحمر (للشيعة) وليس لليهود .. ولاشك اننا سنسمعها من سكارى بول البعير الذي سيصبح أيضا بلون أحمر لأن موضة الكلام هذه الأيام هي اللون الأحمر والغضب الساطع الآتي .. الذي لم يسطع حتى اليوم منذ ستين سنة ..

أنا على يقين أن نتنياهو يفضل جدا اللون الأحمر في الخطوط العربية والإسلامية وهو بلاشك يراه أجمل الألوان لأنه لم يفعل شيئا في حياته من اذلال للعرب ولفلسطين الا بعد أن رفعت في وجهه الخطوط الحمر العربية والإسلامية .. وصار الإسرائيليون مثل كلاب بافللوف يسيل لعابهم بمجرد أن يرفع العرب عبارة (الخطوط الحمراء) ..
وحتى هذه اللحظة لم يرسم اردوغان خطوطا حمرا لنتنياهو بل ذهب الى الخليج ليؤسم خطوطا حمراء في قطر لأن مايقدر على قوله لفلسطين وللأقصى محدود جدا ومثير للحرج الشديد لتفاهته ولن يرفع يده بعلامة رابعة التي تحدى بها المصريين ولن يتجرأ على الالتفات نحو الأقصى .. وعرفنا ذلك منذ أن قتل له الإسرائيليون في مسرحية سفينة مرمرة عددا من مواطنيه وصبغوا بحر عزة بدم الأتراك الحمراء ورسموا بها خطا أحمر له ولم يفعل شيئا بل عاد الى نتنياهو صاغرا وقبل يديه ورجليه ليسمح للسفير التركي بالعودة الى تل أبيب .. ودخل السفير التركي سفارته ي تل أبيب واختفى لايلوي على شيء ..

على العرب والمسلمين أن يستحوا من بيانات الخطوط الحمر التي يتسلى بها نتنياهو بل ويفضلها أمام مواطنيه كي يظهر أمامهم بطلا فهو محاصر بالخطوط الحمر وهو يدري أنها أوهى من خيط العنكبوت .. فليس فقط حسن نصرالله كشف للاسرائيليين أنهم يسكنون في بيت العنكبوت وأنهم واهنون وواهمون .. بل ان نتنياهو اليوم يظهر لجمهوره أنه محاط بخطوط العنكبوت الحمراء التي يلقيها العرب .. فللعرب عناكبهم وبيوت شعرهم الحمراء التي هي أوهى من بيت العنكبوت ..

الجامعة العربية وإسماعيل هنية وكل من يستعد لالقاء خطبة “الخطوط الحمراء” عليهم أن يتذكروا أن من يلقي الخطوط الحمراء يجب أن يكون لديه أخلاق ومواقف بطولية ومبادئ ..

فكيف تستوي مبادئ الخطوط الحمر وحماس مشردة بين القصور وبين القصور .. وقد خذلت نفسها ورحلت الى تركيا وقطر ونافقت السعودية وسكتت عن حرائم السعودية في اليمن .. وكيف تتشدق الجامعة العربية بالخطوط الحمر وهي التي لم تترك أمام إسرائيل خطا دفاعيا واحدا يردع إسرائيل بعد أن قدمت الغطاء لتدمير العراق وتدمير ليبيا وتدمير سورية وهو مشغولة بتدمير ايران وحزب الله ..

أنا أعلم ان نتنياهو يضحك في سره وهو يعلم ان تلك الرسائل المشفرة من العرب عن الخطوط الحمر تعني له إشارة التأييد والمبايعة .. كما حدث عندما كان الملك فيصل يجاهر بعدائه لإسرائيل ولكنه كان يحارب عبد الناصر عدو إسرائيل .. وهو الذي حرض اميريكا على مصر رغم أنه في العلن قال مالم يقله مالك في الخمر لتحرير فلسطين .. ونتنياهو لن ينسى أن الملك عبد الله الأول ملك الأردن بشر الفلسطينيين بالنصر في خطبه ولكنه كان قد باع فلسطين بخمسة عشر ألف جنيه ذهبي في عقد بيع شهير لافراغ فلسطين من العرب عندما خدع السكان وطلب منهم مغادرة قراهم ليسمحوا لجيشه بالقتال دون ايذائهم فدخل الإسرائيليون قرى فلسطين وهي فارغة أحيانا ..

ونتنياهو لم ينس خطابات الملك حسين قال للفلسطينيين قاتلوا بأسنانكم لتحافظوا على الضفة والاقصى والقدس في حرب 67 ولكنه كان قد سحب الجيش والسلاح من كل الضفة .. والذي كان يصر على تهديد إسرائيل بالثأر من هزيمة 67 ولكنه طار الى اسرائيل لتحذير غولدامائير من هجوم يبيته السوريون والمصريون في حرب 73 .. واليوم يرث ابنه ذات الوظيفة ويرفع عبارة (الأقصى خط أحمر) .. وهي رسالة مشفرة للاسرائيليين وعبارة طمأنينة وقعت بردا وسلاما على قلوبهم لأنهم يعرفون ان القادة العرب الموثوقين لايلقون عبارات التهديد جزافا بل هي اشارى خدعة وخيلة لإسرائيل ..

كل من هدد اسرائيل بالخطوط الحمر لايملك أي خط أحمر ولا حتى خيط عنكبوت .. لأن الخطوط الحمر تأتي من المواقف الثابتة .. وليس من التذبذب السياسي .. فلايستطيع من فقد استقلاله السياسي والعسكري أن يهدد بالخطوط الحمر .. ولايستطيع من رفع شعار (غزة بانتظار الأبطال .. اردوغان وحمد ومرسي) ان يرسم خطوطا حمرا ..

ولاتستطيع جامعة عربية دمرت خطوط دفاعها أن تثرثر ببيانات الدفاع عن الأقصى .. الخطوط الحمر لاتأتي الا من السياسة المدججة بالأخلاق وبالسياسة التي لاتشترى بالدولار ولاتتلون ولاتطعن ولاتتبع مزاج الأمير والأميرة .. لأن من باع وطنه يوما بالدولار سيسكت اليوم بحفنة من الدولارات .. ويترك الأقصى ..

نتنياهو لايخشى أيا من هؤلاء .. ولايستمع الى تلك الخطب الجوفاء .. بل هو يخشى الخطوط الحمراء التي لاتتكلم والتي لاتثرثر بها أفواه الثرثارين .. تلك الخطوط الحمراء التي حاول أن يكسرها في الشمال بكل الوسائل القذرة وبالاستعانة بأولئك الذين يشنون حملة الخطوط الحمراء عليه اليوم ..

انه لايخشى الا الجيش السوري وجيش حزب الله .. والجيش الإيراني .. ومئات آلاف الشبان والشابات الفلسطينيات الأحرار الذين لاينتظرون الغضب الساطع القادم من بلاد الفتاوى التكفيرية وبلاد بول البعير وآبار النفط الأسود .. بل لديهم في قلوبهم غضب ساطع .. هؤلاء هم من يحملون الخطوط الحمراء لرايات إسرائيل الزرقاء .. وهؤلاء هم من بقي للأقصى الذي صار في زمن الإسلاميين (المسجد اليتيم) .. وصدقوني لن يخذلوه ..

 

   ( الاثنين 2017/07/24 SyriaNow)

Erdogan condemns al-Aqsa violence before flying to Gulf states

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:30 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the violence in East Jerusalem and called on the governments concerned to resolve the situation at al-Aqsa, during a press conference in Istanbul on Sunday.

He said he and French President Emmanuel Macron do not “approve the violations against the rights of life, the rights of property and the right to worship no matter who does it.” He went on to invite the Israeli administration to behave “according to the rules of a settled society, [of] justice and of basic humanitarian values.”

Disputes regarding the holy site of al-Aqsa Mosque have sparked violent clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian demonstrators in recent days.

Erdogan also mentioned his upcoming trip to the Gulf region, where he will be visiting Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in a bid to resolve the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its neighbouring countries. Gulf States have cut ties with Qatar after accusing the country of supporting terrorism.

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‘Israel’ Puts Army in Occupied Palestine on High Alert

July 22, 2017

Clashes between Palestinian youths and Zionist occupation soldiers

The Zionist newspaper Maariv reported on Saturday that the Israeli Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot decided to put the army on high alert, fearing the spread of Palestinian protests.

The paper added that Eizenkot’s decision came in light of the bloody events which took place on Friday that left three Palestinians dead and hundreds of others injured.

The stabbing operation in Ramallah which claimed three Zionist settlers was also behind Eizenkot’s decision, according to Maariv.

Source: Al-Manar Website

 

Day 1 recap of Lebanese border offensive: map

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:40 A.M.) – The first day of the Qalamoun offensive is in the books and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah have succeeded in capturing a large chunk of this border region.

The offensive began at 10:30 P.M. (Damascus Time) on Thursday night, when a Hezbollah and Republican Guard group stormed the large hilltop of Tal Burkan in the Faleeta Barrens of rural Damascus.

Within a half hour of launching the attack, the Syrian Army and Hezbollah had successfully overrun the Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham militants and imposed full control over Tal Burkan.

Following the capture of Tal Burkan, the Syrian Army and Hezbollah took a short break until 5 A.M. the following morning, when they stormed a number of hilltops in the Faleeta Barrens.

The Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah managed to capture nine sites in the western Qalamoun region on Friday, killing and wounding at least 25 Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham fighters during the battle.

According to a Syrian government source, the Republican Guard and Hezbollah captured the following sites on Friday:

  • Tal Burkan (Syria)
  • Al-Karah Al-Awal (Syria)
  • Dalel Al-Hajj (Syria)
  • Harf Al-Sabeh (Syria)
  • Sahel Al-Rahweh (Lebanon)
  • Dahr Al-Haweh (Lebanon)
  • Wadi Daqiq (Lebanon)
  • Wadi Zarzour (Lebanon)
  • Taftanaz (Lebanon)

A Syrian government source in Damascus told Al-Masdar News on Friday night that their forces are attempting to pressure the HTS militants to surrender the territory they control in exchange for free passage to the Idlib Governorate.

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‘Israeli’ Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Always 1st Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!

Occupied Palestine: Al-Ahed Team

As the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime intensifies its apartheid measures restricting access to al-Aqsa Holy Mosque, Palestinian voices stressed that their first option ever will remain escalation against this cruel entity, adding that the enemy will pay a heavy price for this.

 

‘Israeli' Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Is Always First Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!


Following heroic Palestinian resistance operations against the occupation army soldiers, the enemy tended to impose new so-called ‘security’ measures which included the installation of metal detectors and cameras.

It was last Friday that a heroic operation carried out by Palestinian youngsters in the Old City of occupied al-Quds martyred three Palestinians, killing at least two ‘Israeli’ occupation soldiers and wounding several others, the last incident before such restrictions were imposed.

Nevertheless, scores of Palestinian worshipers held prayers outside the compound, neglecting the ‘Israeli’ will to deprive them from performing their religious duties in such a sacred site.

Seeking official stances regarding the ongoing tensions, al-Ahed team in Palestine managed to conduct several interviews with Palestinian figures:

In this regard, the head of the “al-Morabiteen in al-Quds” group Yousef Mukhaimer stressed the invalidity of the fait accompli recently imposed by the authorities of the Zionist enemy in the al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings.

 

‘Israeli' Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Is Always First Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!


Mukhaimer confirmed that this new reality did not, and will not provide the occupation any legitimacy or eligibility within the Muslims’ first Qibla [destination].

“What has been happening since last Friday, from terrorizing worshipers, preventing residents from reaching the mosque, and then installing electronic gates at the main entrances under security pretexts is entirely unacceptable and must be addressed at various levels,” Mukhaimer told al-Ahed’s correspondent.

He warned that this invasive attack is not a coincidence but rather the implementation of preplanned schemes.

“We are looking very seriously at the direct targeting of the al-Morabiteen who have formed – and continue to be – the line of defense of the honorable city from the occupation’s ambitions and its settler groups, who are pursuing the construction of the so-called Temple,” Mukhaimer said.

He explained that the main aim of what is happening now is to enable the advocates of the Temple and other extremist Zionist groups to widely desecrate the al-Aqsa Mosque after they have emptied it of its Muslim worshipers in full view of the nation which has not acted until this moment despite the looming dangers threatening the mosque and its identity.

“The situation has reached its lowest point. Denying access to the Aqsa Mosque is no longer confined to the people of the Gaza Strip or some areas of the West Bank, but today it includes all those who are outside the borders of the holy city,” Mukhaimer adds.

He stressed that the people of al-Quds with all their religious components and locations have taken it upon themselves to confront the attempts to enable the western settlers to tamper with “our sanctities and toy with our sentiments, no matter the challenges and costs.”

Mukhaimer concluded by saying: “Our message today to the people of the nation throughout the globe is that al-Quds and the Aqsa is not the property of the Palestinians. Protecting the sites is a collective responsibility no one is excluded from, both on the official and popular level.”

Additionally, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kayed al-Ghoul, called on local forces and factions to use the current “opportunity” and work on framing any upcoming resistance action within a comprehensive uprising against the Zionist occupier and its Judaization projects.

 

‘Israeli' Aqsa Policies in Palestinian Eyes: Escalation Is Always First Option, The Enemy Will Pay a Heavy Price!


“I believe that what is happening could trigger a new intifada,” al-Ghoul told al-Ahed. “Therefore the political authorities are required to prepare for the aftermath and provide the organizational pillars and other elements to ensure the continuation of this intifada as an effective method of struggle in confronting the occupation’s and its settlers’ roistering”.

Al-Ghoul expressed no “doubt [that] al-Quds always represents a spark for the Palestinian uprisings.”

“Therefore, the recent aggressive ‘Israeli’ actions are an explosion factor in what lies in the hearts of the masses of our people, who have a large reservoir of anger towards the occupation’s expansionist and racist policy,” he added.

“In order to be able to deal with this policy, we need to unify the Palestinian position in resisting these measures. In this period, we also need to focus on strengthening the steadfastness of our people in al-Quds, who are threatened by the danger of mass displacement in the coming period.”

The “Popular Front” leader also pointed to the “need to bring back the liberal nature of the struggle of the Palestinian people so that it will be an open and comprehensive conflict with the occupation throughout the country.”

Al-Ghoul called on the Arab people to defend the al-Quds cause, support the struggle of the Palestinian people and press their regimes that brag about the al-Quds cause through satellite channels without lifting a finger over the growing Zionist violations.

Earlier on Tuesday, Palestinian military wings of various political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip warned the apartheid “Israeli” entity of continuing its restrictive policies at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds during a press conference.

Warning that “Israel’s” aggression on al-Aqsa represents a “spark that will explode in the region,” they further stressed that “the expense of attacking al-Aqsa will be very big in which neither the occupation army nor its settlers would be able tolerate.”

“We will have our strong and supreme word if Zionist plans against al-Aqsa continue,” the groups had warned in the press conference. “We will not allow our enemy to invade our al-Aqsa, our holy sites, and our people in al-Quds.”

Al-Ahed News

19-07-2017 | 15:52
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