The first Jumuah at the Masjdul-Quds in Jerusalem in the occupied territories of Palestine has not been met without conflict. The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) spoke to some Palestinians via Skype this week for a first hand analysis on the current situation in the occupied West Bank. This followed the recent alleged revenge attacks by Israeli military on the Gaza strip.
MJC president Maulana Igsaan Hendricks said the ulema body was appalled by the latest round of violence in the volatile region. He called on the South African community to condemn the inhumane treatment of thousands of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government.
“We call on local ulema to put aside a few minutes of their time during their Jumuah khutbah or after Taraweeh salah, to address and inform the ummah of the tragedies taking place in Palestine. It is our responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in Palestine whose basic human rights are being violated,” Hendricks told VOC on Friday morning.
“We believe in peaceful co-existence, we believe in the value of life but also, we believe that people of South Africa have a responsibility to make sure that we contribute to the call of the people who continue to live under the yoke of occupation, apartheid, racism, discrimination and that they equally begin to enjoy their human rights, especially the right to freedom and liberation.”
The Palestinian Solidarity Alliance’s (PSA) Nazeem Adam agreed that the latest violence was a culmination of collective punishment after 66 years of the Nakbah (the Catastrophe).
“In all of this, it is time for the international world to hold Israel accountable for the kind of youth they are bringing up, who can continuously spread hate, revenge and consider Palestinians as less than human,” Adam said.
In response to recent an opinion piece by Ben Levitas from the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), that the world has unified in identifying Palestine as the “victim” yet possess very little knowledge on the atrocities perpetrated by Palestinians, Adams said such comments are regarded as disingenuous.
“There is only one oppressor and oppressed. A Palestinian is killed every day at the hands of Israeli occupation,” Adam added.
On Thursday, Levitas said the latest Palestinian-Israeli violence was fuelling the political conflict. Levitas was commenting on the media response to the murder of 17-year-old Mohammad Abu Kheiderin from East Jerusalem compared to the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers, Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah nearly three weeks ago.
“While all these statements pinned the blame and responsibility on the Israeli government, despite there being absolutely no proof that either settlers or even Jews had anything to do with the murder. Conspiracy theories have already affixed the blame unequivocally on Jewish settlers. These sentiments have spilled over onto the streets and Palestinian mobs are already rioting and burning property in the streets of East Jerusalem.
“Sympathy for the Palestinians as victims of Israeli aggression from around the globe is gathering pace. The memory of the brutal murders of the three Jewish teens, in an instance has been neutralized by the killing of the Palestinian and Israel has already been judged by a partial media to have lost the moral high ground,” Levitas wrote.
Levitas asserted the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens on the other hand, received a muted response in the media and from the international community.
“It took two days for President Abbas to respond. It took weeks for the United Nations to respond. It took three days for Secretary of State Kerry to respond. When they did, all were reluctant to even admit that the boys could have been kidnapped. They were only prepared to admit to them being ‘missing’ as if they were playing truant. The media prejudice against ‘settlers’ and the unspoken fact that the Israeli teenagers were students at a Yeshiva, further alienated them from the sympathy and empathy of a world, programmed to view ‘settlers’ as the villains.”
But Adams said just this week another report explained that two days after the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli settlers were found in Hebron, Israelis and Israeli social media continued to incite hatred against Arabs and promote revenge attacks and killings.
“The world has told Israel that the settlements in Occupied Palestine are illegal. There is a continued assault on Palestinian people, whether it’s by settlers or Israeli occupation forces. Israel disregards international law, therefore, should be held accountable for its actions,” Adam said. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)