People’s attention is naturally focused on the genocide of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in Gaza by the Israeli war machine. The figures are horrendous: tens of thousands of people have been killed, injured or maimed. Hospitals have been bombed and destroyed and the 2.3 million Palestinians are subjected to collective punishment including starvation.
Even white phosphorus bombs have been used. They stick to the skin and cause severe burns. Young children with burns on their faces, arms and legs have been posted on social media platforms. Do not expect to see these images on the BBC, CNN or any other western media outlets. That will undermine their narrative of Israeli victimhood.
These atrocities constitute war crimes. Zionist leaders, political and military, must be held accountable. What forum can be used to bring such charges will be determined in due course.
Another narrative that is assiduously peddled is that the latest crisis erupted with Hamas’s October 7 operation. Prior to that, there was peace and quiet, we are led to believe. The Palestinians were living happily, even if somewhat uncomfortably, under Israeli occupation.
What is the truth about the “peace and quiet” narrative? This can be addressed by clarifying why Hamas launched its operation at this particular time. It did not occur in a vacuum even if the zionists would like the world to believe otherwise.
True, it was quiet for the Israelis because they were doing the killing. The year 2022 was the deadliest for Palestinians murdered by the Israeli police, army and the heavily-armed settlers. The refugee camps at Jenin and Nablus were regularly raided and its residents murdered in cold blood. Attacks against the camps in the Israeli occupied West Bank continue almost daily.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in May 2023, that from the beginning of the year to May 15, Israeli forces killed 108 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This was more than double the death toll of 51 for the same period in 2022.
Much worse, it was the settlers’ constant encroachment on al-Masjid al-Aqsa Compound that alarmed Hamas and other Palestinian organizations. Even the Palestinian Authority that acts as subcontractors for the Israelis, condemned Israel’s repeated violations of the noble sanctuary.
The settlers’ incursions have become more frequent and brazen in recent years. These always escalated in the month of Ramadan when large numbers of Muslims attend the night prayers.
Despite Hamas’s repeated warnings to the Israeli regime that they were playing with fire, these were ignored. Instead, zionist settlers intensified their campaign against al-Aqsa. They marched provocatively through Al-Quds/Jerusalem’s streets chanting blood-curdling slogans, “Death to the Arabs”.
These were not mere chants. In Ramadan of 2022, the zionists attacked Palestinians in and around the noble sanctuary. On May 29, 2022, at least 15 Palestinians were wounded in such attacks.
Equally serious is the Jewish settlers’ plan to sacrifice an animal at the site of al-Aqsa Mosque. They believe that the sacrifice, once done, will lay the ground for the demolition of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. That is where the extremist Jews plan to build their ‘Third Temple’.
Al-Aqsa is the first qibla of the Muslims (the direction toward which Muslims pray during their five daily prayers) and the third-holiest site in Islam after Makkah and al-Madinah. Referred to as Al-Haram al-Sharif (the noble Sanctuary), the compound houses the Aqsa Mosque (aka Qibli Mosque), the Dome of the Rock, and several madrassas and zawiyyahs. Allah says in the noble Qur’an that He has blessed its environs (15:01).
Jewish settlers have already established their illegal presence at al-Aqsa with two daily incursions in the morning and afternoon. Their tours are protected by heavily armed police. This is akin to what the zionists have done at the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil (Hebron) severely restricting access to the Muslims to pray.
The zionist incursion into Al-Aqsa should be of concern to Muslims worldwide, especially governments in and around Palestine. Unfortunately, they have done little or nothing to stop such creeping zionist annexation. It is Hamas and the Palestinian population in general that have had to assume responsibility for protecting Islam’s sacred places.
Hamas leadership was further alarmed when they learned that some messianic Jewish sects had imported Red Angus cows from the US for the purpose of sacrifice on the sacred grounds of the Aqsa compound.
The Temple Institute, an extremist messianic Jewish sect, believes that a red heifer without a blemish must be sacrificed to purify the ground before the Third Temple can be ‘rebuilt’. One group even announced earlier this year that it hoped to slaughter five imported heifers during next year’s Passover holiday, which falls in April 2024.
Hamas’s repeated warnings to desist went unheeded. Instead, the zionist occupying regime allowed Jewish settlers to make “vegetable sacrifices” at the Aqsa compound. Together with importing the red heifers, the ground was set for a major confrontation. Zionist fanatics would carry out the sacrifice and then blow-up Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.
Instead of waiting for Muslim regimes to shed crocodile tears after the fact, Hamas decided to act to prevent this grievous sacrilege. These provocative acts of Israeli settlers found no space in the western media. At the same time, zionist occupation forces have been killing children and women without regard to the sanctity of innocent lives.
Yossi Klein, columnist for Ha‘aretz, wrote that in the midst of Israeli politicians backstabbing each other, something dramatic happened. “There’s nothing like killing children for bringing together hearts and minds. For the past 18 weeks, Israelis have been fighting each other, unable to find anything to bring us closer together. Then came the killing of the children in the Gaza Strip and proved that we’re brothers, after all.”
He wrote this on May 11, 2023. Today, the Israeli genocide in Gaza has united all factions in Israel even more tightly. The destruction of Al-Aqsa, God forbid, would result in an Armageddon.