Al-Aqsa: deepening internationalisation of tensions

al aqsa mosque

The Al-Aqsa mosque, in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Islam. The site on which the silver domed mosque sits, along with the Dome of the Rock, is the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif), the holiest site in Judaism, the place where the Temple stood before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. An earthquake destroyed most of al-Aqsa in 1033, but two years later a Shia Fatimid caliph built another mosque which has stood to the present-day. Today, the Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Waqf, a Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic trust.

A few days ago Jack Moore reported in the International Business Times the words of Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel, quoted in the Middle East Monitor; “Ariel told Israeli radio station Kol Berama – controlled by the Jewish extremist movement Shas – the status quo could not continue at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as it ‘was built in the place of the holiest place for Israel’ “.

Ariel added that the construction of a third Jewish temple at the site is the primary demand of the Torah “as it is at the forefront of Jewish salvation”.

The Waqf said that Israeli security forces damaged the mosque’s doors, burnt carpets and broke glass during the confrontation. The Waqf said two people were injured inside the mosque, and that Israeli security forces used foam-tipped bullets, stun grenades and tear gas against protesters.

Ben Lynfield in the Independent and others report that right-wing Israelis, including some members of the Knessett, have increasingly asserted Jewish prayer rights in the al-Aqsa mosque compound which has been an exclusively Muslim prayer area since the seventh century, adding that Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Defence Minister during the 1967 Six Day War, decided to keep it that way after Israel occupied Arab East Jerusalem.

Deepening internationalisation of tensions at the Jerusalem holy site

John Reed in the FT reported that Jordan withdrew its ambassador from Israel on Wednesday after Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinians at al-Aqsa mosque, marking an escalation – and deepening internationalisation – of tensions at the Jerusalem holy site.

Jordan: official complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council

Two days ago Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour ordered the filing of an official complaint against Israel with the UN Security Council. In 1994, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel, unpopular with the Jordanian public, more than half of whom are of Palestinian origin. Abdullah Ensour warned last week that the treaty was under serious threat after Israel temporarily closed the mosque along with other holy sites in Jerusalem..

Since this was drafted, the Middle East Monitor reports that Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu referred, last Friday, to “oppressive regimes and occupiers, at the top of which is the Israeli government”. He pledged to do whatever it takes for Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and Al-Aqsa Mosque. “We have given the required orders; we will launch initiatives everywhere, the UN being the first place in the world for supporting Al-Quds”.

John Reed reported in the FT that Hamas’ al-Qassam military wing said, in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency, “Al-Aqsa is the detonator that will cause a volcano to erupt in Israel’s face.”


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