What’s Really Behind the Israeli Attack on Muslims Praying at Al-Aqsa?

There’s some puzzling bits of news coming out of Jerusalem these days. Let’s look at each in turn:

Israel Strikes Gaza after Rocket Fire from Gaza

On April 20, Prime Minister Neftali Bennett told the world that Arab “rioters” were terrorizing their own people and place of worship. That is why, he tells us, on April 15, Israeli forces stormed al-Aqsa, injuring 150 Palestinians.

Then, before dawn on April 21, Israel attacked Gaza with a strike on what they said was a tunnel with chemicals used to make rocket engines.

This was supposedly in response to a rocket from Gaza on southern Israel, in which a home was slightly damaged and no one was hurt (though the France24 article states the rocket merely fell in a garden). It’s reported that Gaza then responded with at least four more rockets, which the Iron Dome intercepted.

This comes at a time when Bennett is struggling to keep his coalition government together. Raam, the Arab party that was in the coalition, has suspended their membership in the coalition.

As we’ve discussed before, this is probably better anyways. Why willingly participate in a system that is rigged against you?

A right-wing Jewish member, Idit Silman, left the coalition, “saying it did not adequately represent Zionist and Jewish values.” It seems Bennett cannot win for losing.

RELATED: [WATCH] Reaction to Mufti Menk’s “Explanation” of Israel Normalization Iftar

Jewish Prayer at al-Haram al-Sharif

Amidst all the violence taking place are accusations that Israel is allowing Jewish prayer on al-Haram al-Sharif, something Israel denies.

Part of the challenge here was that on April 17, Israel had allowed the Jewish worshippers and foreign tourists to visit al-Haram al-Sharif. This is standard practice, they are allowed to visit but NOT pray certain times per week. The difference this time, though, is that in order to allow this visit, Israeli guards blocked Muslims from entering al-Aqsa, all the while providing the Jewish visitors and foreign tourists with an armed escort.

Violence ensued, and according to the New York Times:

“At least 18 Palestinians were arrested, some of them for throwing stones at passing buses and for punching and kicking religious Jews in a nearby alley.”

At least 17 Palestinians were also injured.

The de facto prayer agreement between Israelis and the Jordanian authorities—who handle all administrative matters related to al-Haram al-Sharif—is that the area is not to be used for Jewish prayer. Authorities came to this agreement in large part to avoid any major problems between Jews and Muslims.

The rule remains, but its application is at times loose, and sure, perhaps some people just don’t get caught.

Here’s some proof of prayer that does happen there.

The Temple Institute, which works to promote the building of the Jewish temple on al-Haram al-Sharif, continues to grow. Efforts like this are not new, nor are they without strong backing.

Duty Free Americas store magnate Simon Falic appears to be a strong supporter of such efforts (amongst other Israel-related causes he supports, like settlements):

“Israeli records show the Falics also granted over $100,000 to two groups that seek the re-establishment of the Jewish Temple on a contested site in Jerusalem. Revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, that same area houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site. The competing claims to the hilltop compound are a frequent flashpoint of violence.”

Falic, however, has denied these claims.

RELATED: Zionist Settler-Colonialism and Its Relation to Jewish Sacred Texts

The Christians Who Also Feel the Squeeze

Palestinians—both Muslims and Christians—are not the only ones who feel the encroachment of Israel on their land; the Greek Orthodox Church is currently in a legal battle with Israel. When Jewish settlers took over a hotel in Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter, the Greek Patriarchate challenged the move in court. The court upheld the sale to Ateret Cohanim—a group dedicated to expanding Jewish presence in East Jerusalem and the Old City.

These “ideological real estate investments,” as Ateret Cohanim calls them are carefully planned. On a recent blog post on their website, they react to the best way to handle the “Ramadan violence:”

“Ideological real estate investments have both a neighborhood impact as well as a long term structural change in Jerusalem’s demographic conundrum. Beyond that, where Jews return to learn and to raise families draws in security forces to not only protect the Jewish residents, but those arabs seeking peace and good neighborly relations.

Year after year, Ramadan comes and violence ensues, yet only by purchasing, developing, and ultimately enforcing the city’s sovereignty throughout the entirety of Jerusalem will radical Islamic violence subside and peace be restored.

None of this will be a complete surprise to any of you. Nonetheless, it’s important to remain conscious of just how large these efforts are. Furthermore, what these connections also show us is the strong ties between Israel and the US (Ateret Conahim also has connections to the US). They provide clarification as to how deep American ties are to Israel and why politicians are so wary to speak in any way against Israel. Even if they are aware of the contradictions in, say, being for “America first,” or being so wary of “Kremlin stooges” all the while being pro an eternal relationship with a foreign nation, some of their most powerful constituents and donors support this cause.

Finally, please make dua for Walid al-Sharif, who has fallen into a coma after being injured during clashes at al-Aqsa.

RELATED: De-Secularizing the “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

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