أرض المقدَّسات

«الأيقونة الفلسطينية» (2010)، لوحة للفنان الفلسطيني نبيل عنّاني، أكريليك على كتّان، 75،5×112 سنتم

الأخيار

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.

فيديوات متعلقة

مقالات متعلقة

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

ملفات تشغل المواطن الفلسطيني

سعاده مصطفى أرشيد

ثلاثة ملفات هي شغل المواطن الفلسطيني الشاغل، يتراجع أحدها ليتقدّم آخر وهي مرتبطة ببعضها البعض ارتباطاً عضوياً، والملفات الثلاثة هي: صفقة ترامب (صفقة القرن)، نتائج انتخابات الكنيست وماهية الحكومة (الإسرائيلية) المقبلة، وأخيراً وباء كورونا وحاله الطوارئ التي أعلنتها الحكومة الفلسطينية اثر ظهور حالات إصابة بهذا الفيروس.

شملت حالة الطوارئ التي أعلنتها الحكومة الفلسطينية إغلاق الجامعات والمدارس الحكومية والخاصة ووقف إجازات الأجهزة الأمنية والشرطية والعسكرية ونشر قوات الأمن الوطني (الجيش) في شوارع المدن والقرى، ثم إغلاق مدينة بيت لحم إغلاقاً كاملاً يمنع الدخول إليها والخروج منها، ولاحقاً تمّ إغلاق المقاهي والمطاعم والنوادي في معظم المحافظات، وأخيراً إغلاق معبر الكرامة بوجه المسافرين من وإلى الأردن وهو المنفذ الوحيد الذي يصل أهالي الضفة الغربية بالعالم.

أسئلة تتردّد على ألسنة المواطن: هل نحتاج لمثل هذه الإجراءات الصارمة والطارئة والفورية قبل أيّ دولة في الجوار؟ وهل يتطلب ذلك نشر قوات الأمن الوطني في الشوارع أم نشر الأطباء والطواقم الطبية والصحية؟ وهل يبرّر حالة الاعتقال التي تعرّض لها النائب السابق حسام خضر وهو غير مصاب بفيروس كورونا وإنما بتهمة إطالة اللسان وإثارة النعرات، حيث من الجدير ذكره أنّ خضر كان من قادة الانتفاضتين الأولى والثانيه واعتقل في سجون الاحتلال ما يزيد عن 20 اعتقال إضافة الى النفي والاقامة الجبرية والإصابات بالرصاص، ولم يتمّ الإفراج عنه إلا بعد خمسة أيام وبسبب عناده وإضرابه عن الطعام والشراب والدواء والكلام، إضافة إلى أنّ اعتقاله أثار استياء أنصاره الذين قاموا بقطع الطرق وأعمال شغب. برغم انّ خطورة الوباء أمر يستحق الاهتمام والمعالجة، إلا أنّ المبالغة في إجراءات الطوارئ وخاصة إغلاق المدارس والجامعات من شأنها ان تجعل أيّ تحرك شعبي أمراً صعباً في حال طرأ ما يستدعي ذلك خاصة أنّ التهديدات بتقسيم المسجد الأقصى وقبة الصخرة أمر وارد، كذلك ما نسمعه على ألسنة السياسيين الاسرائيليين بخصوص ضمّ مناطق واسعة من الضفة الغربية.

الشاغل الثاني هو نتائج انتخابات الكنيست واحتمالات تشكيل حكومة (اسرائيلية)، فحتى اليوم لا زال بن يامين نتنياهو يرى نفسه الفائز في حين تتضاءل فرصه (وإنْ لم تنعدم) لتشكيل حكومة، في حين تتزايد فرص منافسه بني غانتس (وإنْ لم تكن مؤكدة)، ومنذ يومين رفضت المحكمة المركزية في تل أبيب طلباً تقدم به محامو نتنياهو لتأجيل جلسات محاكمته في قضايا فساد باعتبار انّ المبرّرات التي تقدّم بها هؤلاء غير كافية، وبالتالي فإنّ الجلسه الأولى ستكون يوم الثلاثاء المقبل، وفي حال أخذت المحاكمة ومجرياتها أشكالاً حادة وفضائحية، وهو الأمر الغالب، فلن يكون أمام نتنياهو إلا الانحناء أمام أحد خيارين الأول هو القبول بحكومة مشتركة مع خصمه وبشروط الخصم، والثاني هو عقد صفقة تقضي بإسقاط التهم المسندة إليه مقابل خروجه من الحياة السياسية.

في المقلب الآخر تراهن السلطة الفلسطينية في رام الله على فرص الجنرال المتقاعد بني غانتس، وبناء عليه فقد تمارس ضغوطاً على القائمة المشتركة (النواب العرب) لمنحه الثقة وذلك على قاعدة أنّ خروج نتنياهو هو المكسب وانْ لم تحصل القائمة المشتركة على أية مكاسب، قد يشاركها في الضغط الأردن ومصر وقطر وتركيا كلّ لأسبابه.

الشاغل الثالث هو صفقة ترامب (القرن) وارتباطاً بما ذكر آنفاً فإنّ هناك فرضية ترى انّ الصفقة مرتبطة بنتنياهو لا بالسياسات اليمينية في كلّ من (إسرائيل) والولايات المتحدة ـ (الجمهورية الترامبية) وانّ المايسترو الأول لهذه الصفقة هو السفير الأميركي في القدس ديفيد فريدمان قبل أن يدخل على خطها لاحقاً كل من الصهر كوشنر والمستشار غرينبلات، فمشاريع كهذه ترتبط بسياسات ورؤى تمّ العمل عليها وزرع بذورها في «أوسلو» و «وادي عربة» و«وثيقة أبو مازن – بيلين» 2005، ثم انّ عقارب الساعة لا تعود إلى الوراء فالقرارات المرتبطة بالقدس أصبحت نهائية، والقرارات التي ستتخذ في القريب العاجل بضمّ مناطق من الضفة ستصبح بدورها نهائية، ولا يمكن لأيّ حكومة (إسرائيلية) مقبلة أن تعود عنها أو أن تضعها في مكانة تفاوضية، فالدولة – أيّ دولة لا تفاوض على أراض تعتبرها جزءاً من أرضها الوطنية.

الربط بين الشواغل الثلاثة واضح، وباء كورونا على جديته لا يستحق هذه الحالة الطارئة والعصبية في تنفيذها وإغلاق الجامعات والمدارس والتي هي بؤر التجمعات الشبابية وأدوات التحرك الشعبي الذي يمكن ان يحصل عند اتخاذ الحكومة المقبلة قراراتها، وحالة الجمود والسكون والهدوء السلبي وتقطيع الوقت قد أصبحت تقليداً سياسياً متبعاً لدى القيادة الفلسطينية، وانتظار ما لا يأتي أو ما لا يستحق الانتظار دون القيام بأيّ عمل جدي قد أصبح حرفة وعادة، فهل يغيّر التشكيل الحكومي في (إسرائيل) من نتائج السياسات اليمينية المتطرفة لدى كلّ من نتنياهو وغانتس؟ وهل سيكون هناك من تأثير حقيقي على جوهر الصفقة في حال فاز برئاسة الحكومة من يفوز؟ من هنا أرى انّ دخول القائمة المشتركة (النواب العرب) على خط التصويت لحكومة برئاسة غانتس ليس عملاً من أعمال السياسة العاقلة والمدركة والعارفة للواقع بقدر ما هو عمل من أعمال النكاية في نتنياهو وهي مسألة يبرع بها الشرقيون عامة ولو على حساب ما هو أهمّ وأجدى، فالأحزاب الاسرائيلية متطابقة في نظرتها للقدس والمستوطنات وترى وفق عقيدتها العسكرية في الأغوار عمقاً استراتيجياً لا غنى عنه.

على هذا المنوال تسير الأمور في ما تبقى من فلسطين، القيادة لا تفعل شيئاً باستثناء احتراف التفاوض إنْ أمكن باعتباره فلسفه حياة والانتظار، فيما يحترف المواطن الحزن وهو يرى هذا الواقع البائس.

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم بالضفة الغربية.

فيديوات متعلقة

أخبار متعلقة

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

Related Videos

Nasrallah: ‘Full reason to believe I myself will pray in al-Quds (Jerusalem)’ – English Subs

Source

Description:

In a recent extended interview marking 13 years after the major conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that based on “logic” and the “development of events in the region and the world”, he has great hope that he himself will “pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque in al-Quds (Jerusalem)”.

Earlier in the interview, Nasrallah shared with viewers detailed war-time plans using maps of the ‘Israeli entity’ and its major political, financial, military, and industrial centres and facilities, all of which have been designated as potential targets of Hezbollah’s precision-guided missiles ‘if Israel were to wage another war on Lebanon’.

Source: Al-Manar TV (YouTube)

Date: 12 July, 2019

Transcript: http://middleeastobserver.net/nasrallah-full-reason-to-believe-i-myself-will-pray-in-al-quds-jerusalem-english-subs/

Help our work continue by supporting us on Patreon:https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObs
Subscribe – Website Mailing List:
Like – Facebook page:
Follow – Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MEO_Translation

Related Videos

Related Posts

Imam Khamenei: Sayyed Nasrallah’s Performing Prayers at Quds is an Absolutely Achievable Aspiration الامام الخامنئي: ما قاله السيد نصرالله عن أنَّه سيصلي في المسجد الأقصى نعتبره أملاً عملياً يمكن تحقيقه

 

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei received Deputy Head of Hamas Political Bureau Saleh al-Arouri in Tehran on Monday.

Heading a high-ranking delegation from the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, al-Arouri arrived in Tehran on Sunday to hold talks with senior Iranian figures in line with the efforts to boost its capabilities to continue the resistance against the occupiers.

During the meeting with the delegation, Imam Khamenei said, “Hamas is in the heart of Palestine and Palestine lies at the heart of the Islamic world.”

The Leader tackled the importance of the Palestinian Cause saying that

“The Palestinian Cause is the most important issue in the Islamic World and victory in its regard cannot be achieved without resistance and struggle.”

Elsewhere in his comments, His Eminence said,

[Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence] Sayyed [Hassan] Nasrallah says: ‘I will pray at Masjid al-Aqsa, God willing,’ is an absolutely practical and achievable aspiration for us”, adding that “If we all act upon our duties, the divine promise will definitely come true.”

During the meeting, the two sides discussed issues related to Holy Quds, Gaza and the resistance of the Gazans and conveying the Palestinian cause to next generations.

Imam Khamenei said the resistance of the Palestinian people in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank promises “victory and conquest”.

“God has promised assistance and victory to those who are steadfast in His path. However, the fulfillment of this promise has requirements, the most important of which is Jihad, struggle and tireless effort in various political, cultural, intellectual, economic and military dimensions,” the Leader said.

His Eminence touched on the “treacherous” initiative proposed by US President Donald Trump, dubbed as the “Deal of the Century”, saying there is need for promotional, cultural and intellectual work to confront it.

“The dangerous conspiracy of the ‘Deal of the Century’ is aimed at destroying the Palestinian identity among the Palestinian public and youth. This is the main point to be confronted and we should not allow them to destroy the Palestinian identity by use of money,” Imam Khamenei said.

The Leader was apparently referring to a two-day conference held in Bahrain last month, aimed at rallying support for an “investment” plan in the Palestinian Territories as the first part of the “Deal of the Century”.

“Confronting the Deal of the Century requires promotional, cultural, and intellectual efforts and the other method is to make the Palestinians feel advancement. Today Palestinians are equipped with precise missiles rather than stones and this means the feeling of advancement,” His Eminence explained.

The plan has met broad disdain from Palestinians and others in the Arab world although regional US allies such as Saudi Arabia discreetly support it.

الامام الخامنئي: ما قاله السيد نصرالله عن أنَّه سيصلي في المسجد الأقصى نعتبره أملاً عملياً يمكن تحقيقه

أكد الامام السيد علي الخامنئي أنَّ قضية فلسطين هي القضية الاولى للعالم الاسلامي وأهم قضاياه، مشيدا بالصمود والمقاومة المذهلة للشعب للفلسطيني وفصائل المقاومة ومن بينها “حماس”.

كلام الامام الاخامنئي جاء خلال استقباله نائب رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس صالح العراري على رأس وفدٍ من الحركة يزور ايران.

اضاف الامام الخامنئي: إنَّ النصر لا يتحقق من دون مقاومة وكفاح، وأنَّ قضية فلسطين ستنتهي حتماً لصالح الشعب الفلسطيني والعالم الاسلامي. وشدَّد على أن صمود ومقاومة الفلسطينيين من سكان غزة والضفة الغربية يقدم بشائر الفتح والانتصار. وقال نعلن دائماً بشفافية عن وجهة نظرنا بشأن القضية الفلسطينية، والدول الصديقة تعلن أن إيران جادة تماماً في هذه المواقف.

واعتبر الإمام الخامنئي أنَّ أحد أسباب العداء مع إيران هو قضية فلسطين لكن هذه العداوات والضغوط لن تؤدي لتراجع إيران عن مواقفها، لافتاً الى أنَّه لو اتحد العالم الاسلامي حول القضية الفلسطينية لكانت ظروفه اليوم أفضل.

ورأى أنه من الحماقة ابتعاد بعض الدول عن القضية الفلسطينية نتيجة تبعيتها لأميركا كالسعودية، ولو كانت تلك الدول دعمت قضية فلسطين لاستطاعت انتزاع التنازلات من الولايات المتحدة.
وختم الامام الخامنئي قائلاً: ليس مستبعداً أن يحقق الفلسطينيون الانتصار واعادة الأرض المقدسة للعالم الإسلامي،

وأن ما قاله الامين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله عن أنَّه سيصلي في المسجد الأقصى فنحن نعتبره أملاً عملياً يمكن تحقيقه.

هذا وقد نقل الوفد الى الإمام الخامنئي رسالة من رئيس المكتب السياسي لحماس اسماعيل هنية أكد فيها أن الحركة في قلب الحركة الفلسطينية كما هي فلسطين في قلب العالم الإسلامي.

المصدر: قناة المنار

 

Worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque Expel Saudi Journalist Visiting Tel Aviv: Video

July 22, 2019

Capture

The Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque expelled a Saudi journalist out of the Holy Shrine for joining an Arab delegation into Tel Aviv in the context of normalizing ties with the Zionist entity.

The following video shows a group of worshippers chasing the Saudi journalist, rebuking him for his pro-Israeli stance, and expelling him out of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

حرب 2006: السقوط الإسرائيلي مستمرّ والسيّد سيُصلّي في القدس

يوليو 16, 2019

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

بعد 13 عاماً على العدوان الإسرائيلي على لبنان تستمر تداعيات السقوط الإسرائيلي وانتصار المقاومة، وتستمر هذه التداعيات على أكثر من صعيد وفي أكثر من اتجاه الى الحدّ الذي مكّن السيد حسن نصرالله من إطلاق وعد جديد مزلزل قال فيه «وفقاً للمنطق والتحليل السليم أنا سأصلّي في القدس». قال هذا علماً بأنّ عمره لامس الـ 59 عاماً، والسيد كما عوّد الجميع صديقاً كان أو عدواً لا ينطق إلا بما يراه واقعياً ممكن الحصول ولا يعد إلا بما يراه قابلاً للتنفيذ وفقاً للإمكانات المتوفرة. وقد أطلق السيد وعده هذا في معرض الحديث عن انتصار المقاومة ما يعني أنّ تحرير القدس الذي يعنيه هو التحرير الذي سيكون على يد المقاومة وفي العشرات القليلة الآتية من السنين، فلماذا قال السيد ما قاله ولمَ أو هل جازف بوعده؟

إنّ المتتبع لمجريات الأمور في المنطقة وفي كلّ ما يتصل بالصراع مع العدو الإسرائيلي وحوله يدرك وبكلّ موضوعية أنّ هناك فئتين من الحقائق تشكلتا في فترة حرب وما بعد حرب 2006. حقائق لا يتعامى عنها إلا حاقد موتور رافض للحقيقة او جاهل أعمى عاجز عن رؤية الحقيقة، وكما هو معلوم ليس لرأي أيّ من الطرفين وزن.اما الفئة الأولى من الحقائق تلك فهي ما نتج مباشرة عن حرب 2006 وفيها تحطّمت الأركان الرئيسيّة للعقيدة العسكرية الإسرائيلية واختلت استراتيجيتها الهجومية اختلالاً كبيراً، حيث خرجت «إسرائيل» من الحرب وقد فقدت «الحرية في قرار الحرب»، وخسرت عنصر «الحرب على أرض الخصم». وودّعت الى الأبد نظرية «الحرب الخاطفة» وسقطت من يدها «نظرية سلاح الطيران الحاسم«.

لقد، وضعت حرب 2006 حداً نهائياً لمقولة الحرب الخاطفة التي كانت تشكل الركن الأساس في تلك العقيدة، فقبل 2006 كانت «إسرائيل» تملك الجزئيات الثلاث في مسألة قرار الحرب وتوقيتها ونطاقها، فهي مَن يبدأ الحرب وهي مَن يحدّد نطاق الحرب زماناً وميداناً وهي مَن يوقف الحرب، أما بعد 2006 فلم يعد لـ «إسرائيل» إلا الجزئية الأولى أيّ من يبدأ الحرب فتستطيع أن تطلق هي الطلقة الأولى لكن النطاق الزمني والمكاني وتاريخ انتهاء الحرب باتت أموراً خارج يدها كلياً. وهذا ما شكل ولا يزال من أهمّ الخسائر الاستراتيجية للعدو التي قيّدت حريته في الذهاب للحرب، لأنه يخشى من مدتها وباتت للمرة الأولى في حياتها مردوعه بسلاح المقاومة.

كما أسقطت الحرب الركن الثاني في العقيدة العسكرية الإسرائيلية المتمثل بمقولة «الحرب على أرض الخصم». وهنا نذكر أنه قبل حرب 2006 كانت «إسرائيل» تخوض الحروب على الجبهات وشعبها يمارس السباحة والسياحة في المنتجعات والمرابع الترفيهية مطمئناً، لكنها مع حرب 2006 وبعدها تغيرت الصورة وباتت «إسرائيل» تخشى من أمرين يرعبانها. الأول: وضع «إسرائيل» كلها تحت النار وتهديد ما أسمي الجبهة الداخلية بنار شل وتدمير وفشل «إسرائيل» في تأمين الحماية والمناعة لشعبها كما فشلها في تطبيق مقولة «شعب يعمل تحت النار». أما الثاني فهو ما عبر عنه الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله بأن «على المقاومين ان ينتظروا أمراً بالقتال في الجليل شمال فلسطين المحتلة». وهو عمل إذا حصل فسيكون الأول من نوعه منذ العام 1948 وسيتكامل مع الأمر الأول ويُسقط نهائياً مقولة «الحرب على أرض الخصم» لتتقدّم مقولة الحرب المفتوحة في الزمان والمكان وعلى جانبي الحدود.

أما العنصر الثالث الذي أسقطته حرب الـ 33 يوماً فكان سلاح الطيران الذي طالما فاخرت به «إسرائيل» واطمأنت اليه، وجعلته «السلاح الحاسم». فقبل 2006 كانت «إسرائيل» تحسم نتائج الحرب من الساعات أو الأيام الأولى بالعمل التدميري الواسع الذي ينفذه طيرانها الذي يمتلك تفوقاً كبيراً وسيطرة جوية تامة، اما في الـ 2006 فقد فشلت «إسرائيل» في تحقيق النتائج المتوخاة من طيرانها رغم أنها ارتكبت جرائم حرب بهذا الطيران وابتدعت «نظرية الضاحية» ونفذتها بتدمير مدينة بكاملها… فالطيران الإسرائيلي فشل في حسم الحرب وفشل في إسكات مصادر نيران المقاومة وفشل في ثني المقاومة عن العمل المؤثر في الميدان. وفي المقابل نجحت المقاومة في إجبار «إسرائيل» على القتال بنمط الجيل الرابع وأرغمتها على معارك الالتحام وووضعت الجندي الإسرائيلي أمام نفق مرعب لا يقوى على دخوله ووضعت بذلك حداً لمقولة «الانتقال الآمن في الميدان» أو «السيطرة والسيادة الإسرائيلية في الميدان». فكل هذا بات من الماضي وباتت المظلة الجوية عاجزة عن رد طلقة نار يرميها مقاوم من مسافة أمتار قليلة.

أما الأخطر من كل ما تقدّم فقد كان سقوط «الهيبة العسكرية الإسرائيلية» وثقة الصهاينة بجيشهم وسقوط مقولة الجيش الذي لا يُقهر، فحرب تموز 2006 فضحت هذا الجيش وسلّطت الأضواء على عناصر الضعف فيه ومكّنت السيد حسن نصر الله من وصف الكيان الإسرائيلي بـ «بيت العنكبوت» الذي هو أوهن البيوت بالوصف القرآني.

أما بعد الحرب وخاصة في السنوات العشر الأخيرة أي منذ بدء الحريق العربي وما جرى من قتال على أرض سورية وما تبعها من متغيرات دولية وتطورات عسكرية في جانب المقاومة ومحورها وعلى صعيد قدراتها وخبراتها فقد باتت «إسرائيل» في مواجهة مشهد عملاني واستراتيجي جديد لم تعرفه منذ اغتصابها لفلسطين، مشهد يقوم على ما يلي:

أولاً: إن الحرب المستقبلية ستكون حرباً إقليمية شاملة لكامل المنطقة مع تعدّد الجبهات ولن تستطيع «إسرائيل» أن تستفرد بأي من مكوّنات محور المقاومة وسقط عنصر آخر في عقيدتها العسكرية يتمثل بنظرية «القتال على جبهة واحدة وتجميد الجبهات الأخرى».

ثانياً: وهن البنية الإسرائيلية أمام فعالية النار التدميرية للمقاومة. وهو ما عرضه السيد حسن نصر الله في حديثه الأخير وحدد فيه البقعة الرئيسة التي تحتوي على الأساسيات في بنك اهداف المقاومة وكلها تقع في منطقة لا تتجاوز 1200 كل م2 وهي ما يمكن تسميته بـ «إسرائيل الحيوية» أو «قلب إسرائيل»، حيث تتجمّع كل مراكز القيادة والإدارة والإنتاج والعمل في السياسة والأمن والاقتصاد والمال حتى باتت تسميتها بأنها منطقة قلب «إسرائيل» هي تسمية موضوعية جداً، فإذا شلّت أو توقفت عن العمل ماتت «إسرائيل» وهو أمر باتت المقاومة قادرة على إنجازه لما تملك من أسلحة نار تدميرية فاعلة.

ثالثاً: فعالية القدرات الهجومية للقوات البرية التي باتت المقاومة تملكها ما يخيف «إسرائيل». وهو ما أكد عليه السيد حسن نصر الله بوضوح مشدداً على حجم هذه القوى والخبرات العالية التي اكتسبتها في الحرب الدفاعية التي خاضتها في سورية ما مكّنها من بناء عنصر قتالي اقتحامي فاعل في البر قادر على الهجوم والاقتحام في أصعب الظروف.

نقول هذا مع أننا لا نسقط من الحساب احتمال التدخل الغربي بقيادة أميركية، وامتلاك «إسرائيل» للسلاح النووي، لكننا نعرف أيضاً ان الغرب يقدم السلاح والذخائر ولا يقدم الدماء لحماية «إسرائيل» في حرب ستكون مفتوحة وستكون فيها مصالحه في خطر، أما عن السلاح النووي فإنه في الأصل سلاح ردع لا يُستعمل، وإذا استعملته «إسرائيل» فسيكون الدليل القاطع على نهايتها وأكتفي بهذه الإشارة دون تفصيل أكثر.

لكل ذلك أقول إن «إسرائيل» انكشفت الآن وظهرت الثغرات في بنيتها، ولهذا لا نتوقع أن تبادر هي في المدى المنظور الى حرب تهدد بها دائماً، وتبقى الحرب مستبعدة أيضاً لأن المقاومة لن تبدأ بها ولن تبادر اليها، اما إذا ارتكبت «إسرائيل» الخطأ المميت وذهبت الى الحرب… واعتقد أنها سترتكب هذا الخطأ يوماً… فإنها ستكون الحرب التي تفتح طريق السيد حسن نصر الله الى القدس ليصلي فيها، كما أعلن.

أستاذ جامعي وباحث استراتيجي.

Related Videos

Related News

مَن يحرص على تجنيب لبنان الحرب: السيد حسن نصرالله أم منتقدوه؟

يوليو 15, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– ظاهرياً يتلبّس منتقدو خطاب السيد حسن نصرالله ثوب الحرص على تجنيب لبنان تداعيات أي تطور دراماتيكي للمواجهة الأميركية الإيرانية، ويعتبرون تهديداته بالدخول على خطها تلميحاً وتصريحاً تعريضاً للبنان للخطر، وتخديماً لمصالح إيرانية على حساب لبنان وأمنه واستقراره. فيقولون، إن اتصالاتهم بالأميركيين ومن خلالها ما يردهم عن نتائج الاتصالات الأميركية بالإسرائيليين، فإن واشنطن وتل أبيب مستعدتان لتحييد لبنان عن أي مواجهة مع إيران إذا استجاب حزب الله لهذه الدعوة بالتحييد، وإن كلام السيد نصرالله وموقفه يسقطان هذه الفرضية ويضعان لبنان في دائرة الاستهداف، ويضيف هؤلاء أنهم نجحوا عبر الاتصال بواشنطن لضمان استعداد أميركي لفتح قناة اتصال مع حزب الله، رغم وجود العقوبات، لكن حزب الله لم يكتفِ بالرفض بل استعمل ذلك للتصعيد بوجه واشنطن.

– ظاهرياً، يبدو هذا الكلام منطقياً، لكن هناك ما هو أهم للكشف عن صدق وطبيعة النيات الأميركية العميقة من مساعي تحييد حزب الله، تكشفها مساعي الوساطة لترسيم حدود لبنان براً وبحراً التي قادها معاون وزير الخارجية الأميركية السابق ديفيد ساترفيلد، الذي تولى حديثاً مهام سفارة بلاده في تركيا، لتقول شيئاً لا علاقة له بما يقوله اللبنانيون الذين يتحدثون عن الحرص على تحييد لبنان من أي مواجهة أميركية إيرانية، ففشل مساعي ساترفيلد بعدما استهلكت وقتاً طويلاً أظهر أن المقصود منها كان تحييد حزب الله عن أي مواجهة إيرانية أميركية، دون أن يطلب من الحزب ذلك، بل بمحاصرته بمناخ لبناني متحفز للحصول على الحقوق اللبنانية من الثروات النفطية، وجعل المستوى الأول في لبنان ينظر بإيجابية للمساعي الأميركية، بحيث لن يتسامح مع أي موقف تصعيدي لحزب الله إذا ما تدهورت الأوضاع على جبهة طهران واشنطن بما يهدّد بالإطاحة بهذه الفرصة اللبنانية الذهبية، لكن التراجع الأميركي المفاجئ بلا مقدّمات عن جهود الوساطة الشكلية، كشف المستور بعدما تيقنت واشنطن من شراكة حزب الله بقرار واعٍ وواضح في أي مواجهة بينها وبين إيران بحسابات تعرف أنها لن تستطيع تغييرها.

– لدى حزب الله مقاربة مخالفة كلياً لما سبق، وهو يعتبر أن كلام السيد حسن نصرالله ترجمة لهذه المقاربة بكل حساباتها وتفاصيلها. فخطة تحييد حزب الله، هي خطة الحرب، وليست خطة الخروج منها وفقاً لرؤية الحزب، والفشل بتحييد حزب الله يعني سقوط خيار الحرب، لأن واشنطن لن تشنّ حرباً على إيران تعرّض أمن «إسرائيل» للاهتزاز، لكنها إذا نجحت بالفوز في الحرب على إيران، بعد النجاح في تحييد حزب الله، وبالتالي ضمان أمن «إسرائيل» أثناء الحرب على إيران، فلن تتردد بالارتداد نحو حزب الله لتدفيعه ثمن انتصاراته على «إسرائيل» وتغيير معادلات الردع التي بناها بوجه القوة الإسرائيلية، بعدما تكون إيران قد هُزمت وتمّ تغيير المناخ المعنوي والنفسي والمادي لظروف خوض الحرب على حزب الله، فيصير تحييد حزب الله وعبره لبنان مجرد تكتيك حربي مؤقت لجدول أعمال الحرب لا يقع في حبائله ولا يصدّقه إلا الأغبياء، الذين يربأ حزب الله بنفسه وباللبنانيين أن يُحسَبوا من ضمنهم.

– في حسابات حزب الله، معادلة واضحة لقوانين الحرب والسلم في المنطقة عنوانها، أن أمن «إسرائيل» هو الذي يدفع أميركا لخوض الحروب وهو الذي يجعلها تعيد النظر بخيارات الحروب، وأنه كما في الحرب على سورية، في الحرب على إيران، سؤال الأميركيين الأول، هو هل يرد احتمال أن يقوم حزب الله بتعريض أمن «إسرائيل» للخطر، فإن كان الجواب إيجابياً عدلت واشنطن عن الحرب وإن كان العكس مضت بها وإليها، وفي حسابات حزب الله أن واشنطن التي شكّل التحريض الإسرائيلي أحد الأسباب في حملتها العدائية لإيران نظراً لما للتأثير الإسرائيلي على معادلات القوى الناخبة في واشنطن، ستتأثر بما تتلقاه من الرأي العام الإسرائيلي حول خيار الحرب على إيران، وبالتالي فإن تهديد الأمن الإسرائيلي بأكلاف عائدات الحرب وجعل ذلك قضية الرأي العام الأولى في كيان الاحتلال يتكفّل بجعل التحريض الإسرائيلي لواشنطن معكوساً، فبدلاً من معادلة «اضربوا إيران كمصدر خطر على أمن إسرائيل كي نقف معكم»، يصير «لا تغامروا بأمننا في حرب مع إيران سندفع نحن ثمنها إن كنتم تريدون أن نقف معكم».

– معادلة حزب الله أنه لن يكون محيداً ومعه لبنان إذا قررت واشنطن الحرب على إيران، إلا مؤقتاً ضمن خطة تكتيكية للفوز بالحرب بكل مراحلها، ومنها مرحلة القضاء على حزب الله بعد الفوز بالحرب على إيران، وأن طريق منع الحرب على لبنان يبدأ من منع الحرب على إيران، وطريق ذلك واضح، جعل أمن «إسرائيل» في كفة موازية للحرب على إيران، وهو ما يضمنه التهديد بدخول حزب الله على خط الحرب، الذي يضمن على الأقل وبكل تأكيد تحفيز الرأي العام الإسرائيلي لرفض المغامرة بالحرب، فعدم الحياد من الحرب هو طريق تحييد لبنان من الخطر.

Related Videos

Related News

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

Graphic Designers to Support Palestinian Right of Return

Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:16

Graphic Designers to Support Palestinian Right of Return

TEHRAN (FNA)– Graphic designers from around the world will take part at the first “Return of the Century” international graphic workshop in Iran to support the cause of the Palestinian people’s right to return to their own land.

Secretary of the International Union of Unified Ummah (IUUU) Alireza Komeili said on Monday morning that the first iteration of the international poster workshop is slated to kick off in Iran’s Eastern city of Mashhad this week.

“The workshop seeks to promote an artistic confrontation to Americans’ insolence in backing Israel and floating the dangerous idea of the ‘deal of the century’,” Komeili said.

The event will be held in a bid to raise awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestine and US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century” which is designed to do away with the Palestinian people’s right to return to their own land.

According to Komeili, the three-day event will focus on the three main issues of the “deal of the century”, Arab countries’ normalization of ties with Israel and America’s recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s so-called capital.

The workshop will be attended by graphic designers from 12 countries, including 30 artists from Iran.

Komeili said 40 posters will be selected at the end of the event to be showcased by pro-Palestinian groups around the world on the Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe) as well as the International Quds Day.

On Sunday, A senior leader of the Hamas resistance movement stated that Palestinians will never agree to Trump’s controversial proposal for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, dubbed “the deal of the century”.

Addressing a national meeting of the leaders of Palestinian political factions in Gaza City on Saturday, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas political bureau, stressed that Hamas would make use of all its potential and capabilities to confront the American scheme, calling for unity among Palestinian parties in the face of the plot, presstv reported.

“We are able to achieve national unity and run our Palestinian homeland without much effort if there is great will and genuine intention. Our nation is utterly determined to protect the Palestinian cause. It is steadfast to deal with the deal of the century, no matter what the challenges or sacrifices could be,” Haniyeh pointed out.

He added, “The Palestinian nation will remain in the occupied territories and confront arrogance until we achieve freedom and independence.”

Haniyeh further warned that Washington was determined to liquidate the Palestinian cause through the so-called deal of the century.

He pointed out that the US attempted to completely destroy the Palestinian cause through rejection of Palestinian refugees’ right of return, abolition of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, giving green light to Israel’s official annexation of settlements in the occupied West Bank, and fomenting political rift between the Palestinian factions based in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Haniyeh underlined that the political agenda of all Israeli parties was based on this ideology: “No to the return of Palestinian refugees, no to the establishment of a Palestinian state and no to al-Quds as the capital of Palestine.”

The senior Palestinian official then said Hamas was ready to enter talks with other Palestinian factions to form a national unity government.

Haniyeh reiterated that Palestinian land belonged only to Palestinians and that they would not give an inch of it to the occupying regime of Israel.

The Hamas official also called on all Palestinians across the world to stand against Washington’s so-called deal of the century.

Haniyeh finally urged all Arab leaders to stop normalization of diplomatic ties with Israel.

Trump’s so-called “peace plan” has been dismissed by Palestinian authorities ahead of its unveiling at the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the formation of the new Israeli cabinet, most likely in June.

Speaking in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in mid-April, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh lashed out at Trump’s initiative, asserting that it was “born dead.”

Shtayyeh noted that negotiations with the US were useless in the wake of the country’s relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, which Palestinians consider the capital city of their future state.

Related News

Clash of Civilizations 2.0 Sponsored by Prince and Bannon

Wayne Madsen
April 26, 2019
Bannon, Prince, and other far-rightists are now attempting to impose on their followers and fellow-travelers the same sort of “groupthink” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels applied to Germany.

Blackwater mercenary company founder Erik Prince and the self-appointed leader of Fascist International, Steve Bannon, have joined forces and dusted off the old discredited neo-conservative theory of “Clash of Civilizations,” to threaten global stability with religious and ethnic nationalism.

One of the more important revelations in former Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 election is the close working relationship Bannon established with Prince. Sensing fertile political ground for their far-right beliefs, Bannon and Prince have established, under the aegis of their professed Catholicism, a movement that threatens both the current pope and the European Union.

The Clash of Civilizations was the main tenet of Harvard University’s Samuel P. Huntington. Huntington also defended the pro-fascist Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico and the military dictatorship of Brazil. Huntington was also a champion of South Africa’s apartheid state and advocated its “reform” rather than its abolishment. Huntington’s approaches to Latin American immigration into the United States serves a basis for the draconian anti-immigration policies of Donald Trump and his “immigration czar,” Stephen Miller. Huntington saw Europe and Western Europe, including Croatia and Slovenia, along with Australia and New Zealand as a “core civilization” against the rest of the world. Huntington made it a point to exclude from the core civilization the Christian Orthodox nations of the Balkans, including Greece, as well as Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia.

To advance political domination by far-right political parties and politicians, Bannon has been busy establishing a training academy for far-right wing Christian zealots at the Trisulti Charterhouse in Collepardo in central Italy. Bannon has admitted that he is following George Soros’s global playbook. Instead of a neo-liberal global network, like that of Soros, Bannon is creating a far-right political movement in Europe that will extend its tentacles around the world, primarily in Huntington’s “core civilization” countries plus Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. With his political group, called “The Movement” in operation in Brussels and targeting upcoming European Parliament elections, Bannon has taken advantage of a schism within the Roman Catholic Church to convincing those opposed to Pope Francis I to permit him to set up shop in the 13th century monastery in Collepardo.

Bannon is clearly setting the stage for a revised “clash of civilizations” between Judeo-Christianity and the rest of the world. Fascism is seen as the preferred political system for the Western “core.”

Bannon’s colleague in the 2016 Trump campaign, Michael Ledeen, the notorious neo-conservative, wrote a book in 1972 that promotes the fascist political philosophy. Titled “Universal Fascism: The Theory and Practice of the Fascist International, 1928–1936,” Ledeen describes in glowing terms Mussolini’s efforts to create an international Fascist movement in the late 1920s and early 1930s. According to an interview Ledeen gave to the neo-con “National Review” in 2002, the Ledeen Doctrine boils down to the following credo: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” Mussolini’s template has largely been adopted by Bannon, who, still has, along with arch neo-con national security adviser John Bolton, still have Trump’s ear on foreign policy.

Bannon is attempting to purge the nexus of his Judeo-Christian core civilization of perceived enemies, who include Vatican loyalists of Pope Francis. Bannon – in cooperation with the extremely conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke and former Pope Benedict XVI – has been waging a political jihad against Pope Francis. Bannon believes the current pontiff to be a dangerous liberal and a “Cultural Marxist,” who supported many of President Barack Obama’s policies. Bannon and a right-wing Catholic group close to Burke, the Institute of Human Dignity, or Dignitatis Humana Institute, which runs Bannon’s new headquarters at the Trisulti Abbey, opposes Francis’s goal of avoiding a “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam.

Bannon, in cooperation with Cardinal Raymond Burke and former Pope Benedict XVI, has been waging a war against Pope Francis I. Bannon sees Francis as a dangerous liberal and a “Cultural Marxist,” who supported President Barack Obama’s policies. Bannon and a right-wing Catholic group close to Burke, the Institute of Human Dignity, or “Dignitatis Humana Institute,’ which owns Bannon’s new headquarters at the Trisulti Abbey, opposes Francis’s goal of avoiding a “clash of civilizations,” particularly one between Christianity and Islam.

Bannon’s financial firm, Bannon & Company, is investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, believed by many financial experts to be a giant scam. Cryptocurrencies are favored by neo-Nazis and fascists to fund their activities without the worry of financial surveillance from bank regulators and financial intelligence agencies. Bannon, as a former Goldman Sachs executive, understands how to avoid financial network roadblocks.

One of the mandatory studies at Bannon’s academy for neo-Nazis will most certainly be on the works and thoughts of Julius Evola (1898-1974), a far-right Italian philosopher, who provided the inspiration for several fascist terrorist attacks in Italy during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, including the deadly Bologna central rail station bombing in 1980. Bannon is a promoter of Evola’s doctrine, which is known as Traditionalism. The followers of Evola are called the “Children of the Sun” and they include adherents of two leading neo-Nazi parties in Europe: Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary. Other Traditionalist philosophers, all of whom dabbled in Indo-European Aryan occultism and, to varying degrees, embraced fascism in the interwar years, include Romanian Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), French/Egyptian René Guénon (1886-1951), and Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) Ananda Coomaraswamy (1887-1947).

US neo-Nazi leader and “alt-right” term creator, Richard Spencer, a college friend of Trump’s anti-immigration czar, Stephen Miller, is also a follower of Evola. Evola’s writings were an inspiration to Benito Mussolini Fascist movement and Heinrich Himmler’s Schutzstaffel (SS). Evola even visited SS headquarters in Germany to proselytize his philosophy of fascism to the SS rank and file.

Bannon’s and Prince’s intertwined political finances were exposed during the 2016 presidential campaign. Prince donated some $150,000 to the pro-Trump PAC “Make America Number 1 in 2016.” In turn, the PAC funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cambridge Analytica and Glittering Steel, a video production company. Bannon co-founded both companies. Bannon was also buoyed by generous funding from hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. Currently, with a seemingly endless supply of funds, Bannon is waging a far-right insurgency in Europe involving neo-Nazi, fascist, and right-wing Catholic organizations close to Opus Dei.

Erik Prince abandoned the conservative Calvinism of his auto parts-manufacturing wealthy father to embrace Catholicism, Opus Dei, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – based in Rome and a rival-laden headache for Pope Francis – and the Legionnaires of Christ. Opus Dei was founded by Spanish priest Josemaría Escrivá in 1928 as a pro-fascist and pro-Francisco Franco answer to the more liberal-minded Jesuits. It is noteworthy that Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, is currently experiencing a virtual civil war within the catholic Church and Vatican hierarchy, spurred on by the likes of Bannon, Prince, former Pope Benedict, and other right-wing members of the College of Cardinals.

Bannon, Prince, and other far-rightists are now attempting to impose on their followers and fellow-travelers the same sort of “groupthink” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels applied to Germany. In his seminal work, Yale University professor Irving Janis summed up “groupthink,” particularly how groups can, conversely to bringing out the best in people, also bring out the worst. Janis’s 1982 book, “Groupthink,” describes the phenomenon by quoting 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” Europe’s current fascination and widespread support for political parties that were largely banned and shunned after the Nazi defeat in 1945 have created an environment where Bannon, Prince, and their collaborators find ready audiences for their extremism. In such climates, a strategy of tension permits a clash of civilizations, which is nirvana for the neo-cons and extreme right.

The recent deadly Christchurch mosque attacks appear to have been the first act in a strategy of tensions conflict being waged by the far-right. The Easter Sunday bombings of churches in Negombo, Batticaloa, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, as well as three five-star hotels in Colombo – killing well over 300 people, were reportedly claimed by a hitherto unknown group called the National Thowheed Jamath or National Monotheism Organization. Sri Lanka’s government alleged the attacks were in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque bombings. Some things are known about the group claiming it carried out the attacks in Sri Lanka. It is not connected operationally to either the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, although the Islamic State made unverifiable claims of responsibility. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand’s intelligence has no indication that the Sri Lanka attacks were in retaliation for the Sri Lanka attacks. It should be noted that New Zealand, as a member of the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance, has access to countless communications intercepts.

While flames leaped from Paris’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, a fire broke out at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest shrine. In the weeks preceding the Notre Dame fire, vandals broke into Notre-Dame-des-enfants in Nîmes, France and smeared excrement on the crucifix and walls of the church. In March, a fire broke out at another famous Paris church, Saint-Sulpice. In February, a fire broke out in Lavaur Cathedral in Lavaur, France. That fire was preceded by vandalism of Saint Nicolas in Houilles and Saint Nicolas in Maisons-Laffitte in Yvelines.

Arson also destroyed three African-American churches in Opelousas, Louisiana. The son of a sheriff’s deputy was arrested for arson. Louisiana has recently been the scene of renewed activities by Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

All of the incidents – in New Zealand, Sri Lanka, France, and Louisiana – those confirmed as terrorism and those for which the jury is still out, should be viewed through the lens of the strategy of tensions and a final showdown between Christianity and Islam advanced by Bannon, Prince, and their supporters in Brussels and the Trisulti monastery.

The world has seen this particular play before. From the late 1960s to the 1980s, over two thousand people died in terrorist attacks blamed mainly on left-wing terrorists, including the Italian Red Brigades and West German Red Army Faction. The victims included the former Christian Democratic Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro. The deadliest attack was the bombing of the Bologna rail station in 1980. Originally, there was an attempt to blame all the attacks, mostly bombings, on the left-wing groups. In fact, most of the attacks were carried out by neo-fascist groups hoping to have the Communists blamed. Inquiry commissions later determined that the neo-fascists and far-left groups all had links to the Central Intelligence Agency – which once employed Erik Prince’s Blackwater as a contractor – and the intelligence services of NATO members. It was the late Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, who revealed the name of the sinister association of NATO spies and false flag terrorists: Gladio.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Deal of the Century: The Zionist-American Religion Trading

 

By Ihab Shawqi – Egypt

The Arab media chose to ignore the details of a recent visit to occupied Palestine by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo despite their unprecedented scope and gravity. These details include a tour by Pompeo and “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of occupied al-Quds and the tunnels located underneath the Old City’s Muslim quarter. In an underground center tasked with preparing for the construction of the supposed Jewish temple over the ruins of al-Aqsa, the two men watched a virtual reality recreation of the structure. The videos of the visit are available and can be seen by everyone. Pompeo was seen signing papers that were said to be an agreement on the establishment of the temple. However, this cannot be confirmed since he may have been merely signing the so-called guest book. Still, the actual visit and his inspection of the structure model are documented and confirmed.

In a sit-down with the Christian Broadcasting Network during the visit, the interviewer Chris Mitchell noted that “Israel” was celebrating the Purim holiday.

“Esther, 2,500 years ago, saved the Jewish people with God’s help from Haman,” he said, in reference to the Persian Empire. Mitchell then asked Pompeo “could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people?” Pompeo replied that “as a Christian I certainly believe that’s possible.” He then went on to say “I am confident that the Lord is at work here.”

Here, we are not discussing the matter from a religious point of view, but rather from a political standpoint – perhaps from the standpoint of “trading with religion” in politics. David Ben-Gurion has said “‘Israel’ has no meaning without Jerusalem [al-Quds] and Jerusalem [al-Quds] has no meaning without the Temple.”

Al-Quds and its religious centrality is a strategic treasure for any occupying force to legitimize the occupation. However, annexing al-Quds without the temple does not give justification to the Zionist occupier. Besieging and fighting Iran do not seem convincing enough without conjuring up the Purim holiday and saving the Jewish people from the Persians. This as the American bias transcending all international laws and customs cannot be justified without conjuring up religion and Queen Esther “the messenger of the Lord to the Jews”!

Here, we can discuss the so-called deal of the century and try to analyze its background and objectives. According to all the leaks, there are disparities that can only be relevant for two reasons. The first is its frequent occurrence in the leaks, and the second is its uniformity with the evidence, practices and statements. We can monitor the common aspects between these leaks then try to deduce and analyze the links between them as well as the hidden objectives. As for the common aspects between these leaks, they can be outlined as follows:

  1. The two-state solution and possibly preparations for a long-term solution under certain conditions have taken a back seat.
  2. Resolving the issue of al-Quds as the capital of the “Israeli” enemy. There may be a discussions regarding the status of the Islamic holy sites and placing them under the supervision of a joint Palestinian-Jordanian body.
  3. Resolving the issue of control over the West Bank in general by securing the entrances and exits for the “Israeli” enemy, as well as the issue of “Israeli” control over settlements and villages inhabited by the Zionists, with a kind of autonomy given to the rest of the West Bank, but under Zionist control.
  4. Linking the West Bank to Gaza via a land route, while putting Gaza under the rule of the Palestinian authority when it is retrieved from Hamas.
  5. The talk about financial aid packages instead of US preemptive measures to stop UNRWA funding for the Palestinians.
  6. The talk about recognition of the “Israeli” entity by the Arab states.

These are perhaps the more common aspects between the many leaks. Some of which are related to land exchanges with neighboring countries such as Jordan and Egypt. There are other details that are exaggerated and unreasonable, despite all the official Arab mistakes, weaknesses and the sheer slacking off. The full picture will be revealed once the deal is officially announced.

As for the links between these common aspects, they can be outlined as follows:

First: Washington’s preemption policy. It is a kind of coercive diplomacy characterizing the Trump administration. This preemption policy is represented in the transfer of the US Embassy to occupied al-Quds, the cessation of UNRWA funding and the recognition of the annexation of the occupied Golan to the Zionist enemy. Thus, the move is the preemptive closure of the debate over the situation of the Golan and al-Quds. It is also a kind of starvation, creating a carrot for the Palestinians represented in aid packages when the deal is accepted.

Second: Most of what has been leaked regarding the deal is a practical reality. The enemy controls the security situation in the West Bank and al-Quds. The intention, however, is to legitimize this reality and cut the road of the resistance. Thus, resisting this situation would be considered contrary to agreements and an illegal rebellion.

Third: This point is perhaps most important and the main purpose of the deal. The official recognition of the Zionist state. Simply, this recognition puts any opposing state, here specifically Iran and the axis of resistance, in an odd political situation. The axis would appear to be opposing international legitimacy after all the Arabs, whose central cause over the past century has been Palestine, recognized the legitimacy of “Israel”. This introduces us indeed to a new and different century where the Zionists are being recognized while those who are not recognized are considered illegitimate. Perhaps this is the secret behind naming this suspicious deal as the Deal of the Century.

Therefore, we are heading towards a process of legitimizing difficult and practical situations. This is a new attempt to isolate the resistance in a way that it appears to be violating international legitimacy as well as new situations on the ground threatening al-Aqsa Mosque in order to resolve the dispute over al-Quds since the existence of Islamic holy places is a pretext for the Palestinians to fight for “Israel’s” eternal capital.

This is a very serious matter. This deal may follow the method of gradualism and imposing the reality step-by-step. It all depends on time, more humiliating Arab concessions, and weakening the resistance due to the siege and political isolation.

Perhaps these are the Zionist-American calculations. But the resistance has its own calculations and responses. The Palestinian people also have their appropriate response. Meanwhile, absent from the scene is the role of the rest of the Arab and Islamic peoples. We hope that this role returns before the reclaiming of rights becomes more costly.

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.

The Israeli and the Palestinian tracks المساران «الإسرائيلي» والفلسطيني

The Israeli and the Palestinian tracks

أبريل 9, 2019

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Few days ago before the missiles fell on Tel Aviv and the heroic qualitative Salfit operation, one of the settlers in the courtyard of the Al Aqsa Mosque described the Palestinians as cowards made of sugar and that they did not go to the Al Aqsa Mosque for fear of solving by rain, few days later those made of sugar bombed Tel Aviv with missiles that transcended the iron dome, and few days later a Palestinian youth stabbed a Zionist soldier and disarmed him, then he shot him with that weapon along with number of soldiers and killed three of them. The Palestinian and the Israeli tracks seem contradictory comparing with the past decades. In the past the big talk was by the Palestinians while the big act was done by the Israelis, now the big talk is by the Israeli rulers and settlers while the big acts are done by the Palestinians.

In the past two decades, since the year 2000 the Palestinian and the Israeli tracks were opposite, When Israel was obliged to withdraw without return or negotiation from the South of Lebanon, and the uprising of Al Aqsa Mosque the track was upward in favor of the Palestinians versus a declining Israeli track. Then the liberation of Gaza Strip in 2005 and the Israeli failure in the war of July 2006 occurred. Now, we are in the post – international and regional failure stage which Israel was a part of it through the war on Syria and the growing capacities of the resistance axis. Despite the inability of going to wars Israel went to the philosophy of the wall. Therefore, the announcement of a Jewish state through the expression of the philosophy of wall and the transformation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem form an announcement of the inability to go on in any negotiating project that leads to a political settlement, and the inability to go to wars. So although this has been seen as a sign of power but it is a sign of weakness.

Despite the big division, the Palestinians seem closer to each other politically in the consensus on refusing the negotiation, the American role, and the project of the Deal of the Century although these reasons were never been reasons of political or popular division before, despite the understandings between Fatah and Hamas Movements and their partnership in the elections and the formation of the government, while the Israelis despite their apparent difference in the levels of escalation they seem aware of the existential dilemma of their entity represented in the inability to go to war or to make any compromise. All the fronts are close and the tampering in them is expensive as the compromises which are not less expensive.

There have been major transformations in the region, Israel lost the lead, the Palestinians supported by forces, governments, and the resistance axis obtained more elements of initiative, the open clash with the occupying army and the settlers is as the negotiating path; there is no choice among which the Palestinians divide, the Arab and Western ability to revive the negotiation is declining. Therefore, the resistance option is the only way and it proved its ability to get achievements. It is enough to observe the Israeli escape from the involvement in response to Gaza missiles over Tel Aviv to know how the situations changed. After Israel was creating events as pretexts to go to wars it eases the threat of challenges to justify its flee from the confrontations and wars.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

المساران «الإسرائيلي» والفلسطيني

مارس 18, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– قبل أيام على صواريخ تل أبيب وعملية سلفيت النوعية البطولية، خرج أحد المستوطنين في تسجيل من باحة المسجد الأقصى يصف الفلسطينيين بالجبن، باعتبارهم مصنوعين من سكر ولم يخرجوا إلى المسجد الأقصى بسبب المطر خشية الذوبان، وبعد أيام قليلة كان المصنوعون من سكر يقصفون بصواريخ تتخطّى القبة الحديدة وتسقط في تل أبيب، وبعدها بأيام يقوم شاب فلسطيني بطعن جندي صهيوني وتجريده من سلاحه، وإطلاق النار بواسطة هذا السلاح على مجموعة من الجنود فيقتل ثلاثة منهم ويتوارى. ويظهر المساران الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي متعاكسين، يتبادلان الحال العربية الإسرائيلية قبل عقود، يوم كان الكلام الكبير للعرب والفعل الكبير للإسرائيليين، ليبدو اليوم أن الكلام الكبير للإسرائيليين حكاماً ومستوطنين، بينما الأفعال الكبيرة للفلسطينيين.

– خلال العقدين الماضيين، ومنذ العام 2000 سلك المساران الفلسطيني والإسرائيلي اتجاهين متعاكسين، فمنذ إجبار «إسرائيل» على الانسحاب دون مقابل أو تفاوض من جنوب لبنان، ومقابلها اندلاع انتفاضة المسجد الأقصى، بدأ المسار التصاعدي لحساب الفلسطينيين، ومقابله مسار الانحدار الإسرائيلي، وتلاها تحرير غزة عام 2005 والفشل الإسرائيلي في حرب تموز 2006، وها نحن اليوم في مرحلة ما بعد الفشل الدولي والإقليمي الذي كانت «إسرائيل» جزءاً عضوياً منه في الحرب على سورية، وتنامي قدرات محور المقاومة، ذهبت «إسرائيل» نحو تصعيد فلسفة الجدار، رغم كل الصراخ عن القدرة على خوض الحروب، فشكل الإعلان عن دولة يهودية تعبيراً عن فلسفة الجدار، ومثله نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس، إعلاناً عن العجز على السير في أي مشروع تفاوضي نحو تسوية سياسية يعادل العجز عن خوض الحروب، ولو رآه البعض علامة قوة فهو ليس إلا دليل ضعف.

– رغم الانقسام الفصائلي الحاد يبدو الفلسطينيون أقرب سياسياً لبعضهم في الإجماع على رفض التفاوض والدور الأميركي ومشروع صفقة القرن، بصورة لم يسبق أن شكل الموقف من التفاوض ومن نسخ التسوية المعروضة ومن العلاقة مع واشنطن، أسباباً دائمة للانقسام السياسي والشعبي، رغم وجود تفاهمات بين حركتي فتح وحماس وتشاركهما حينها في الانتخابات وتشكيل الحكومة، بينما يبدو الإسرائيليون رغم ظاهر تفرقهم في مستويات الخطاب التصعيدي انتخابياً، مدركين حجم المأزق الوجودي الذي يعيشه كيانهم، والمتمثل بفقدان قدرة الذهاب للحرب أو قدرة الذهاب للتسوية، فالجبهات كلها مقفلة ومخاطر العبث معها مكلفة، والتسويات لا تقل كلفة، وليس في الكيان من يجرؤ على المخاطرة في الاتجاهين.

– ثمة تحولات كبرى جرت في المنطقة، فقدت خلالها «إسرائيل» الإمساك بزمام المبادرة، ومقابلها حدثت تحولات معاكسة امتلك خلالها الفلسطينيون ومن ورائهم قوى وحكومات محور المقاومة، المزيد من عناصر القدرة على المبادرة، حيث الاشتباك المفتوح مع جيش الاحتلال وقطعان المستوطنين، وطريق التفاوض مقفل كخيار يقسم الفلسطينيين، والقدرة العربية والغربية على إنعاش مسار التفاوض تتراجع، وخيار المقاومة يصير طريقاً حتمياً وحيداً، وقد أثبت قدرته على تحقيق الإنجازات، ويكفي النظر في كيفية التهرّب الإسرائيلي من التورط في الرد على صواريخ غزة على تل أبيب لمعرفة تبدل الأحوال الذي نعيش في ظله، بعدما كانت «إسرائيل» تصنع أحداثاً لتتخذها ذرائع لشن الحروب يوم كانت قادرة عليها، صارت تهوّن من خطورة التحديات لتبرير الهروب من المواجهات والحروب، لأنها فقدت هذه القدرة.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Al-Quds International Foundation Calls for Rejecting all Forms of Normalization with Zionist Enemy

Source

Saturday, 09 March 2019 22:26

DAMASCUS- Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban said that Syria’s martyrs who have died in the battle against terrorism and its supporters are the martyrs of Palestine, because targeting Syria is a direct targeting of the Palestinian cause, SANA reported.

Shaaban was speaking at a press conference following the meeting of Al-Quds International Foundation’s board of secretaries at Dama Rose Hotel on Saturday.

Shaaban, the chairperson of the Foundation, said that what the people of the region have faced during the past years aimed to end the conflict with the Israeli enemy and turn it to another direction that serves the enemy’s interests, emphasizing that Palestine will remain the compass guiding the struggle, according to SANA.

She said that the terrorism which hit Syria and is also hitting Yemen, Iraq, and Libya originated from the Zionist enemy that was helping the terrorists, noting that the terrorists seek to fragment the region and carry out the objectives set by the enemy.

Shabban saluted the Palestinian people, captives, children, women, and men who are standing fast in Al-Aqsa Mosque in Palestine.

Members of the Foundation’s board of secretaries called for rejecting all forms of normalization with the Zionist enemy, asserting their support for the Lebanese national resistance and their rejection of all attempts by the Western powers to undermine it.

They called on the Arab and Islamic peoples and international institutions to be aware of the existential dangers facing occupied Al-Quds and the necessity of taking urgent action to support it.

Related Videos

Related News

نبيه بري العربيّ الفلسطينيّ

مارس 5, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– شخصياً لم أتمالك نفسي من الشعور بتيار كهربائي يجتاحني وأنا أسمع دولة رئيس مجلس النواب اللبناني نبيه بري يصدح بصوته الرخيم وتعابيره الجزلة، المكتوب والارتجالي منها، في الكلمة الرسميّة وفي مناقشات البيان الختامي في مؤتمر الاتحاد البرلماني العربي. هو شعور بالفخر ممزوج بشعور بالفرح والثقة بأن دنيانا العربية لا تزال بخير، وأن فلسطين ليست وحيدة، وأن كلمة الحق هي العليا، وأن هناك رجالاً رجالاً بهمم قمم، تنوء تحت حملها الجبال فلا تكلّ ولا تملّ، ولا تقرأ إلا في كتاب الحق، بينما يقرأ ما يتوهّمه الآخرون في كتاب القوة، وقد صار الحق بذاته قوة وصارت له قوة، ويعرف من يعرف أن المقاومة التي يزلزل ذكرها حسابات كبار القادة في كبريات عواصم العالم، قد ولدت في رحم هذا الإيمان، وقد كان لهذا الإنسان القمّة والهمّة البصمة الأساسية والتأسيسية.

– يتحدّث كثيرون ويتفلسفون ويغمزون بعيونهم، فيغمضون واحدة ويفتحون أخرى في الحديث عن علاقة الرئيس نبيه بري بسورية، سورية الرئيس حافظ الأسد، وسورية الرئيس بشار الأسد، ويوهمون لكنهم في الحقيقة يتوهّمون، أنّهم يعرفون ما لا يعرفه الآخرون عن مشاكل تمرّ بها هذه العلاقة، فيتلو النبيه على مسامعهم جميعاً مزاميره، «لا نستطيع الشعور بالمسؤولية تجاه الفلسطينيين وفلسطين ونحن نعزل سورية»، فسورية كانت ولا تزال وستبقى في العقل الذي نظر وينظر من خلاله نبيه بري المناضل والمقاوم، قبل رئيس المجلس النيابي، للمشهد العربي، حيث هي منذ البدايات إلى نهاية النهايات، حيث لا نهايات، فهي قلب العروبة النابض وهي قلعة المقاومة العصيّة على العصر والكسر معاً، وهي عرين أسود لا تُضام، ويكفي أنها القلب في بلاد الشام، وهو لمن لا يعرفون أو لا يعترفون، مع سورية ظالمة أو مظلومة، يجادلها وهي في عزّ سطوتها، حيث لا يجرؤ الكثيرون، من موقع البحث عن مكامن القوة العربيّة وتعزيزها، ونقاط الضعف والوهن وتلافيها، كشريك في الغرم، وليس كباحث عن شراكة في الغنم، لكنه عندما تتعرّض سورية للضيم ويأتي زمن الضراء، يشهر قلبه ويقاتل بشغافه كي تبقى سورية القوية القادرة الحاضرة، وهي مرتع الأحلام وساحة البطولات، وموطن الشهامة والوفاء، يعرفها وتعرفه، كما يعرف السيف غمده، وتعرف القلعة حراسها، وتعرف الساحة فرسانها، وفي الميدان يسرج برّي صهوة جواده ويقتحم، حيث لا يصل إلا صوته، فيُشهره عالياً، سورية مصدر فخركم وبدونها أنتم ذلّ وهوان، فحافظوا على بقايا الشهامة العربية المتهالكة، واحتموا بها، سورية لا تحتاج حمايتكم بل أنتم مَن يحتاجها، علامة أمة لم تُهزَم.

– عندما يتحدّث الرئيس نبيه بري عن فلسطين في خطابه الرسمي فهو لا يفاجئ، لأننا نعرفه، وليس لأن المقال لا يناسب المقام، لكن عندما يناقش بعفويته وتدفقه نصوص البيان الختامي، مداخلاً ومتدخّلاً، تشعر برغبة أن تقفز من وراء الشاشة لتطبع قبلة فخر على جبينه، فيناقش رئيس الجلسة عند فقرة التطبيع، ويقول «هذا البند هو كل المؤتمر سيدي الرئيس»، «لأن التطبيع يعني إزالة الحاجز النفسي بين العرب وبين العدو الإسرائيلي، دون إعطاء أية حقوق للفلسطينيين، نحن نقول ذلك وأمامنا مؤتمر القمة، وأحدد مؤتمر القمة في 2002 الذي دعت إليه المملكة العربية السعودية، فإذا سمحتم تنبّهوا أن هذا البند هو كل المؤتمر»، وعندما يستجيب المؤتمرون لإضافة الفقرة المقترحة برفض التطبيع، وفيها الدعوة لقيام دولة فلسطينية على الأراضي المحتلة العام 67 وعاصمتها القدس، يتذاكى المتزحلقون لنيل الرضى الأميركي بتحفيف مضمون النص، فيقترحون إضافة الشرقية إلى القدس، لتصير القدس الشرقية، فيهمّ بري إلى جواده مجدداً في جولة جديدة يكسبها، فيقول، أنا أقول القدس الشريف ويتلفت حوله منتظراً، ولما يأتي رد متفذلك، يلاحقه بكلمة قائلاً، لماذا نعطي بالمجان، طالما هم لا يعترفون فلماذا نتسابق على الاعتراف؟ ويمسك كلمة ويكتب، ويقول بصوت عالٍ: «نعم، القدس الشريف وينتهي الأمر».

– القضية ليست بأهميّة مصيريّة تقريريّة يتمتع بها مؤتمر الاتحاد البرلماني العربي، بل بأهمية نسخة من المواجهة التي تدار ويتم ربحها، من منصة يسيطر عليها وعلى التفكير فيها، عقل الهزيمة، فيطغى صوت الحق والحقيقة رغم قلة العدد والمال، حيث يجتمع المال والعدد، لأن المهابة التي تجلل صاحب الكلام، فيحضر التاريخ المليء بالنبض العربي الأصيل، فهو نور مبهر، ونصل صقيل، وصوت جهير، وهو في اللغة حقل مزهر، وفي الخطاب نصٌّ جزيل، وفي المضمون كبير وكثير وخطير.

– جولة ربحناها، ربحها نبيهُنا لنا، ربحتها العروبة ليكون الأمل بالغد لفلسطين.

Related Videos

Related Articles

‘Israel’ Bans Top Palestinian Waqf Officials from Al-Aqsa Mosque

By Staff, Agencies

Zionist Police extended illegal bans on top Palestinian officials who oversee occupied al-Quds’ Aqsa Mosque from entering the holy site.

The move, which is destined to escalate tensions, came on Sunday weeks after the Islamic Waqf Council, a religious body appointed by Jordan to oversee the sacred compound, defied a 16-year ‘Israeli’ ban on the Bab al-Rahma building within the site and reopened it to Muslim worshippers.

Following the council’s decision on February 14, head of Islamic Waqf Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhab and his deputy, Sheikh Najeh Bkerat, were briefly detained and hit with a one-week ban.

‘Israeli’ police extended the bans on Sunday by 40 days for Salhab and four months for Bkerat, according to a spokesman for the Waqf Council.

The Zionist occupation authorities shut down Bab al-Rahma in 2003, claiming the site was being used by members of the Islamic Movement in the occupied territories for political activities, an allegation the Waqf Council denies.

Since its reopening, some 100 Palestinian activists and religious figures have been detained “in an effort to put an end to Palestinian defiance of ‘Israeli’ orders”, according to Wafa, a Palestinian news agency

Among them were Arafat Naib, a guard at the Al-Aqsa compound, who was banned from entering the site for six months, and Nasser Qous, a Fatah party official in occupied al-Quds, who was also barred for 40 days.

Related Articles

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.

The Elusive Middle East Peace

December 18, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Subtle news sources coming on the grapevine allude to impending Middle East fresh peace talks. The end of the “War on Syria” will bring serious and realistic opportunities for Russian-sponsored peace talks, and there are direct and indirect hints and leaks made by certain officials here and there, hints and leaks which will become overt and obvious in the near future, culminating into news to the effect that new peace talks will resume.

The Arab/Israeli conflict seems intractable, and every time peace talks loom, we need to remember to examine the root of the problem and consider ways in which the deadlock can be surmounted.

Four decades after Kissinger pushed the USSR out of its position in the Arab/Israeli negotiation talks and made it law for America to defend Israel, the one-sided unparalleled superiority that America provided Israel with was not “good enough” to give Israel the “safe haven” that Zionism promised Jewish migrants with after the horrors of the Holocaust. If anything, the more aggression the state of Israel displayed and the more audacious America was in providing it with impunity, the more determined Palestinians became; and Hamas was the direct outcome of the joint Israeli/American bullying and the Palestinian despair that followed the supposed peace talks of the Oslo Agreement.

In retrospect, Kissinger, the man who gave “shuttle diplomacy” its name, has inadvertently created a deadlocked situation, and in doing so, America has done itself a huge disfavour in the unconditional support it provided Israel with over all those years and has turned itself into a de-facto pariah arbitrator; a mediator that axis-of-resistance Arabs, and all Palestinians in particular, do not trust. In doing so, it kicked itself out of the scene, paving the way for Russia to fill the void it left behind.

On the other hand, Russia is on talking terms with all parties in the Middle East and President Putin personally has good and strong relationships with Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and of course Syria. Furthermore, Putin had all the reasons to sever ties with Erdogan, however the master of pragmatism managed to find a way to mend the rift without losing face, and even though Erdogan has not yet shown any credibility, Putin sees Turkey as a potential key player in the peace process in Syria.

Notwithstanding all of the above, all the American Russophobic rhetoric amounts to nothing, because America and Russia will always be on talking terms.

Briefly put, no entity other than Russia is potentially able to bring all Middle Eastern parties to the negotiation table, and the “hints” speak of such eventuality, come the end of the War on Syria; and this is what Putin wants.

In the meantime, relevant parties will have to accept to come to the negotiation table, and be prepared to negotiate.

It was easy back in 1948 for the Arabs to carry the “push them back” slogan; referring to sending Jewish migrants back to where they came from. More than seven decades after the establishment of Israel, if the Palestinian cause were to maintain the moral upper ground, this “ambition” can no longer apply to second and third generation Jews who were born in the land their forefathers migrated to; albeit those forefathers migrated and settled illegally. By the same token, and most importantly, Palestinians cannot be expected to take the moral upper ground alone without a reciprocal agreement that grants them the long-awaited justice; including the right of return.

And as negotiations mean to give and take, it is interesting to note that the English term is said in this sequence; give and take, rather than take and give, because if a negotiator does not begin with giving, he will not be able to take.

This will be the sticking point because religious hardliners on both Arab and Israeli sides have perfected the art of each claiming to be the rightful and exclusive owner of the Holy Land. As a matter of fact, it was only when the religious spin replaced the national argument of the Arab struggle that a secular fight was taken to theocratic camp and Zionism was, to some degree, able to use history to support its argument. That said, even though Jewish presence in Palestine indeed predates Islam, this does not justify the displacement of Palestinian Arabs, both Muslims and Christians. For Palestinians therefore to win both the humane and religious arguments, the endorsement of an Arab-Palestinian-Levantine identity and carrying its banner is one that cannot be refuted; because it is an all-inclusive definition; including Jews, and one that is moral and timeless.

But let us briefly examine the fundamentalist counter Muslim claim of the ownership of Palestine from a realistic vantage point. Are Muslims the rightful and exclusive owners of Palestine?

Back in 2011, I wrote an article titled “Palestine is not for Muslims”. I had it edited when the UN was voting for a Palestinian state, and now it is time to revise it.

The Quran is a Holy Book and not a real estate title deed. There is no mention of any land rights in the Quran. The city of Jerusalem (Al-Quds in Arabic) is not even mentioned in the Quran. There is however a mention of “Al-Masjed Al-Aksa” which Muslims believe to be in Jerusalem/Al-Quds. This does not make Al-Quds inherently a Muslim city, and even if it did, there is absolutely no reference in the Quran to any Muslim exclusivity.

Speaking of claims of exclusive ownership of Jerusalem, we cannot and should not ignore a time in history during which the Catholic Church was so desirous to take the city from the “infidels”. The “infidels” back then were the Muslims, not the Christians as per the current ISIS terminology; but the congruency in the ideologies behind the definitions is clear.

Speaking of ISIS, when Zionism established the state of Israel, the Zionist aggression was (and continues to be) practised equally against both Arab Muslims and Christians. The anti-Zionist resistance was the Arab Resistance, and it was comprised of both Christians and Muslims. When Fateh was established, it was then meant to be an armed struggle for the liberation of Palestine. George Habash, the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was a Christian.

Back then, the state of Israel was the ideological ISIS equivalent of the time, and the Palestinian resistance was a secular force trying to redeem freedom and secularism. In reality, the ISIS-like stance of Israel did not change at all.

To this effect, ISIS-minded Zionists regarded all Arabs as equally unequal to them, and when they were pillaging the Church of Nativity two decades ago, the West stood back and watched. The world seems to be totally at ease that the state of Israel continues to act as an ISIS; only of different denomination.

As Israel treated both Christian and Muslim Palestinians as second grade citizens, it was only natural for the anti-Israeli resistance to be nationally-based and driven. The slogan of those days was “Al-Quds lil Arab” ie Al-Quds belongs to Arabs. There was even a song with that title. The term Arabs meant back then referred to the inhabitants of the land; ie Muslims, Christians, as well as Jews who refute Zionism.

Suddenly, sometime in the 1980’s, a huge turn of events took place in Lebanon and Palestine almost at the same time.

The 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon was soon followed by a resistance then named the “Lebanese Resistance”. Soon after Hezbollah rose to prominence the name changed to “Islamic Resistance”. In Palestine, Hamas rebunked the anti-Israeli resistance and turned into an Islamic resistance as well. All of a sudden, the struggle against Zionism changed course from a national secular Arab struggle into a religious one.

The biggest losers here are the Palestinian Christians as they are well and truly excluded by both Zionists and fundamentalist Muslims.

It is most ironic that Western Christian Zionists find it so easy to sympathize with Zionism, and at the same time manage to ignore the plight of Palestinian Christians. How ironic! The truth about Christian Zionists is that they are neither Christians nor Jews; they are Zionists, period.

When Islamists make claims of ownership of Palestine in general and of Al-Quds/Jerusalem to be specific, they would be using the same false argument of Zionists; only from their own equally unfounded perspective. Two wrongs do not make it right.

Fair and open-minded Palestinians, especially non-fundamentalist Muslims, need to realise that they have to make loud and clear statements to their policy makers that they refuse fanaticism and bigotry irrespective who the culprit is.

If we refute the ISIS mind, we must refute it in all of its forms, denominations and agendas. Justice cannot be selective any more than one wrong can be undone by another wrong.

Palestine is not for Muslims, nor is it for Jews or Christians; not exclusively. It is for all of them combined, but again not exclusively. Palestine is for its people, and they don’t have to belong to any of the Abrahamic religions. That land is for its people without any favouritism and exclusion. And, if any hard-line, orthodox, fanatic, violent, militant Zionist settlers don’t accept this, justice stipulates it is they who should be made to leave.

So back to President Putin and his hush-hush peace plan. Adversity often brings opportunities, and Putin is quite aware of the historical and geopolitical significance of the present moment.

Russia will most probably be trying to broker a two-state solution that is acceptable by all parties concerned. Realistically however, there is no lasting resolution that can be based on anything other than a one-state resolution in which all citizens have equal rights; just like any other self-respecting nation state. Any resolution short of this outcome is tantamount to endorsing an apartheid-type system.

This brings us back to the give-and-take concept for conflict resolution. Normally, in a negotiation situation, giving is seen to be for losers and taking is for winners, but reality can dictate pragmatic changes in direction; and it has, at least on the Palestinian side.

From the early days during which Palestinians expressed anger and frustration saying they wanted to push back Jewish migrants into the sea and restore the homeland from “water to water” (ie from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River), the Palestinian leadership had to learn from the humiliation of many defeats, numerous let downs from Arab states, the UN and the whole world, to accept to settle for the West Bank and Gaza in lieu of putting an end to armed resistance and acknowledging the state of Israel.

This Palestinian “acceptance” did not come easy and was not endorsed by all Palestinians, but when the PLO went to Oslo with this objective in mind with the expectation of a reciprocal “acceptance” from Israel, the final outcome was more than disappointing.

Israel reached its military height specifically on the 9th of June 1967; the day when Egyptian President Nasser made his resignation speech. At that point in time, Arabs were at their nadir, and with the most humiliating defeat they have endured in history, all they felt they could seek was a withdrawal of Israel to the pre-1967 war borders.

Slowly and gradually, Arabs had to go through the phase of denial of defeat that they were not prepared to accept.

They first demanded the UN for a resolution and managed to gain support for UNSC Resolution 224 which called for the unconditional Israeli withdrawal of Israel from the “occupied territory”. In this, Arab states accepted that the new definition of “occupied territory” meant what Israel managed to occupy during the Six-Day-War of 1967. This was a huge shift, because the original Arab definition of “occupied territory” meant all of Israel. But the Arab forced resignation to the status quo was not enough to persuade Israel into negotiating a land-for-peace deal. Israel was not prepared to give in order to take (peace).

The October 1973 War, aka Yom Kippur War, was a turning point in history. Even though the military gains of Egypt and Syria were not huge, they were big enough to change the course of events; at least psychologically. However, when Egyptian President Sadat signed a unilateral peace agreement with Israel, the Arab World fell into disarray.

In simple and short terms, Arab expectations were dwindling while the Israeli ones were escalating; despite the rise of the new form of anti-Israeli resistance spearheaded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas.

In simple and short terms again, though Israel’s refusal to relent has resulted in creating an Arab camp that is prepared to accept its agenda, it also created another camp that has vowed to fiercely resist any settlement that does not provide justice to the Palestinian people, and this latter group has become battle-hardened and prepared to fight and inflict serious damage to Israel’s might.

The most prominent player here is the Hezbollah military factor that rained rockets on Israel during the July 2006 war, even hitting a frigate, and sees itself more capable in any future escalation. Hezbollah is deeply embedded in the Lebanese society and cannot be uprooted. It sees time to be on its side and it is moving from strength to strength.

The axis-of-resistance is living in the euphoria of the outcome of the July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, the many setbacks of Israel in Gaza and the victory of Syria against all odds.

The resistance side is waiting and poised for further confrontations. Hezbollah therefore will not easily accept any resolution that does not provide it with some real and tangible victory.

Meanwhile, Israel is tooth and nail still hanging on to the euphoria of the outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War. The Israeli side is not yet prepared to accept that time is not on its side. In a nutshell, Israel is not yet prepared to give so it can take (peace).

This will be Russia’s main obstacle in bringing all parties to negotiations on pragmatic grounds. Short of being able to convince Israel to give, Russia may find that the only way for this paradigm shift to happen in the Israeli psyche is through war; and in this case by a resounding Israeli defeat. This is perhaps why Russia is bolstering Syrian defences and specifically air defences. After all, if Israel loses its superiority in the air, and if its ground defences are unable to stop Hezbollah’s rockets, or at least some of them, then the new balance of power will no longer be on Israel’s side.

Now, will Netanyahu’s government, or any other future Israeli government for that matter, be prepared to take the risk of a new military confrontation with the prior knowledge that it has lost its upper hand in the fight? Will Israel accept to sacrifice its citizens in the hope that a new battle will restore its military superiority against all odds? To ask the question in a different way, what punishment does Israel need in order to be brought down to the negotiating table, the agenda of which is to find a way to establish a two-state solution let alone a one-state solution? But once again, Israel is not yet ready to give and take. It won’t return the Golan for any political gain, and it won’t even agree to lift the siege on Gaza.

At this stage, the best outcome to expect from Russian-mediated peace talks, with or without a war, if one is reached at all, is perhaps a two-state solution. This will be a huge step in the right direction, but in reality, such a resolution is nothing more than a disengagement. That said, Sharon’s wall has made it virtually impossible to draw practical border lines for a viable Palestinian state to exist, and thus created a nightmare for any future serious two-state-based peace talks. Whilst walls can be reconfigured, or even better torn down, in the long run, an apartheid two-state solution will always be morally wrong, and at best, should be regarded as an interim step towards establishing one state that ensures equal rights to all of its citizens.

%d bloggers like this: