|October 2000 - Return to Complete Index MiddleEast.Org 10/06/00|
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AL-AQSA MOSQUE FRIDAY: THE ONSLAUGHT CONTINUES
By: Mowafa Househ
Today, in the Masjid Al-Aqsa there was another gruesome display of savagery on behalf of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). After the Friday prayer and the prayer of the dead, Palestinian youth demonstrated and mourned the death of 73 Palestinians slaughtered by Israeli Soldiers and Settlers. Tensions were high as rocks were thrown at the soldiers east of the Al-Aqsa mosque.
As the Palestinian demonstrators marched towards and then exited the Lions Gate, IDF soldiers were awaiting, situated above the demonstrators, aiming their guns at the Palestinians below.
First, the youths burned the local police station and destroyed Israeli surveillance cameras before engaging in any “violent” activities. Then they planted the Palestinian flag on the rooftop and began to shower the soldiers with rocks; the soldiers at the rooftop facing the demonstrators retreated. Soon after, reinforcements arrived from below and they began to fire both live and rubber bullets at the demonstrators. I saw one youth of 13 or 14 years of age, his head was severed from a live bullet aimed not to wound but to kill him. It was a tragic and horrific sight.
As the soldiers came closer to
the Lions Gate, many youth took the rooftop surrounding the Aqsa and began
to throw rocks at the soldiers situated below. Again the soldiers were
forced to retreat. Snipers were then deployed
upon rooftops to shoot those throwing rocks from above. Tens of youth, mostly men, were injured as a result.
It was a fearful scene as the demonstrators and many journalists were being shot at from above and below. Many sought shelter behind the stonewalls outside the Lions Gate. Shots were fired in all directions, indiscriminately. Tear gas was also used which caused many demonstrators and journalists to leave the scene.
During the intense and fearsome
battle that took place, many journalists were reporting live from the scene
using their mobile phones to relay the world what they saw. American journalists
were the least objective and
sympathetic to the situation. Linda (I can not remember family name) was working for ABC radio. She was very biased and one sided in her views. She mentioned that bullets were exchanged between Palestinians and Israelis,
which was a complete lie. She also implicated Hamas as the cause of all the violence and never bothered to mention that there was a Palestinian youth killed or that there were live bullets being shot at the demonstrators. What bothered me the most was her persistence on recording the chants of "Allahu Akbar," it was obvious what kind of picture she wanted to paint.
This is another tragic chapter
for the Palestinians and unfortunately they have so very few to hear their
plight or to feel sympathy towards them. They are constantly marginalized
and portrayed as angry savages or better yet
"terrorists," but whatever picture is painted they only have one objective in mind: FREEDOM.
*The author can be sent email at Mowafa@MiddleEast.Org
Here is how the right-wing Israeli
news agency Arutz-7 reported early developments today:
ISRAEL RETREATS FOR A DAY; ARABS CLAIM IT'S PERMANENT
Israel decided to entrust full control over the Temple Mount today to the hands of the Moslem Waqf and Arab security personnel. The Barak government decided that no Israeli policemen would be stationed on the Temple Mount or in the alleys leading to it, in order not to avoid a clash that could lead to bloodshed. Police leaders said their presence on the Mount would have led to dozens of Arab deaths, as well as another week of violence.
For the first time, armed PLO
policemen guarded the gates of the holy site and oversaw the entry of Muslim
worshippers - whom they did not limit in any way, despite an Israeli police
recommendation that teen-aged Arabs not be allowed to enter. "Protection
of the gates and sovereignty of the Mount was given to PA Security Chief
Jibril Rajoub," in the words of MK Benny Elon (National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu),
who was an eyewitness to today's
events in the area.
Elon also said that it was agreed
beforehand between Rajoub and the Israelis that Arabs on the Mount would
be allowed to throw stones "in a supervised manner, for 3-5 minutes" from
the Mount over to the Kotel
[Western Wall] below. The police had originally announced that Jews would not be allow to the Western Wall area today, but in actuality, a relatively small amount of Jews did pray there. The police evacuated them from the
Wall when the stone-throwing started; the Jews returned to pray there after a few minutes. MK Elon said that he refused to leave, and in fact suffered a small wound from a rock that hit him.
Center Party MK Dan Meridor, a former Likud government minister and presently the Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, sharply attacked the police decision to abandon security to the PA: "The Palestinian Authority has no business being anywhere that is under Israeli sovereignty. If the police choose to stand on this side of the gates or on that side, that's their decision. But in no way should the PA have been allowed to have a part in preserving order there."
Senior police officials expressed rage at Barak's decision to hand over Temple Mount security to the PLO, but they agreed to follow government orders. They later defended the decision.
Young Arab participants in the
riots told journalists on the scene that "we have conquered the Temple
Mount, and we will not give it back." Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reports,
however, that Israeli police generally do not patrol
on the Temple Mount during Friday prayer services, but merely stand at the gates. The difference today was that they stood 50 meters away; "they are not likely to return to their usual positions until the end of the current
violence," said Finkler.
Opposition leaders responded
with anger at today's abandonment of the Temple Mount. Likud MK Ruby
Rivlin said that the decision to remove all uniformed police was "a disaster"
and will cause the PLO to use the same
tactics to achieve additional Israeli giveaways. Jewish groups working for a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount are worried that the removal of Israeli police from the Mount will become permanent. The Yesha Council
announced that Barak's promises to safeguard all Israeli holy sites are hollow.
On the other hand, Palestinian Radio said today that there is no difference between Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, and Binyamin Netanyahu - "they are all settlers who are trying to conquer our land."
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE END?
The sum-up was, "It could have
been much, much worse" - but it was still quite bad. After the Moslem
prayer service on the Mount, hundreds of Arabs on their way out launched
an offensive against Israel's Lion's Gate police station 100 meters from
the east side of the Mount. The station had earlier suffered great
damage when Arabs hurled huge stone blocks through its roof, destroying
computers and other equipment. Now, however, it was
burnt down by the Arabs, who came close to killing eight policemen inside. Faced by a hail of bricks, bottles, and metal objects, the Israeli policemen locked the doors; the Arabs then surrounded the building and threw in burning rags and a tear-gas grenade. With fire and tear-gas on the inside, and Arab mobs beating on the structure from the outside, the policemen radioed for help. Back-up forces arrived, shot their way into the station, and found two policemen unconscious; the other six were suffering from breathing difficulties. They retreated 20-40 meters away from the area, and journalists filmed Palestinian Arabs proudly standing next to the burnt police station. The station is presently under the control of neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians.
The Arabs began the attack on the police station by throwing bricks, bottles, and metal objects, while shouting, "Continue on Until Jaffa, Haifa, and Tel Aviv!" and "Death to the Jews!" The total number of injured Israeli police was reported at 12, while the number of Palestinian rioters who were hurt was 24. Several foreign journalists were hurt as well. Palestinians reported that two Arabs were killed.
The Moslem sermon on the Temple Mount today included the following supplications: "We want the battle against the enemy to be orderly. We want dead amidst the enemy. We want to kill and not be killed. We must fight guerilla warfare."
Later in the afternoon, rock-throwing over the Wall down to the worshippers below continued. Additional policemen were injured in an Arab riot inside the narrow streets of the Old City.
And here is how the Islamic Association
for Palestine reported today's developments:
HAMAS SENDS TENS OF THOUSANDS TO THE STREETS
ON "DAY OF RAGE" IN PALESTINE
Occupied Jerusalem: October 6/00
- Tens of thousands of Palestinians took
to the streets throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip Friday to express
their outrage and indignation at Israeli-Gestapo atrocities against the
Massive demonstrations and marches proceeded from mosques following
congregational prayers all over the occupied territories, forming huge and
The predominantly Islamist demonstrators,
who were joined by Fatah and
Islamic Jihad elements, clashed with Israeli occupation soldiers in
several "friction spots" in Hebron, Bethlehm, Ramallah, Nablus and Tulkarm.
Zionist soldiers, taking positions
of rooftops, fired rubber-coated steel
bullets, stun grenades on the demonstrators, injuring as may as fifty
protesters, three of them seriously.
The largest march took place
in AL-Khalil following Friday's congregation
prayers, as Muslim preachers warned the Palestinian Authority and other
Arab leaders against betraying our blood.
"Now, it should be clear to all
that Al-quds is a red line, drawn not by
rhetorical speeches, but by the blood of martyrs," said Sheikh Nayef
Rajoub, brother to Jebril Rajoub, the chief of PA Preventive Security in
the West Bank.
Rajoub, who delivered the Friday
sermon at the al-Haras Mosque in downtown
al-Khalil lashed out at Arab regimes for their "deafening and disgraceful
"You, the Arab leaders all hastened
to Sharm al Sheikh when your American
master asked you to condemn our jihad….Doesn't al Masjidul Aqsa (the Aqsa
Mosque) deserve an Arab summit meeting."
Rajoub urged the Arab masses
to act irrespective of the wishes of their
"If you wait until those despots
decide to say 'no' to the White House, you
then will have to wait ages…So, go ahead, take the streets, kick out
the Zionists representatives and ambassadors from your capital…yes the
despots forces won't stand idle and there will be bloodshed…but freedom is
not without sacrifices."
Rajoub added that "if we flinch
from paying the price of dignity and
freedom, we then will have to pay a hundred fold in terms of humiliation,
indignity and enslavement."
Another speaker, Sheikh Nezar
Ramadan, pointed out that the blood of the
martyrs was more eloquent than all the speeches.
He, too, urged the Arab masses
to revolt against their corrupt leaders who
are answerable to America and the Zionist regime.
Ramadan said he was absolutely
convinced that the current Aqsa intifada has
made clear to all and sundry that the Palestinian people, and the Arab and
Islamic Umma will tear up any agreement compromising the holy places in
At the Aqsa Mosque itself, Zionist
soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets on
Palestinian youths who chased the Zionists out of Aqsa, injuring twenty
The youths set ablaze a Zionist
police tower overlooking the Haram al
Sharif and hoisted the Palestinian flag atop an adjacent building.
Palestinian sources reported
three people sustaining serious injuries in
And later on Friday, at least
two people were reported martyrs, one at Deir
al Hatab near Ramallah.
Earlier, the Israeli occupation
authorities sealed off the old town in
Jerusalem, barring all Palestinians from outside the town from reaching the
Meanwhile, a high-ranking
Fatah leader in the West Bank, Abbas Zaki, urged
PA chairman Yasser Arafat to release all Hamas detainees immediately.
"Hamas has showed a lot of self-restraint
and refused to be provoked….hence
it is disgraceful to keep those Mujahideen (freedom fighters) behind bars
at a time when the criminal Zionists are murdering our children and bombing
us with helicopter gunships," said Zaki during a speech before some 15
thousand mostly Islamists protesters in the Ban -el Zawiya square in
downtown Hebron Friday afternoon.
He saluted Hamas leader Sheikh
Ahmed Yasin, and saluted the martyr Yahya
Ayyash the Palestinian mastermind
who planned many of the martyrdom
operations that cast terror in the hearts of the Zionists between 1994-1996.
He was assassinated in Gaza in
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