Posts Tagged ‘synagogue’

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East Jerusalem Clashes Spread to West Bank…Gaza Protests in Solidarity

March 17, 2010

I went to Jerusalem yesterday morning. Mustafa Barghouthi, my boss, was giving a press conference outside the Damascus Gate (the main gate leading to the Muslim quarter of the Old City). We got to Qalandia checkpoint and watched the demonstration there for a little bit. There were about a hundred Palestinian boys in the streets throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers who were stationed by the wall and in the streets of Qalandia refugee camp. I got a little taste of teargas and we went to the checkpoint…

There was only one lane open for walking through and no car lanes open. The soldiers were being extra annoying…we got through and waited on the other side for a service to the Old City. As we drove through Shuafat refugee camp, I didn’t see any protests but I heard that further inside the camp the Palestinians were throwing stones and setting up road blocks to keep out the Israelis.

All around East Jerusalem, in Abu Dees University, Eisawiyyah, and Shuafat camp there were demonstrations against the perceived threat to Al Aqsa.

Basically, there are a LOT of rumors going around about what might happen to the Al Aqsa Mosque–which is the third holiest site in Islam, and also happens to be located on the exact spot where the first two Jewish temples were built. The Jewish people believe that the Messiah won’t come until they build the third temple. That would mean they have to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque first, because the temple has to be built on the same foundations as the first two temples.

This is why Muslims were worried that this plan might be progressing:

1) the opening of the Hurva synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City–this synagogue symbolizes the return of the Jewish people to their land–which could mean Israel, the Old City, or the temple mount. There was also a Rabbinical prediction from a couple hundred years ago that the Hurva synagogue would be destroyed and rebuilt three times, and on the third time they rebuilt it the next day construction would start on the third temple.

To the Palestinians, construction on the third temple means the destruction of Al Aqsa.

2) The ultra-orthodox Jewish people planned a march around the Temple Mount which would end with them placing the cornerstone of the new temple–fortunately the Israeli police forced them to at least delay the march.

3) The new settlement plans for East Jerusalem only strengthen the opinion of many Palestinians that Israel is trying to Judaize Jerusalem so they can have it as their “undivided, eternal capital”.

So this is why so many protests happened over East Jerusalem and West Bank…………so many political things have happened against the Palestinians and no real threat of third intifada occurred, but this is religious. And it seems like that is more of a threat to the Palestinians than loss of land.

Anyways, more people than every before were talking politics, listening to the radio, watching the news, and protesting across East Jerusalem and the West Bank. So Israeli deployed 3000 police and military around the Old City and the PA put special forces on every corner.

The PA is ACTIVELY PREVENTING the Palestinians from expressing their anger and frustration against Israel, occupation, and the threat to the holy sites. There won’t be an intifada while the PA is around, acting as Israel’s enforcers.

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Trouble in the Old City

March 15, 2010

Today, the Israelis re-opened and rededicated the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the Old City, Jerusalem amid high tensions. The West Bank closure by the Israeli military has been extended until at least tomorrow (Tues) because they are trying to keep Palestinians out of the Old City and out of Al Aqsa Mosque while these Jewish ceremonies are going on.

Yesterday, after night prayers, Muslims were expelled from Al Aqsa and their ID cards confiscated. They are supposed to go to the Al Qashla investigation center and the Russian compound center to get them back.

Now, Palestinian men under 50 are not allowed into Al Aqsa, and the IDF has set up checkpoints all over the Old City and at the gates denying entry to most Palestinian men under 50. Fateh has called for as many Muslims as possible to go to the mosque to protect it, as there are rumors that the Israelis will try to lay the cornerstone for the New Temple on the Al Aqsa compound.

Many Palestinians are also worried that the consistent tunneling by Israeli “archaelogists” under the mosque may eventually cause it to collapse–both the construction of the New Temple and the collapse of the Al Aqsa mosque would be important signs to people of the Abrahamic faiths about the end of times. So this is causing a lot of controversy and tension.

Thousands of Jewish worshippers were planning to march around the old temple (where Al Aqsa mosque is now…) to celebrate the opening of the Hurva Synagogue but the Israeli police have cancelled it amid fears of riots by the Palestinians.