Specter of new Intifada hovers over West Bank
Muslims in Amman, Jerusalem and several other Palestinian towns demonstrated in protest against a recent Israeli decision to consider two important Muslim shrines in the West Bank as part of a “Jewish heritage list” on Friday March 5th.
In East Jerusalem, known as al-Quds al Sharif or Noble Jerusalem, Israeli occupation troops fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at protesters following the Friday prayers at the Aqsa Mosque.
The Aqsa mosque is considered the third holiest Islamic shrine after the Sacred Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula.
As many as 50 protestors were injured from rubber bullets or gas inhalation. Several people were transferred to the Mutallaa and Maqased hospitals for treatment.
Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli occupation authorities tried to impede the transfer of the inured to hospital in order to arrest them.
An Israeli police spokesperson said two dozen policemen were injured after being hit by stones.
“It is our destiny to be at the forefront of the battle for defending and protecting the Aqsa Mosque. And we shall not flinch from carrying out our duties,” said Saeed, a Jerusalemite Palestinian.
He charged that the ultimate Israeli goal was the demolition of the Aqsa Mosque in order to build a Jewish temple on the Mosque’s site.
“Muslims must never ever allow Israel to attain its criminal goals, irrespective of the consequences.”
In the Jordanian capital Amman, hundreds of people demonstrated against Israeli measures against Islamic holy places. The protesters called for a Jihad against “Jewish Nazism” and for helping the Palestinian people withstand and resist Israeli oppression.
The protestors also torched the Zionist flag, amid slogans calling for waging a holy struggle to liberate Muslim holy places from Zionist hands.
In the southern West Bank town of al-Khalil, also known as Hebron, Israeli occupation troops fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting latest Israeli provocations, including the storming by Israeli occupation troops of the Aqsa Mosque compound.
Hamas’ officials in Gaza called on Muslims worldwide to respond to Israeli provocations.
“The Zionists are trying to desensitize the Muslim public opinion in order to create facts toward the usurpation of at least part of the Aqsa Mosque. Hence, Muslims must take whatever measures it takes to stop and thwart these Zionist designs,” said Ismail Radwan, a Hamas leader based in the Gaza Strip.
He added that the absence of a tangible and proactive Muslim response to Zionist provocations would only embolden and encourage the Zionist regime to escalate its assaults against one of the holiest Islamic shrines the world over.
Meanwhile, crack Israeli police forces shot and seriously injured a Palestinian child at the village of Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah region. The boy, 14-year-old Ehab Barghouthi was shot with a rubber-coated bullet that struck him right above his right eye and entered the skull.
Eyewitnesses said the boy collapsed after an Israeli soldier shot him from a close distance. The boy was transferred to the intensive care unit at the Ramallah hospital where he remained unconscious.
The latest trouble in the occupied territories comes as Israel continues to narrow Palestinians’ horizons in East Jerusalem and as Jewish settlement expansion continues unabated.
Palestinian leaders from across the political and ideological spectrum are increasingly of the opinion that a Third Intifada may well be in the offing.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), which reportedly informally agreed to resume moribund peace talks with Israel, has accused the Netanyahu government of provoking the Palestinian people by tampering with such a sensitive issue as the Aqsa Mosque.
In recent months, the Israeli government allowed extremist Jewish fanatics to hold religious rituals advocating the demolition of the Mosque.
Jordan and several other Arab and Muslim countries have repeatedly urged Israel to refrain from provoking Muslim sensibilities with regard to the Aqsa Mosque, but to no avail.
Jordan, Egypt and other so-called moderate Arab countries are worried that the Israeli policy of provoking Muslims might destabilize their regimes. Hence, the repeated calls on Israel to calm down the situation.
Similarly, the continued Israeli war on Arab demography in East al-Quds is threatening a real uprising. Israeli sources have reported that the Jewish mayor of the occupied city was determined to demolish hundreds of Arab homes in the Silwan neighborhood in order to build apartments and a park for the benefit of Jewish settlers in the area.
The sources said the plan was temporarily suspended due to American pressure. However, the Zionist mayor made it clear that the suspension was temporary and that the plan would be activated as soon as possible.