Palestine Updates 58
As Al Aqsa crisis escalates, Apartheid Israel dangerously poised for pariah status
Thousands of Palestinians travel to Jerusalem to perform the most uncomplicated, most peaceful act: prayer. Palestinians – Muslims and Christians, women and men, young and old – have recently prayed in the streets after refusing to enter through the new metal detectors and barricades erected by Israel in front of the al-Aqsa compound. Israeli forces, armed with live ammunition, stun grenades, sound bombs, water cannon and tear gas, come prepared to kill peaceful worshipers.
On a single day last week, Israeli forces and armed settlers had killed three young Palestinian men and injured more than 450 others, many severely. Israeli forces attempted an incursion into a Palestinian hospital to arrest the injured.
For years, Israeli prime ministers have not fallen short on their rhetoric pledging to Jerusalem’s eternal unification. Their irrational methods have achieved the opposite. The barricades that Israel erects provide political ammunition to the Palestinian claim that the city was never ever unified under Israeli rule. Pompous declarations by Israel’s leaders about taking tough measures against terrorism and restoring security to Jerusalem, and sticking to them have not dissuaded Palestinians from their stubborn defense of their religious rights. Metal detectors have provoked determination that is mounting at a stunning pace and resolve. Palestinians will not cave in no matter what. They are determined not to allow Israel to create facts-on-the-ground. It is, to them, a question of dignity.
Tensions continue to simmer in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Hundreds of Israeli police officers patrolled East Jerusalem and the Old City and clashed with residents throughout the city. Through it all, Christians and Muslims have demonstrated unity as affirmed in the words of Archbishop Atallah Hanna: “As everyone knows the Palestinian people are united against the occupation and racism… It is our duty as Palestinian Christians and Muslims to remain united against Israel’s greed, which targets all of us.”
The world watches Israel’s insolence and a UN Security Council meeting will hopefully come up with firm conclusions that deter Israel from moving ahead unimpeded.
Is Israel becoming a rogue state and is the international community totally powerless to rein it in? As Richard Falk wrote in 2016: “Israel is increasingly in the position that apartheid South Africa found itself in during the late 1980s. It is not only a rogue state; it is quickly becoming a pariah state”.
Archbishop Atallah Hanna: Palestinian Christians, Muslims united
Head of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church says Christians support protests against recent Al-Aqsa restrictions
The image of a Palestinian Christian reading from his bible while the crowd of Muslim worshippers he stood among prostrated themselves on the ground, or Christian clergy joining their Muslim counterparts at the head of processions, have been widely shared during the past week of unrest over one of Jerusalem’s most important holy sites.
During more than a week of tension over new Israeli restrictions on access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna has been among the most vociferous in his support of unity between Palestinian Christians and Muslims. “It is our duty as Palestinian Christians and Muslims to remain united against Israel’s greed, which targets all of us,” he told Anadolu Agency as he mingled with the crowds gathered for prayers outside the walls of Islam’s third-holiest mosque. “As everyone knows the Palestinian people are united against the occupation and racism,” he said.
Palestinian Muslims have refused to enter the mosque because of new metal detectors installed at its entrances following a gun attack that killed two Israeli police officers and three Palestinians.
Read more in AA Turkey
Christians-Muslims unite in Bethlehem protests to defend Al-Aqsa
Those targeting Al Aqsa are also targeting Christian religious sites
Dozens of Christian and Muslim Palestinians gathered yesterday in front of the Nativity Church in Bethlehem, south of the West Bank, to protest against Israeli violence at the Al- Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The participants lifted banners demanding Israel remove all obstacles it had installed outside the entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Today we stand in front of the Nativity Church, the cradle of Jesus Christ to say there is no difference between Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There is no difference between the gates of Al-Aqsa and the gates of the churches of the Holy Sepulchre and the Nativity,” said Jalal Barham, spokesman for the Arab Orthodox Youth Caucus. “We affirm that we are one people, and our history is one – Muslim and Christian, our people will not accept [this]. We will continue to fight for the freedom and dignity of our Islamic and Christian sanctities.”
Read full story from Middle East Monitor
Israel to back down on security measures at Haram aal-Sharif
Religious leaders call on international community to apply ‘political and legal pressure’ to prevent change in Jerusalem status quo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced mounting pressure over new security measures at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site after a weekend of violence left eight people dead, as religious leaders called on the international community to support the status quo in Jerusalem.
Israeli officials signaled they may be open to changing the measures at the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, after the installation of metal detectors at entrances following an attack that killed two policemen stoked Palestinian anger. A group of religious figure, including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, called on the international community to apply “political and legal pressure to stop the violation of our holy places, against our people people and mainly against the al-Aqsa mosque”.
“We confirm our complete refusal for metal doors and all the occupation procedures that could lead to the change in historical and religious status quo of Jerusalem and its holy places especially the Aqsa mosque,” they said in a statement. The metal detectors remained in place on Sunday morning, though cameras had also been mounted near at least one entrance to the compound in Jerusalem’s Old City – a possible indication of an alternative to the detectors.
Read more from Middle Eye
The violence in Jerusalem isn’t about metal detectors, and there is a way out of this – Six things that must be said about the crisis
There can be no justification for murder
Here are six things we need to keep in mind when talking about the quickly spiraling violence we are currently witnessing.
1. There is no, and can be no justification for the murder of families sitting in their homes. It cannot be justified by the occupation or because one happens to live next door to a Hamas police commander targeted by an Israeli missile. There can be no justification.
2. The protests and civil disobedience by Palestinians in East Jerusalem over the past week, which led to a predictable and preventable outbreak of violence over the weekend, are not taking place simply because they don’t like passing through metal detectors… The core issue is the gradual changes Israel is making to the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound, and the establishment of Israeli checkpoints at the entrance to it, where there had previously been no checkpoint.
3. No, it is not accurate to say that “the Palestinians violated the status quo.” An act of violence perpetrated by three people — an act that was condemned by the Palestinian Authority, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, the entire Joint List slate of Arab political parties in Israel – cannot be reasonably blamed on an entire nation… What happened is that Israel altered the status quo, which had been relatively stable for the past 50 years.
4. It was entirely possible to find and implement an alternative security solution, in coordination with the Waqf, instead of setting Jerusalem and the entire area alight. Alternatives were on the table. The warnings to stop the downward spiral were sounded in a week of nonviolent Palestinian protests in Jerusalem, from the White House, from capitals around the region, and even from Israel’s own Shin Bet and military authorities. Instead, the Israeli government decided upon escalation, undermining security, and the deaths of seven (so far) Palestinians and Israelis — all in the name of “security.” It has been suggested by several analysts that internal politics influenced that decision.
5. I feel like I’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of Israelis referring to Palestinians as “animals,” sub-humans,” and “monsters” in recent days. Maybe I’m naïve: maybe that’s always been around. How does one raise children with that type of worldview, in which the only future in this land involves the extinction or expulsion of one of the two peoples who live here?
6. There is a solution here, and not only on the issue of Al-Aqsa and the metal detectors, which if reached with the Waqf and Jordanian authorities could calm things down very quickly. But that is only the beginning.
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Sweden says: UNSC to meet on escalating Israel-Palestinian conflict
The UN Security Council will hold closed-door talks on Monday; diplomats have stated
The US, Russia, EU and United Nations have expressed concern about escalating violence in Jerusalem. The UN Security Council is to hold closed-door talks and called on all sides to “demonstrate maximum restraint.” The meeting will “urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported,” Carl Skau, Sweden’s ambassador to the Security Council, said. Sweden, France and Egypt had all requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss how to deal with the deadliest outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence for years, a Swedish diplomat said.