The third Friday prayers of Ramadan on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem had been sandwiched by Israeli police attacks on Palestinians attending prayers, however that didn’t cease some 150,000 Palestinians travelling to the mosque to worship, in keeping with the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf.
Israeli forces raided the mosque on Friday after daybreak prayers, injuring not less than 31 Palestinians, together with three journalists, with rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gasoline. Israeli police mentioned the raids had been in response to Palestinians throwing rocks. Tear gasoline was additionally fired after Friday prayers, hitting Palestinians worshipping on the Dome of the Rock contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Settler incursions below police safety during the past week through the Jewish pageant of Passover had led to day by day confrontations with Palestinians on the mosque, with many injured and arrested.
On the primary day of Passover, April 15, Israeli forces injured not less than 158 Palestinians and arrested 400 others contained in the compound. Dozens extra had been injured and arrested all through the week.
Regardless of fears of issues escalating on the bottom, Palestinians have mentioned that their continued presence at Al-Aqsa is crucial.
“I feel it’s crucial for folks to return to Jerusalem and to Al-Aqsa. You are feeling belonging, you are feeling duty in the direction of Jerusalem, to show our kids that that is our land, that Al-Aqsa is our faith,” Rana Mohammad advised Al Jazeera on the compound.
The 36-year-old mom hails from Nablus within the occupied West Financial institution, and got here to East Jerusalem along with her husband and her five-year-old son.
Ramadan represents a uncommon alternative for Palestinians from the occupied West Financial institution – whereas Palestinian Jerusalemites and people with Israeli passports can entry Al-Aqsa at any time, Palestinians dwelling within the occupied West Financial institution are solely allowed to enter the town with a difficult-to-obtain navy allow outdoors of Ramadan.
“We can not come on regular days, so that you anticipate this second minute by minute. The sensation of being right here is indescribable – you are feeling that your spirit is rejuvenated,” mentioned Mohammad.
Whereas Passover has ended and entrance into the mosque can be restricted to Muslims over the past 10 days of Ramadan, tensions on the bottom in Jerusalem and within the occupied West Financial institution stay excessive.
An increase in assaults by Palestinians inside Israel led to the killing of 14 Israelis in three weeks. In the meantime, Israelis have killed not less than 43 Palestinians for the reason that starting of 2022.
Weeks of protests and raids by Israeli forces on Al-Aqsa throughout Ramadan final yr escalated right into a widespread rebellion throughout Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and an 11-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound has been a significant flashpoint between the Israeli occupation and Palestinians for many years, and was the epicentre of the 2000-2005 Palestinian Intifada, or rebellion.
The 14-hectare compound is among the holiest in Islam, and homes the Al-Qibli Mosque (Al-Aqsa Mosque) and the Dome of the Rock.
Aya Abu Moussa, a 33-year-old from al-Lydd (Lod) inside Israel, mentioned whereas she and her household are scared of the political state of affairs, they consider you will need to come to Al-Aqsa.
“There have to be a lot of Palestinians at Al-Aqsa – we can not go away it alone, in any respect. We see what occurs to the youth right here, we can not go away them alone,” Abu Moussa advised Al Jazeera, in reference to confrontations on the mosque. “The extra people who come – the extra they [Israel] can be afraid of raiding it. If there’s no person to dam them, they are going to get too comfy. The youth are limiting them,” she continued.
Based on Abu Moussa, 5 giant buses go away the cities of al-Lydd and al-Ramle (Ramla), in central Israel, every single day in Ramadan for daybreak and night time prayers at Al-Aqsa.
“Ever since final yr’s rebellion in al-Lydd, there was extra consciousness, particularly amongst youth, of the significance of coming to Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem. We thought they’d simply preserve taking part in PUBG, however no,” she mentioned, referring to a preferred laptop recreation.
Yasmeen Tibi, a 21-year-old from Nablus within the occupied West Financial institution, echoed an identical sentiment.
“Our energy is in numbers,” the college pupil advised Al Jazeera. “Those that are in a position to come, ought to come. Each particular person makes a distinction, even when we don’t realise it.”
Tibi got here to Al-Aqsa along with her 5 sisters and her 5 feminine cousins, all donning conventional Palestinian thobes and a keffiyeh.
“We shouldn’t be afraid – we’re the rightful homeowners of this land. They’re those who must be afraid,” she mentioned.
Palestinians from the West Financial institution should cross overcrowded checkpoints and anticipate hours earlier than being allowed to enter Jerusalem. Tibi mentioned that she and her household had left Nablus at 7am and reached Al-Aqsa at 10am, in a journey that was extra exhausting that it wanted to be.
“They handled us like cattle on the checkpoint. Everybody was positioned in small rows and squished collectively. We spent two hours inside Qalandiya checkpoint simply ready in line to cross by,” Tibi mentioned, referring to the primary checkpoint between the West Financial institution and East Jerusalem.
Israel has mentioned the measures are mandatory for safety causes.
Discovering a approach in
Whereas ladies of all ages are allowed to enter with out a navy allow on Fridays this Ramadan, solely males over 50 or boys below 12 years previous got an identical privilege.
Males and boys who didn’t match these standards had been both pressured to use for a navy allow with no assure of acquiring one, or discovered different methods to enter.
Mohammad, 20, jumped off the eight-metre-high (26-foot-high) Israeli separation wall to make it to Al-Aqsa.
Regardless of the heightened Israeli safety measures, Mohammed managed to make it by together with a number of of his pals. “I got here to hope, and to defend Al-Aqsa from the [Israeli] occupation,” Mohammed, who hailed from the Aqabet Jaber refugee camp in Jericho, advised Al Jazeera.
“Each Palestinian should come right here, as a result of the occupation raids the mosque, they hearth tear gasoline and ladies are crushed right here.”
“We’re pressured to confront them [Israel]. That is our land, and the Palestinian folks will persevere till liberation.”
In the meantime, Mohammad Asaad Saeed, a 57-year-old man from Tulkarem within the northern occupied West Financial institution, mentioned the dearth of management is what results in confrontations.
“We’d like somebody to guide us – to liberate Al-Aqsa,” Saeed advised Al Jazeera.
“The Palestinians are defenceless. What the youth do in confrontations – that is what must be achieved by a whole military, not our younger males. The issue is in our leaders.”