It is urgent for Israel to respect the religion rights of the Palestinians!

Recent restrictions and bans a flagrant violation of fundamental rights of the Palestinian people in order to change the status to historical-religious sites in the Palestinians lands, while, at the same time, new decisions by the Israeli government help soaring the settlements in the Occupied Palestinians Territories .

According to Times of Israel, building starts on settler homes in the West Bank soared by 70 percent between April 2016 and March 2017, data released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics showed last month.

Israel is trying to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. In a statement released on Saturday, the United Nations said the Secretary General Antonio Guterres “deeply” deplored the death of Palestinians,  calling on all political, religious and community leaders “to help reduce tension” in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews.

Escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the Holy Land’s most contested shrine boiled over into violence on Friday that killed three Palestinians in street clashes in Jerusalem. Three Israelis were stabbed to death and a fourth was wounded in a knife attack in the illegal Israeli settlement of Neve Tsuf on Friday, the Israeli army and media said. This event occured hours after three Palestinians were killed in violence prompted by Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City.

The army said in a statement that the four victims were Israeli civilians and that the assailant was also shot. It was not known whether he was killed or wounded.

According to the Red Crescent, there were 450 wounded by Israeli forces during the protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank, with at least 215 injuries caused by tear gas inhalation.

However, the Israeli government continues its escalating provocative aggression against the Palestinian people. Israeli security forces violently clamped down on Friday’s demonstrations, firing live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at crowds of Palestinians protesting against the new measures, which include the barring of Muslim men under the age of 50 from the holy site and the installation of metal detectors. Yesterday, Israeli forces also stormed a Jerusalem hospital to arrest injured Palestinians, while denying Human Rights Watch’s Palestine Director access to the hospital.

Reuters reported that the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until it removed the metal detectors. He gave no details, but current contacts are largely limited to security cooperation.

“I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at al Aqsa mosque and preserves the status quo,” Abbas said in a brief televised speech.

For us as for  ,these metal detectors are not about security, but rather about deliberately attempting to bar Palestinians from their places of worship.

Yet, while openly advocating for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and the destruction of Muslim holy sites, the Israeli government continues to allow this group to enter the al-Aqsa compound (including with arms) under the guise of “freedom of religion”.

In 1990, this group attempted to lay a cornerstone for a Jewish temple at the compound triggering protests in which some 20 Palestinians died.

Several countries have condemned Israel’s increased control, including Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Egypt has called for an immediate halt to the violence underway around a holy site in Jerusalem, urging Israel to show respect for Muslim sacred sites and accusing it of fomenting tensions.

Egypt stressed that Israel should respect the sanctity of religious sites and the right of Palestinians to practice religious rituals freely and safely without the use of arbitrary measures or unfair restrictions that fuel feelings of tension.

Background story:

Only months after the June 1967 Six-Day War and Israel’s seizure of the Palestinian Arab lands in the West Bank and Gaza (as well as the Syrian Golan Heights), the first Zionist settlement was up and running in the occupied West Bank.

In the 50 years since, the number of settlers has soared to over 750,000. The so-called Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border, has been replaced by a concrete “separation barrier” built on confiscated Arab land. Between this monstrous ghetto wall and the Jordan River, more than two and a half million Palestinians struggle for survival. Almost all of them are crammed into 40 percent of the West Bank, where they are surrounded by military checkpoints and fortifications, divided by Jewish-only highways and subjected to unceasing brutality at the hands of soldiers and fascistic settlers.

Another two million Palestinians are confined to a living hell in the tiny Gaza Strip.Emboldened by the Trump White House, what was already the most right-wing government in Israeli history is now further strangling the Palestinian populations of Gaza and the West Bank. In early June, the Israeli government sharply curtailed the supply of electricity to Gaza’s residents, who will now have only two to four hours of electricity a day.

On the eve of a visit to Israel by Trump’s “peace envoy” (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner, the Netanyahu government brazenly announced that it was beginning construction of a new settlement outside Ramallah, the first one in 25 years. Previously, successive Israeli governments have euphemistically described the massive settlement construction as merely expansion of existing settlements.

Moreover, the French President Emmanuel Macron has showed his unfortunate inexperience and “naivity” as a politician by voluntarily joining the American Israel lobby that supports and finances the illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories that now hold over 600,000 Israeli citizens on land belonging for over a thousand years to the indigenous Muslim Arabs of Palestine. 

Like all Palestinians, Christians’ movements are controlled by the Israeli military, limiting access to holy sites and preventing their return to their homeland should they ever flee their oppression to other nations. Last Christmas, Israeli forces violently dispersed a peaceful march of Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem that had been called to highlight these very issues.

Sources and further reading:

Israeli settlement building has risen, official data shows, The Times of Israel, June 20 2017 [Page consulted the 22nd of July]

Six dead in worst Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed for years. Reuters,July 21 2017 [Retrieved the 22nd of July]

Al-Aqsa: UN slams Israel killings of young Palestinians. , Al-Jazeera.com [Retrieved the 22nd of July]

 

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