The First Move
Cries, sounds of shelling and firing, bodies of injured and dead people lying on the ground, and some scenes of brutalities with women and young captives on a sacred day of a religious community. This is not a scene from a movie or a story of the centuries-old crusade; these are the Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem since last Friday of Ramadan – referred to as Jumu’atul-Wida.
People gathered at Al-Aqsa mosque for offering prayer on one of the holiest days of Islam in the most sacred month of Ramzan. After Friday prayers, scores of people started protesting against the unjust occupation of Palestinian land and eviction of Palestinian people from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
On the holy night of Laylatul Qadr, Israeli forces attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque, entering from the Al-Aqsa compound which is known as Temple Mount to Jews, maiming hundreds of worshipers – including minors and even a one-year-old. This was perhaps one of the tensest nights Jerusalem has seen in the past few years.
Protesters met with teargas, rubber-coated bullets, skunk water, arrests, and stun grenades. Social media sites are, allegedly, blocking the content under the “#SaveSheikhJarrah” hashtag and accounts are being suspended. United Nations and many countries – including the states which have recently developed cordial relations with Israel –have condemned the Israeli attack on the peaceful Palestinian protesters.
Israeli occupation and atrocities on the aboriginal people of Palestine date back to 1948 when Zionist gangs coerced the native people to leave their homeland and fly to neighborhood countries. These events are known to Palestinians as “Nakba” – the catastrophe. 28 families settled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after these events, hoping to be safe there, but that didn’t happen.
Earlier this year, the Israeli Central Court approved a verdict to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. This decision of the court sparked outrage among the Palestinians. They maintained that if they do not stand for the rights of other Palestinians, they will also meet the same fate.
Israeli Supreme court was supposed to issue a ruling on the evictions on Thursday, but it had postponed it till May 10 because of escalating tensions in old Jerusalem. The recent clashes between illegal Jewish settlers and indigenous Palestinians caused the Israeli court to adjourn the hearing over evictions of Palestinian families once again. The next hearing of the court is expected within 30 days.
World’s Response to Israel’s Transgressions
Israeli barbarism is facing severe condemnation. United Nations has urged Israel to immediately call off any forced evictions and has warned Israel that its actions could amount to “War Crimes”. UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville apprised the reporters that as per international law, the occupying power cannot confiscate private property in the occupied territory.
The European Nations, in a statement, has also appealed and warned Israel to reverse its decision of advancing settlements in the Har Homa area of the occupied West Bank otherwise it will cause further damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and the Iranian government have also decried the Israeli inhumanity, labeling Israel a “Terrorist State”.
Iran has called on the United Nations and all the relevant international bodies to do their duty by protecting Palestinians from Israeli assaults. President Erdogan has invited all the Muslim countries and Muslims all around the world to stand against this injustice. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and many other Islamic countries have also shown their serious concerns and condemned the Israeli attack on the peaceful and just Palestinian protesters.
The United States of America has also urged both sides to de-escalate the tensions. Meanwhile, Hamas’s military wing leader Mohammed Deif has warned that Israel will pay a heavy price if the attacks on Sheikh Jarrah continue. Responding to the world’s response, Israeli Premier Netanyahu maintained that Israel firmly rejected the build-up of pressure in Jerusalem.
He held the point of view that his state would not allow any riots in the compound that houses Al-Aqsa mosque and is revered by Jews as Temple Mount. The current riots of Palestinians for their legitimate rights and the atrocities of the Israeli government can exacerbate the situation and lead to another intifada which could be more disastrous than the Al-Aqsa intifada.
The failure of the Camp David Summit in July 2000 sparked infuriation among the Palestinians and illegal Israeli settlers. The summit was assumed as an opportunity to reach a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The condition of the area further deteriorated by the visit of Ariel Sharon on 28 September along with hundreds of policemen to the Dome of the Rock compound to declare Israel’s intention of never relinquishing its hold over unified Jerusalem.
Fights between the indigenous Palestinians and illegal Jewish settlers turned into bloody wars. Both sides – Israel and Palestine – hold a different perspective about the causes of war. Israelis maintain that they offered a generous deal to Yasir Arafat, but he rejected it and went back to his home to prepare war against Israel.
As per the Israeli narrative, the intifada was the pre-plan of Yasir Arafat and stated that Palestinians would never accept the Israeli state. Palestinians share numerous narratives about the causes of the second intifada – the first intifada sparked in 1987. The only thing common among these narratives is the nonchalance of the Israeli authorities to conclude a fair and just deal with the Palestinian nation.
The dominant Palestinian perspective states that Israel made offers to which no Palestinian can ever conform. Whatever the causes of the intifada were, one thing that is doubtless is that it proved to be a strategic disaster for the Palestinians. Palestinians paid a heavy price for this intifada, in terms of human suffering and economic devastation because of the lack of statehood. The intifada ushered a cult of martyrdom among Palestinians.
It resulted in suicide bombings which led to the end of the Zionist left in Israel and empowered the Israeli forces in the region. Intifada resulted in a lack of trust between the illegitimate Israeli government and native Palestinians. The only side to bear the brunt was Palestinian after the Al-Aqsa intifada.
If something like the second intifada were to happen this time, the results, unfortunately, will not be different. The reason behind the second intifada and the recent agitation in Jerusalem is the same – Israel’s Zionist ambitions to destroy the third holiest site of Islam and create a third temple.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque on top of Temple Mount is one of the holiest sites in the world for Muslims, Christians, and Jewish people. Jews believe that the area of Al-Aqsa Mosque belongs to them and that there are two Jewish temples in the area collectively known as the Al-Aqsa Compound. As per Judaism, a third temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount by their so-called Jewish Messiah, which they believe would herald the end of the world.
Muslims have always had a widespread fear that Israel would demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a temple in place of it. The official visit of the then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Al-Aqsa compound and the acceptance of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the United States depicts that the US and West stand with the Israelis in their ideology of building the third temple.
It also evinces the rising tide of Islamophobia in the United States. This also reveals why the West does not take any action of put sanctions on Israel over its ‘War crimes’. The frequent attacks of Israeli’s on the Palestinian people and the raids of illegitimate Jewish settlers on the Al-Aqsa mosque – especially the recent storming of Israeli forces – strengthen the notion.
Preventing a Palestinian Holocaust
Israelis are not the only ones responsible for the recent attacks on the defenseless people of Palestine. The Arab countries which have recently recognized and developed cordial relations with Israel despite its atrocities and illegal occupation of Palestine have stabbed the Palestinians in the back.
They share the responsibility of the Israeli courage to assassinate the Palestinian Muslims – fortunately, Pakistan is not among such countries. Israel knows very well that none of the countries and global organizations dare to preclude the Israeli apartheid. United Nations and other relevant global organizations must play their role to stop Israel from committing a Holocaust against Palestinians.
They must shoulder their responsibility to justly resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict and to hamper Israel from killing innocent Palestinians. If the rogue state of Israel is not stopped from the genocide of Palestinians, it could have severe repercussions. The situation could result in the rise of new organizations like Al Qaeda, Hamas, Tehrik e Taliban, and ISIS which would be devastating for the peace of the world.
The blind eye to the oppression and brutalities of Israeli forces and dispossession of indigenous Palestinians is a heinous crime being committed by the purveyors of human rights. This case of the mere rhetoric condemnation of the world against the atrocities on Muslims is not one of its kind.
Muslims have observed similar silence of the West and human rights organizations in past in cases like the genocide of Muslims in Myanmar, and the mushrooming Islamophobia in France. The current scenes of atrocities are a shame for the so-called paragons of human rights and the global institutions established to ensure the security and sanctity of every individual irrespective of caste and creed.
The criminal silence and mere verbal condemnation of the western countries impart the double standards of their liberal values. Tyranny and oppression must not be tolerated at any cost, it is time for the world community to intervene and stop the barbaric acts of Israel in Jerusalem. It is the right time for the whole world to coerce Israel to accept the two-state solution along the 1967 borders, subject to very minor and mutual adjustments.
If this is not done, it could turn into a menace not only for the peace of the Middle East but for the world. Unfortunately, nation-states, and especially the Muslim countries, have failed to provide justice to the innocent Palestinians. What Palestinians are seeking from humanity is not just freedom but a matter of justice.
In this era, when most of the Muslim countries are following a realist ideology and are busy pursuing their national interests, the only hope for Palestinians is, indeed, the help of Allah. People of Palestine know that very well. Israel’s acts of Nazism can also be perilous for globalization and can lure the world into another calamity of destruction of peace and prosperity.
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