The Fatah Movement called on Monday for a “day of rage” against increased Israeli security measures in occupied East Jerusalem following a deadly attack on Friday, as Palestinians denounced Israeli forces’ use of violence against them in recent days in the holy city.
After the attack that left three assailants and two police officers — all Palestinian citizens of Israel — dead in and around Al-Aqsa, Israeli forces shut down the compound for two days, only to reopen it on Sunday with heightened security restrictions.
Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi said that Israeli forces assaulted a number of Palestinian worshipers, including women and children, after they performed noon prayers outside the Al-Aqsa compound.
Barghouthi told Ma’an that he and a number of Jerusalemites had performed prayers at the Lions’ Gate leading to Al-Aqsa to express their rejection of heightened Israeli security procedures around the compound — including the installation of metal detectors at the compound’s entrances. He added that Israeli suppression would not break Jerusalemites’ will, and called on all Palestinians to stand with them in support.
Barghouthi also called on Muslim and Arab states to boycott Israel in order to pressure it to cease its aggression against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that Israeli forces removed worshipers at Lions’ Gate following the prayer for allegedly blocking the street.
On Monday evening, Rosenfeld added that Israeli forces had removed residents from the streets adjacent to East Jerusalem’s Old City for similar reasons. “Stones and objects were thrown at police, who dealt with the incident,” Rosenfeld added.
Locals said Israeli soldiers detained a young man, identified as Muhammad Mikhemir, near the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City on Monday. In the village of al-Ram north of Jerusalem, residents also said that Israeli soldiers detained Zuheir Daana after beating him.
Meanwhile, Fatah, the leading party of the Palestinian Authority, declared Wednesday a “day of rage” across the occupied Palestinian territory, adding that Friday prayers would be conducted in public squares in Palestinian cities to denounce Israeli “terrorist procedures” in East Jerusalem.
The moves were decided on during a meeting between Fatah Revolutionary Council secretary Adnan Ghaith, Fatah central committee member Jamal Muheisin, and all Fatah representatives for the northern occupied West Bank.
Muheisin stressed the necessity to support Jerusalemite Palestinians facing “fierce and organized attack” by Israeli forces, and called for a return to the status quo at Al-Aqsa. He added that Israel was attempting to divide the Al-Aqsa compound between Jews and Muslims — a fear echoed by Palestine representative to the Arab League Jamal al-Shubaki.
Al-Shubaki told official Palestinian news agency Wafa on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was seeking to change the status quo in Jerusalem and divide Al-Aqsa into Jewish and Muslim sections — as happened in Hebron following the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre.
Following Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. However, non-Muslims are permitted to visit the site during designated times.Palestinians have long feared that Israel has been attempting to shake up the status quo at the holy site, in the shape of routine Jewish incursions on the site and right-wing Israeli calls to demolish the mosque and replace it with a third Jewish temple.[Source: Ma’an News agency]