On the day before the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces at Al Aqsa Mosque. Israeli police officers were reported to have assaulted worshipers at the mosque as they forced their way into the compound.
Despite the chantings of worshipers, Israeli forces are reported to have fired tear gas and stun bombs on to worshipers. The fear and threats chased worshipers away from the mosque, leaving the compound in the company of only the settlers.
Supported by the brute force of the Israeli police, hundreds of Jewish settlers forced their way into Al Aqsa Mosque. Settlers waltzed through the gates of the holy mosque and settled on the land. The police proceeded to shut down the gates once they had allowed an astounding total of 334 settlers to enter.
Following the clashes, six worshipers were arrested. No further details have been reported on the status of these individuals, or their whereabouts.
Sunday’s forced settlements and clashes come at a time of increased calls by Jewish groups who have repeatedly urged settlers to converge on the site and begin the “reunification of Jerusalem”.
Tensions in the city surrounding Al Aqsa Mosque have historically been tense. In an unprecedented political move, Israel began its occupation of Al Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem in the 1976 Israeli war, but according to Al Jazeera, this past Sunday’s clash at Al Aqsa Mosque has marked the first time in 30 years that settlers have been permitted to enter the mosque during Ramadan.
Tensions have been increasingly mounting following yet another unprecedented decision by President Trump, who recently defied political order and proclaimed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The announcement brought strife and increased frustrations amongst the Palestinian and Arab populations of Jerusalem.
The rash decisions made by the Israeli police force at Al Aqsa Mosque, and the short-sighted proclamation of one President Trump echo the long hidden anti-Arab sentiment in the region.
Al Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem at large, holds religious and cultural significance for Muslims everywhere. The attack on the Muslim worshipers right to freely practice their faith at their holy site constitutes a human rights violation. Yet, despite this, the international community continues to allow unjust occupations that directly violate international law.
To this day, international law continues to view both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territory, and yet, Western politicians continue their brazen attack on the rights of the Palestinian people unchecked.