Over the wall: One Palestinian’s journey to Al-Aqsa Mosque | Israel-Palestine conflict

Occupied East Jerusalem – Ahmad’s day began early.

If he wished to get in to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for the final Friday of Ramadan, he must look ahead to greater than 11 hours in a single day, after which discover a possibility to leap over Israel’s separation wall.

The wall divides the occupied West Financial institution, the place Ahmad lives within the Aqabet Jaber refugee camp in Jericho, from the occupied East Jerusalem.

However the 20-year-old Ahmad doesn’t contemplate the barrier to be insurmountable – he’d made the leap earlier than, efficiently.

Due to his age, and the truth that he’s a Palestinian from the West Financial institution, Ahmad is unable to enter East Jerusalem. He must be over 50, or beneath 12, to get in on Fridays in Ramadan with out a difficult-to-obtain Israeli military allow. Ladies of all ages are additionally allowed in on the identical days. For the remainder of the yr, they’re all additionally excluded.

Regardless of these restrictions, Ahmad and his buddies will attempt to sneak in.

“[Going to Al-Aqsa is] deeply embedded in our hearts – it’s one thing that I can’t clarify,” Ahmad advised Al Jazeera. “That is holy land, and it’s occupied. We go to hope, and the presence of the occupation itself is a cause for us to go,” he advised Al Jazeera.

Ahmad and his buddies left their properties within the camp within the japanese occupied West Financial institution simply after midnight on Friday, and made it to the wall at 1am.

“We use a ladder to go up and we try the opposite facet. We throw down a rope and we go down slowly. Once we get all the way down to greater than half, we leap,” Ahmad defined.

Palestinians scale Israel's separation wall
Palestinian youth scale Israel’s separation wall [File: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Al Jazeera]

Ahmad and his buddies had deliberate to be at Al-Aqsa at round 3am earlier than daybreak prayers, however they confronted an issue – Israeli border police forces occurred to be stationed on the different facet of the wall from the place they had been planning to leap.

The Israelis confiscated two of the group’s ladders, in accordance with Ahmad. However a number of hours later, they’d one other one.

By the morning, a lot of the younger Palestinians making an attempt to make the leap had given up, and gone again house.

However Ahmad and his shut buddies spent a sleepless evening ready, and had their pre-dawn meal in a close-by restaurant, earlier than beginning their quick, and ready for a possibility.

“We’re drained as a result of we haven’t slept since yesterday,” Ahmad stated within the morning. “The military [police] gained’t budge. We’ve been making an attempt all evening – we go up each occasionally to verify.”

“We simply wish to break our quick at Al-Aqsa, even when we don’t make it for Friday prayers. We wish to expertise that second. The shabab [youth] are adamant to go – they’re saying, ‘We don’t wish to return.’”

‘Stroll with confidence’

Lots of of Palestinians have jumped over Israel’s Separation Wall since its development started in 2002 throughout the Second Palestinian Intifada. The eight-metre-high concrete wall is lined with navy checkpoints, surveillance cameras and barbed wire.

Israel has claimed that the wall is for safety causes, and that it has diminished the variety of assaults in Israel, however 85 p.c of it falls deep contained in the occupied West Financial institution and annexes with it giant chunks of Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, together with East Jerusalem.

Rights teams have categorized Israel’s wall and the separation of the West Financial institution from East Jerusalem as a component of the extreme restrictions imposed on the motion of Palestinians within the occupied territories.

For Palestinians like Ahmad, these restrictions imply that they’re normally unable to go to Al-Aqsa, one in all Islam’s holiest websites, and a nationwide Palestinian image.

Thousands pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, occupied East Jersualem
Tens of hundreds prayed on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the ultimate Friday of Ramadan, April 29, 2022 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Al Jazeera]

Ahmad was 17 earlier than he noticed Jerusalem for the primary time, on a faculty journey with a allow. His visits since have all concerned having to leap the wall.

However Ahmad stated he had by no means been stopped. One approach to mix in: carrying a silver chain necklace on the skin of his shirt, which he stated is the style amongst younger Palestinian males in Jerusalem.

“I additionally attempt to copy the best way that Jerusalemites discuss – they’re city individuals,” he stated between laughs, and talked about that it was necessary to “stroll with confidence”.

“The Previous Metropolis is stuffed with troopers – after all, in the event that they see you nervous, they might ask you about your ID. I stroll like I’m a son of the town,” remarked Ahmad.

“This manner, you mainly don’t present.”

‘Safety ban’

When Al Jazeera contacted Ahmad simply earlier than noon, most of his buddies had made the leap, however he had hung again, ready for his flip with one different good friend.

Within the meantime, Ahmad defined that his household, like hundreds of different Palestinians, have what is named a “safety ban”, and are usually not eligible for permits to enter Jerusalem or Israel.

Such military-issued orders are at occasions given to people who’ve served jail time or had been concerned in “safety offences’” in addition to their members of the family.

Regardless of not with the ability to journey into Israel legally, Ahmad nonetheless encounters Israeli forces, once they frequently raid the camp he lives in and arrest youths.

Ahmad additionally claimed that his eldest brother was as soon as shot within the thigh with dwell ammunition throughout confrontations with the Israeli navy.

All of which means that, for Ahmad, the concept of making use of for a navy allow, with such a low probability of success, is unpalatable.

“To be sincere, I’m ashamed to go and apply for a navy allow,” stated Ahmad. “It’s our land, I don’t perceive why I’ve to use for a navy allow … That is shameful and it feels horrible that we will’t go anytime.”

A man reads the Quran in Al -Aqsa Mosque, occupied East Jerusalem
Ahmad contained in the Qibli Mosque in Jerusalem on April 29, 2022 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Al Jazeera]

However leaping over the wall just isn’t straightforward. On Wednesday, which many Muslims believed to be “Laylat al-Qadr”, the holiest evening in Ramadan, the Palestinian Crimson Crescent stated it needed to take care of a number of accidents because of individuals leaping over the wall.

For some time, Ahmad’s buddies who had reached Al-Aqsa had not heard from him, and thought that he could haven’t made it throughout.

However, within the mid-afternoon, he arrived, glad, and relieved, to have made it by way of.

“It’s a really good feeling to have entered in spite of everything that effort – I’m glad and I really feel glad. I’m going to remain right here till iftar,” Ahmad advised Al Jazeera, from contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

“It was very value it – I might have carried out extra to enter,” Ahmad added.

“Something we will do for Al-Aqsa, we do it. If I hadn’t gotten in, I might’ve saved making an attempt – and I’ll preserve coming again.”

‘150,000 Palestinians’ attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque | Israel-Palestine conflict News

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.

Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa
Rana got here to Al-Aqsa along with her son from Nablus [Al Jazeera]

Flashpoint

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.

Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa
Aya Abu Moussa travelled to occupied East Jerusalem from al-Lydd, inside Israel [Al Jazeera]

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.”

INTERACTIVE_AL AQSA_TIMELINE5-01
[Al Jazeera]

Arab League urges Israel to stop Jewish prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque | Israel-Palestine conflict News

Arab League: ‘Al-Aqsa and Haram al Sharif in all its space is a sole place of worship for Muslims.’

The Arab League has referred to as on Israel to finish Jewish prayers contained in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem and warned that such actions had been a flagrant affront to Muslim emotions and will set off wider battle.

The league broke its silence on Thursday on current violent occasions at Al-Aqsa, saying Israel had restricted Muslims of their proper of worship in Jerusalem’s Previous Metropolis, whereas additionally permitting ultra-nationalist Jews to enter the sacred web site below police safety.

“Our calls for are clear that Al-Aqsa and Haram al Sharif in all its space is a sole place of worship for Muslims,” Jordanian International Minister Ayman Safadi advised reporters after an emergency assembly of the league in Amman.

The assembly was referred to as to debate what the league termed “unlawful Israeli insurance policies and measures” in Jerusalem.

Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit mentioned Israel was violating a centuries-old coverage in accordance with which non-Muslims might go to the Al-Aqsa compound, however they have to not pray there.

Israeli riot police stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound final week, wounding not less than 158 Palestinian Muslim worshippers. In March, Israeli forces killed at least 29 Palestinians in raids on the West Financial institution and 14 folks in Israel had been killed in avenue assaults.

Safadi, who spoke with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week, met senior US Division of State officers touring the area on Wednesday to debate decreasing tensions on the sacred web site.

The international minister mentioned he had obtained assurances that Israel would halt Jewish worshippers from coming into Al-Aqsa.

Sitting atop the walled Previous Metropolis plateau, the Al-Aqsa compound is understood to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) and to Jews because the Temple Mount, the holiest web site in Judaism the place they consider two historic temples had been situated.

INTERACTIVE_AL AQSA_TIMELINE5-01
(Al Jazeera)

Jordan’s Petra information company mentioned that Arab League warned that Israel’s actions at Al-Aqsa “threatens to ignite a cycle of violence”, and the “assaults and violations symbolize a blatant provocation to the emotions of Muslims”.

The assembly included member international locations that lately normalised ties with Israel, together with the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, in addition to Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and representatives of the Palestinian Authority.

The surge of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory over the previous month – and through the top of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan – has raised fears of a slide again to a wider battle much like final Could’s 11-day Israeli assault on Gaza, through which greater than 250 Palestinians in Gaza and 13 folks in Israel had been killed.

On Wednesday night, Israeli police blocked greater than 1,000 ultra-nationalist demonstrators waving Israeli flags, some shouting “demise to the Arabs”, from reaching Damascus Gate and the Previous Metropolis’s Muslim quarter.

Far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir, a controversial opposition politician, led the protest after being barred from the Damascus Gate space earlier within the day by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

How should leaders respond to rising tension over Al-Aqsa Mosque? | Jerusalem News

From: Inside Story

Tensions across the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem come amid an uptick in Israel-Palestine violence.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.

With Ramadan, Passover and Easter going down on the similar time this yr, tensions are working significantly excessive in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Sunday, Israeli police forcibly dispersed Palestinian worshippers who arrange barricades to stop ultra-right-wing Jewish teams from getting into the compound.

The Al-Aqsa tensions come amid rising violence between Palestinians and Israelis.

Might the violence escalate? And the way ought to Israeli and Palestinian leaders reply?

Presenter: Mohammed Jamjoom

Friends:

Ziad AbuZayyad – Lawyer and political analyst

Nimrod Novik – Former senior coverage adviser to former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres

Amr Al-Azm – Professor of Center East historical past and anthropology, Shawnee State College