Third Intifada or final solution?

By Steve Amsel *

(October 29, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) The timing seems too coincidental for the 'riots' around the AlAqsa Mosque to be the fault of the Palestinians. The 'Second Intifada' started nine years ago, almost to the day, when Palestinians were provoked by a visit by Ariel Sharon to the same area. Again, the Palestinians have been pushed too far to remain silent... it is not only their nationhood that is at stake this time, it's their very lives. Israel has chosen this period to finally proceed with their plan of ridding the land of every Palestinian and any trace that they ever even existed.

Those nations that voted against the Goldstone Commission Report last week literally gave Israel the 'Carte Blanche' to carry out the 'final solution' against Palestine which has been on their agenda for the past 61 years. Israel has seized this opportunity by attempting to provoke a 'third intifada', thereby being able to show the world that the Goldstone Report was total rubbish and offer proof that the Palestinians are the ones that are once again attempting to destroy everything that is sacred to Israel.

Sound outrageous? Let's look at the situation.... with excerpts from various press reports....

Describing the situation to Al Jazeera, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, said: "Israeli forces entered the compound from the Maghareba and Silsila gates."The forces cordoned off the compound, preventing all Muslims from entering the mosque.

"The situation is extremely serious, and I expect it to escalate.
"The Israelis have beaten the mosque's guards and staff, as well as worshippers, including women.

"I was personally prevented from entering the mosque. They are preventing us by force from reaching the mosque, where Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, head of the endowments council, several endowments department staff and a number of worshippers are at present under siege. (Source)

Muhammad Al-Hawash of the Palestine Red Crescent Society told Ma'an that the ambulance service received a call around 8am informing medics that six Palestinians had been injured when Israeli forces stormed the mosque area and required emergency treatment. When medics arrived outside the compound, Al-Hawash said, Israeli forces refused them access to the injured until about 11:30am, when 22 wounded Palestinians were finally evacuated. (Source)

Some background information is offered here.

Al-Aqsa Mosque Worshipers Assaulted by Israeli Military Forces

Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian youths erupted a new at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, after a while more police and special Israeli forces deployed to the compound.

Witnesses said Israeli forces fired stun grenades, tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets in the vicinity of the compound, while Palestinian youths were seen throwing stones and setting tires ablaze with electrical wires near the Old City's Al-Majlis Gate.

Hatim Abdul-Qadir, the former Palestinian Authority minister of Jerusalem affairs, said several worshippers were hurt as police officers raided the area, and that others suffered inhalation injuries from the tear gas.

According to Abdul-Qadir, 10 Palestinians were injured and more than 15 were detained. Israeli police reported that three officers were injured. One was evacuated to a hospital, an official said.

Israeli police helicopters were seen flying over the Old City and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Confrontations also erupted outside the compound, where Israeli police clashed with students from Dar Al-Aytam school in the Old City after they marched through the streets chanting "Allah Akbar." One was detained.

Ahmad Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Knesset, accused Israel of trying to take control of the compound. He called on Arab and Islamic countries to unite to counter "[Benjamin] Netanyahu's aggressive policies."

Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, warned that the situation could escalate. He told Al-Jazeera that Israeli forces assaulted worshipers indiscriminately, including women and mosque guards. Police were attempting to break into the mosque building and the Dome of the Rock, Hussein added.

But Israeli police denied that their forces had entered the mosque, itself, although several were seen outside carrying ladders and crowbars. Police cut power to the mosque's loudspeakers after they were used to urge Palestinians in Jerusalem to gather near the compound in solidarity with its besieged worshipers.

According to Israeli media, the area was locked down after young men poured oil to make police officers slip in the event they raided the compound. Those reports mentioned the use of stun grenades and pressurized water hoses, but not tear gas.

The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported that youths hurled stones at Israeli forces, who subsequently stormed the compound. The newspaper also said one Molotov was tossed, causing no injuries. The same report added that about a dozen Palestinians were holed up in the compound's mosque, and that they were the only ones remaining after the area was closed to Muslims.

Israeli forces did not, however, close the area to Jews. According to the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, "Jewish prayer at the holy site is continuing as usual."

On Saturday evening, Muslim officials and institutions called on worshipers to prevent the entry of right-wing Israeli groups and individuals who had announced their intention to enter the area under armed guard.

The Jerusalem Post, an English-language Israeli newspaper, reported that a religious group calling itself "Eretz Israel Shelanu" had urged its followers "to properly arise to the Temple Mount." The visit was thought to be in commemoration of a visit by the Maimonides 843 years ago, the newspaper added, noting that a number of Israeli lawmakers and rabbis were among those expected to participate.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque sits atop what Israelis and many Jews refer to as the Temple Mount, where the Jewish First and Second Temples were thought to have stood. The location is especially sensitive because some religious extremists seek the mosque's demolition in order to construct a "Third Temple."

Believed by Muslims to be the location where Muhammad ascended to heaven, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam. The compound, with its golden Dome of the Rock, is also a focal point of Palestinian national pride.

The mosque has periodically come under attack by extremists from all religious backgrounds, but most notably in 1969 when an Australian set it ablaze in an attempt to herald the second coming of Christ.

Still sound outrageous? Let's look at some recent events, not in Gaza, but right here in Occupied East Jerusalem...

Scores of Palestinian families have been illegally evicted (sanctioned by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court) to make room for Jewish settlers.

During the Holy month of Ramadan, access to the AlAqsa Mosque was denied to Muslim worshipers.

These few incidents resulted in protests from the Palestinian community as well as Israeli Jews opposed to the occupation. These protests are a blemish on the face of 'the only Democracy in the Middle East'... how dare they protest! How dare they try to bring international awareness to the situation??

How does Israel deal with this? By virtually cordoning off areas and denying access to both the Israeli and International Press. Negative reports about Israeli atrocities can only damage the image they wish the world to see.

But, the reality remains...

Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian Human Rights activist, wrote today:

The intensified Israeli assault on the AlAqsa compound and the whole of the Holy City of AlQuds/Jerusalem in a final push to Judaicize the city and erase Arab Christian and Muslim heritage. Home demolitions, denial of basic rights of residence, denial of rights of worship and movement, and outright military assaults on the "city of peace" belie a culture of impunity and disregard for International law that has been allowed to grow. Leaders of Western, Arab, and Islamic world meanwhile oscillate between outright facilitation of the atrocities to collaboration to indifference (and I am not sure those are distinct or meaningful categories). Many of us began to think that should Israel destroy the holy sites and build a Jewish temple in its place, we would see merely a few more declarations and statements.

The ramification of the Goldtone report and growing calls not only to hold Israeli leaders accountable for specific acts that amount to war cries and crimes against humanity (e.g. in Gaza) but to clearly identify Israel as the racist, colonial state at its core (from which emanates all these atrocities that include ethnic cleansing).

So, bottom line is to present to the world an image of a violent, terrorist oriented nation (Palestine) whose sole agenda is to destroy the State of Israel.... when in reality, it is the exact opposite that is the truth.

* Steve Amsel is a Jewish active peace and civil rights worker living in Israel. He can be reached at
-Sri Lanka Guardian