TEHRAN (Iran News) –An Israeli Knesset member’s proposal to split Islam’s al-Aqsa Mosque complex between Muslims and settlers has been met with fierce opposition by the Palestinian resistance who say it amounts to a “declaration of war”.
Amit Halevi, a member of the Likud party, which has a slim majority in the Israeli Knesset, has proposed a plan to divide the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied al-Quds between Jewish settlers and Muslims, sparking warnings by the Palestinian resistance.
There has been long-held suspicion by Palestinians and the wider Muslim world of the regime’s plans to Judaize Islam’s third holiest site.
Halevi made the deeply controversial remarks during an interview with a Hebrew-language newspaper, where he outlined a plan that would divide the large complex, in which Muslims would be subjected to the southern end that contains the al-Aqsa Mosque.
All the remaining compound, including the central and northern parts, would be reserved for settlers, including the area where the Dome of the Rock, another very holy Muslim site, is located.
Halevi has also proposed that Jordan’s role as custodians of both the Muslim and Christian holy places in the occupied Palestinian city of al-Quds be replaced with Israeli authority.
“If they (Muslims) pray there, it does not make the entire (al-Aqsa Mosque complex) a holy place for Muslims. It wasn’t and it won’t be,” Halevi said.
Al-Aqsa is not only revered by Muslims across the globe but has also become symbolic of Palestinian culture and their existence.
Over the past years, the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has seen a sharp rise in Israeli settlers storming the compound and performing rituals there in violation of the status quo.
That has sparked clashes between Palestinian worshippers and witnessed Israeli forces brutally beating up women and men protesting against the desecration.
In May 2021, the regime’s attacks and desecration of the Mosque triggered operation “sword of al-Quds”, by the Palestinian resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip, which saw missiles rain deep inside the occupied Palestinian territories targeting critical Israeli infrastructure facilities. Israel responded by indiscriminately bombing the besieged coastal enclave, killing dozens of women and children.
Israel’s occupation of the holy city of al-Quds itself is not recognized by the United Nations, which rejects the grabbing of land through war. Despite this, the world body has done little to defend the oppressed Palestinian people living there.
Halevi also seeks to change the access procedures for Israeli settlers storming al-Aqsa, by demanding that settlers be allowed to enter the complex through all the gates, rather than only through the southwestern Moroccan Gate, which is the only gate out of the mosque’s 15 entry points under the full control of Israeli authorities which no Palestinians can access.
In September last year, Israeli settlers stormed the Mosque through the Lions’ Gate, the first time settlers entered the courtyards of the holy site from the gate since Israel waged another war against the Palestinians and occupied al-Quds in 1967.
The Palestinian resistance factions have warned that any plan to divide al-Aqsa Mosque would be a declaration of war and that Israel would face repercussions for the implementation of any such move.
According to the Palestinian Information Center, the Palestinian resistance groups have published a joint statement that held the “Zionist government responsible for the disastrous consequences of the implementation of any plan to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The statement said that the “Palestinian nation and the resistance will never accept such aggression, even if it requires self-sacrifice”
In another excerpt of the statement, it is emphasized that the remarks by Halevi is “a continuous crime that is being carried out by all the elements of the Zionist regime and it is part of the planned and targeted plans to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, Judaize it and exercise sovereignty over this holy place.”
The Palestinian resistance highlighted that “this act sounds the alarm that the whole nation should fulfill their responsibilities towards this occupation plan against Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The statement also called on all Palestinian resistance groups “to strengthen their presence at the al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings, as well as to increase the level of retaliatory operations and confrontation, in order to stand up against the aggression of the occupation and increase the cost of their criminal actions, and in this regard, to carry out brave operations.”
The resistance groups underscored the importance that the retaliatory operations be expanded to the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948.
Meanwhile, Israel has raided Ramallah in the occupied West Bank to demolish a home of a Palestinian inmate who had carried out a retaliatory operation against Israeli settlers.
The regime’s military, backed by a convoy of some 200 armored vehicles and bulldozers, was confronted by Palestinian youth, who came out of their homes to protest the attack. The Israeli army responded by attacking the protesters with live fire, rubber bullets and a wave of tear gas as well as targeting several journalists, who have sustained injuries.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, one Palestinian has been killed, at least 35 others have been wounded, including at least 20 by live bullets. Two people also suffered serious abdominal wounds while a third was hit by a rubber bullet which penetrated his skull. Israel has been accused of forcefully targeting the journalists to prevent the atrocity from being publicized.
While Israeli raids on cities, towns and villages in the occupied West Bank have now become an everyday occurrence, the all-night raid in Ramallah, where the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority government in the occupied West Bank is located is something rare. Yet it highlights the limits the new Israeli cabinet is willing to cross.
Israel routinely destroys the homes of those it suspects of carrying out retaliatory operations against settlers. The UN views this policy as collective punishment, which is illegal under international humanitarian law.
The regime eventually demolished the home of the Palestinian prisoner Eslam Froukh.
“What the occupation authorities did was a heinous crime,” Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has been cited as saying by the official WAFA news agency. “It turned an entire family overnight into a homeless family.”
The Palestinian Foreign Minister has also condemned the latest house demolition expressing its utter discontent with the international community’s silence over the repeated Israeli crimes against the occupied Palestinian people.
This comes as reports have surfaced that newly formed armed resistance in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin fought off an Israeli military convoy from entering the city.
Reports suggest the regime had carefully planned the operation in a bid to arrest several resistance figures by flying surveillance aircrafts for several days before kickstarting the offensive on Friday morning.
Before the Israeli convoy could enter the soil of Jenin, it was faced with a heavy armed resistance that forced it to halt its operation and withdraw, signaling a new strength of power for the youthful Palestinian resistance in the occupied West Bank. A generation that only took up arms some two years ago.
- source : Tehrantimes