200 worshippers injured after Israeli forces attack Masjid Al Aqsa on Friday eve

Hyderabad: Israeli forces on May 7 (Friday) launched an attack and injured Muslim worshippers in the Al-Aqsa mosque on the eve of the Al-Quds day (Jerusalem day). According to the Palestinian Red crescent page, 200 Palestinians have been injured and 88 have been hospitalised in Jerusalem, with many injuries being head and eyes related. 

In the incident that transpired on Friday, Israeli police officials attacked worshippers, who were observing the last Friday of Ramzan in the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is the third holiest site for Muslims. Middle East Eye also reported that worshippers were attacked with tear gas, sound grenades and rubber coated steel bullets in the clashes that erupted. 

The worshippers were attacked inside the mosque courtyard, Haram Al-Sharif and Masjid Al-Qiblatain inside Al- Aqsa. Palestinians responded by pelting Israeli soldiers with stones and glass bottles. They continued their intervention at regular intervals against the Muslims in the mosque, while worshippers continued to perform Tarawih, special nightly prayers during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.(Middle East eye)

Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa Mosque, called on Israeli police to halt their attacks and withdraw from the mosque courtyard.

Reaction from Muslim leadership 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said “The settler terrorism will only make us more committed to upholding our legitimate rights to end the occupation, gain freedom and independence, and establish an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its eternal capital.” 

He held the Israeli government responsible for the current escalation in Jerusalem and the “dangerous developments and sinful attacks that are taking place in the Holy City”. Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also reacted to the attacks on the Holy Mosque. He said, “Strongly condemning the attack this evening on al-Aqsa Mosque, our first Qibla. It is inhumane for Israel to target innocents praying during Holy Ramadan.”

Qatar also strongly condemned the raid calling it a provocation to the feelings of millions of Muslims around the world and a severe violation of human rights and international accords. The Jordanian Ministry of foreign affairs, Kuwait’s foreign ministry and  Egypt’s ministry of foreign affairs also condemned the attack. 

The Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmad Abul Gheit condemning the attack, said in a statement that the timing of attacks reflect “deliberate intention” to provoke Palestinians. Speaking on the live televised event of Al Quds day(or Jerusalem day), the annual show of solidarity with the Palestinians, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khameni said “Israel is not a country, but a terrorist base against the nation of Palestine and other Muslim nation.”

He further said “Fighting this despotic regime is fighting oppression and terrorism, and is everyone’s duty.”  Quds Day was launched by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1979 revolution. It is held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The Al-Aqsa mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples of ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community. Ever since 1980, Israeli forces have been trying one way or the other to push deeper into the West Bank and occupy the entire region

Forced evictions from their own lands in Palestine

Last Sunday, the Israeli Supreme Court gave four Palestinian families from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood until Thursday to reach a deal with Jewish settlers regarding the ownership of their homes.(Al Jazeera). The Palestinian families allege that it is a move to force them out and replace the neighbourhood with a Jewish population. 

Earlier the Jerusalem District Court ruled that at least six families must vacate their homes in Sheikh Jarrah on Sunday, despite living there for generations. Forced evictions in Palestine have become the norm from decades, and is something that Palestinians have been protesting against from years.