Warning! The Invasion of Settlements in Jerusalem

Interview With Palestinian Figures
By Rami Almeghari
Freelance Writer and Journalist based in Gaza


Since the beginning of this year, Israeli occupation authorities in the occupied East Jerusalem have further embarked on demolitions of Palestinian-owned property or real estate, the latest of which was the Shepherd hotel, a historical site that used to be a headquarters for the grand Mufti of Palestine Sheikh Amin Alhusaini. The site was later turned into an Israeli border police center.

Demolition order of the hotel came on top of the longest-ever series of Israeli demolitions of Palestinian properties and real estates in the holy city since it has been occupied by Israel in 1967.  Such Israeli occupation actions have brought a widespread Palestinian wave of wrath all over the occupied Palestinian territories.

The accelerated Israeli transformation of the occupied holy Arab city has been concurrent with Israeli plans to build more colonial settlements on Palestinian lands over there.

Consecutive Israeli governments have always emphasized on the notion that Jerusalem would keep as undivided and unified capital of the state of Israel, despite long-standing Israeli- Palestinian peace negotiations, the latest of which were those of September, 2010 that were deadlocked after Israel refused to halt all settlements activities on the occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank.

A Call for International Conference

Concerned Palestinian parties in the occupied Palestinian territories have recently launched an appeal to Islamic, Arab and world leaders to convene immediately to respond to what these bodies term ' a critical moment for the holy city".

“We have sent out messages to all concerned parties in the Arab and Islamic worlds, asking them to form special committees for Jerusalem in each Islamic and Arab country. Such committees should be entitled to report on the grave situation of Jerusalem including Israeli demolitions, excavations beneath the Al Aqsa  mosque as well as colonial settlement activates in the city", former Minister of Waqf and religious affairs, Taleb Abu Sha'ar, in the occupied Gaza Strip revealed to Onislam.net.

The minister, speaking from his office in Gaza city, also called the international community including the UNESCO, to preserve the Arab-Islamic status of Jerusalem. He maintained that governments around the world can practice some kind of diplomatic pressure for the sake of forcing the ' Zionist enemy' to halt all its actions in the occupied East Jerusalem.

“There is a big humanitarian responsibility on the shoulders of the international community by intervening to stop underway Israeli judiazing of the Arab city. Jerusalem is supposed to be so precious to all Islamic and Arab countries or peoples, given the religious Islamic  status of such a holy city", the minister added, pointing out that his ministry has launched an  International Jerusalem Award, dedicated to all those who  helped enhance steadfastness of  Jerusalemites, either  politically, economically or socially.

The Gaza-based ministry will soon release a special book, outlining Israeli occupation actions in Jerusalem during 2010.


Long-standing Organized Transformation of Jerusalem

“In fact, the occupied city of Jerusalem or Alquds has been subject to organized transformation by the Israeli occupation's consecutive governments since the fall of the city in 1967. In the third day of the June 4, 1967 war, Israel occupiers and Jews chanted ' Prophet Mohammad died, leaving girls behind', this was in  reference to their takeover of the holy city from the Arabs", Dr. Sheikh  Yousef Juma'a Salama , Imam of Al Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem told Onislam.net.

Sheikh Salama spoke to Onislam.net of a series of Israeli occupation actions against the holy city, within what he termed judizing the Arab city. “The occupation of Jerusalem was a dark chapter in the history of this region. Right after the war, the Israeli occupation took over the Morrocan Door, which looks over their alleged wailing wall. This neighborhood also was the route of prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, to the prayer in the Buraq Wall during the Esra and Mi'raj journey of Mohammad himself"

Dr. Salama went onto saying that in 1969, an extremist Jew set into fire the pulpit of Salah Eldin of the Al Aqsa mosque and the blaze led to the creation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

In 1990, more than twenty Palestinians were killed by the Israeli occupation authorities in the vicinity of the Al Aqsa mosque.

In 1996, Israelis began excavations beneath the Al Asqsa mosque, which flared what was then called ' the 'tunnel uprising' in which more than one hundred sixty Palestinians were killed by the Israeli occupation army.

" Along with the said actions and events, Israelis have recently began reconstructing some sixty-two Jewish synagogues beneath or around the Al Aqsa mosque , starting with  the 'devastation' or Alkharab synagogue and this is aimed at building their alleged temple mount on the ruins of the Al Aqsa mosque", the Imam added.

Another Form of Transformation

According to Dr. Salama, there is another form of Israeli occupation transformation of the holy city of Jerusalem. “Israelis have been carrying out some other parallel measures against the indigenous Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem. They aim at limiting presence to twenty percent of the Palestinian population vis-à-vis the existence of the Jewish population in the holy Arab occupied city, by the year 2020.”

“ Among such measures are, preventing Jerusalemites from building homes by imposing high-fin building licenses , confiscating Palestinian IDs from those who wish to marry from outside of the city or expelling indigenous families by demolishing their homes under the pretext of unlicensed building". He added.

Dr. Naji  Shurrab, professor of political science at the Al Azhar University of Gaza, commented to Onislam.net, saying:

“The international community has not yet been able to enforce any sanctions against Israel, the occupying power, in reaction to the latter's actions in the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem.

“Therefore, Israel acts if it is were beyond or above the law and I believe that the international community goes to further failure when it comes to an internationally-recognized occupied Palestinian territory' East Jerusalem'”

Further Pessimism

Asked by Onislam.net as to why Arab or Islamic nations have not been able to stop Israeli actions against the occupied East Jerusalem, Dr. Shurrab maintained,

“There are many international resolutions pertaining to the occupied East Jerusalem; what is needed now is to enforce such resolutions. However, let me say that I am rather pessimistic towards realizing implementation of those resolutions. I believe that Arab or Islamic countries alike have had their own pressing problems and Palestinians are now divided, unfortunately."

“Also, for the past twenty years, Palestinians and Israelis have been negotiating bilaterally, while Arab or Islamic involvement in the peace process has been reduced significantly, especially under Washington's exclusive patronage of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process".

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