Residents of the city of Jerusalem continue to perform their prayers in the vicinity of al-Aqsa Mosque for the fourth day in a row to protest against the Israeli occupation authorities after they deployed electronic gates around the mosque. They no longer have access to the mosque unless they go through these gates, and this has provoked clashes between Palestinian youths and members of the Israeli occupation forces that caused many injuries among the Palestinians.
The use of these electronic check gates is a measure that has followed the closure of the mosque doors in front of worshipers for the first time in 50 years. This is supposed to be a preamble to the “Reunification of Jerusalem” bill that will be voted on next week.
Israel Fears an Angry Friday
After al-Aqsa Mosque has been reopened for the worshipers last Sunday, the Jerusalemites started to meet for prayers outside it, and it is this move that provoked the anger of the occupation forces and led to confrontations between them and the worshipers.
The clashes reached a climax last night when the occupation forces attacked worshipers in Lion’s Gate area during Isha prayer, which resulted in wounding dozens of them including al-Aqsa’s Mosque Imam, Ekrima Sabri.
According to Palestinian mass media, the numbers of worshipers are increasing daily, and this aims at gathering the maximum number of people to have a stronger say as regards their rejection of the decisions taken by the Israeli occupation forces that have resulted in emptying the mosque from worshipers for the fifth day in a row.
Dozens of Christian clerics and Arab members of the Knesset also flocked to express their solidarity with the worshipers and reject Israeli attempts to Judaize Jerusalem and al-Aqsa Mosque.
Meanwhile, the occupation authorities are appalled by the calls launched by the Department of Awqaf in Jerusalem to close all mosques next Friday and gather all the worshipers and Imams in Jerusalem around al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers.
Very Reticent Arab Solidarity
Despite the circulating news in the media about a Saudi Royal mediation to reopen al-Aqsa Mosque, such mediation, for Palestinians, was fruitless and did not meet their demands, especially after the restrictive procedures that have been imposed on them upon entering the mosque.
The Jordanian government also issued a statement declaring that it opposes the closure of al-Aqsa, and demanding Israel not to change the historical status of Jerusalem.
Similarly, the Tunisian parliament has “strongly” condemned the Israeli attacks targeting al-Aqsa Mosque and called on the official authorities to take a decisive position on the matter.
As for the popular reaction, no significant movements that are really worth mentioning have been recorded in Arab cities, whether demonstrations, protests or solidarity sit-ins.
A Key Battle
The “Reunification of Jerusalem” law that has been recently ratified by Israel’s Ministerial Legislation Committee states that it has to be voted on today following its preliminary reading.
It also states that any negotiations over the division of Jerusalem and the withdrawal from its eastern part will have to be ratified by a majority of 80 out of a total of 120 Knesset members.
Through passing this resolution Israel will maintain control over the entire city of Jerusalem, which would tighten Israel’s grip on the city and al-Aqsa Mosque despite the international resolutions that define the eastern part of the city as an Arab section.
As a result, the residents of the city will have to fight their key battle against this Israeli project, which could change the international stature of the city and thus exert even more pressure on its people and consolidate Al-Aqsa Judaization plans.