On two successive nights, April 5 and 6, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The attacks were provocatively and deliberately carried out during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli forces forcibly entered the mosque while prayers were going on. The worshippers were ruthlessly beaten up with batons, handcuffed and forced to lie on the floor of the mosque. Scores of people were injured. Medical personnel were prevented from attending to the wounded. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested following these attacks.
After throwing out the worshippers, the Israeli state organised, under police protection, groups of rabid provocateurs to enter the mosque. The aim was to heap humiliation on the Palestinian people and inflame passions on the basis of religion.
Following the attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli army carried out aerial bombing on the Gaza Strip and Southern Lebanon, targeted against the Palestinian people’s resistance.
Why is the Al-Aqsa Mosque targeted?
The Al Aqsa Mosque has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation of their lands. It is situated in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed. The annexation and occupation has not been recognised by the UN.
Muslims regard the Al-Aqsa Mosque as Islam’s third holiest site. Located within the same compound is the Dome of the Rock, a seventh-century structure which Muslims regard as the place where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Within the same compound is also located the Temple Mount, which is believed by Jews as the site of Jewish temples in the Biblical era.
Palestinians consider Al-Aqsa as one of the few national symbols over which they retain some degree of control.
Israel refuses to give up the Palestinian territories it occupied in the 1967 war, — East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Golan Heights and the Gaza Strip — despite the UN repeatedly calling upon it to do so. With the backing of the US, Israel has declared Jerusalem as its capital, in violation of UN resolutions.
The Israeli state has repeatedly organised incursions and provocations in the Al-Aqsa compound, to deprive the Palestinians of control over the mosque. Palestinians have fought back to defend their right.
In 2022, Israeli forces launched grenade attacks and beat up Palestinians at the Mosque during Ramadan. Hundreds were injured, hundreds more were arrested. This followed the reign of terror unleashed by Israel in the occupied West Bank region in March 2022, in which 36 people were killed.
In May 2021, Israeli forces stormed the Mosque during Ramadan. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured. Simultaneously, the Israeli state organised violent attacks on Palestinians in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah area, to forcibly evict them from their homes. Israeli attacks in May 2021 resulted in deaths of at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, and injuries to more than 1,900 people.
Since the beginning of 2023, Israel has greatly stepped up its attacks on people in occupied Jerusalem. In January 2023 alone, 36 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes and raids, including 8 children.
US imperialism’s political and military support to the Israeli regime
The latest round of Israeli attacks on Palestinians have been condemned by the UN and several countries, including the Arab League countries, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
However, the fact remains that the Israeli state brazenly continues its attacks on the Palestinian people, without regard for world opinion. This is because it is backed to the hilt by US imperialism. US imperialism continues to assist Israel to arm itself to the teeth. It uses its veto power to defend Israel’s actions in the United Nations.
The US has built up Israel as a gun pointed at the Palestinian and other Arab people, to establish its control and domination over the oil rich West Asia. The US does not want the peoples of Israel, Palestine and other Arab countries to live in peace with each other. It constantly instigates conflicts in the region.
The US imperialist controlled media describes the Israeli attack on Palestinians and the resistance of the Palestinian people as “clashes”, calling on “both sides to observe restraint”. This propaganda obscures who is the aggressor and who is the aggressed, by falsely equating both sides. The imperialist controlled media turns truth on its head by portraying the Palestinian peoples’ struggle for the right to exist as a people as terrorism, while whitewashing the terrorist crimes of the Israeli state.
The Israeli state has been an aggressive and expansionist state since its creation in 1948. From the beginning, the new Israeli state sent its forces to invade the territory of the Palestinian people and occupy their lands. In the course of numerous wars, it has annexed more and more lands of the Palestinian people. Currently more than 1.5 million Palestinian people are condemned to spending their whole lives in refugee camps scattered across various countries in the region, including Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Palestinians who live within the Occupied Territories face daily threats of raids, demolitions and evictions. They have to daily suffer the brutal, humiliating methods of frisking at the hundreds of checkpoints set up by the Israeli forces around the Occupied Territories.
One of the gravest provocations of the Israeli state against the Palestinians is to systematically set up settler colonies of the Jewish population in the Occupied Territories. This is in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits an occupying power from transferring its population to any territories taken over by it. Currently, there are about 250 such illegal settler colonies with more than 6 lakh settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. These are given armed protection by the Israeli state. On the other hand, Palestinians living on their own lands have to apply for permits to build their own houses there. They constantly face the threat of demolition and eviction!
The crimes against the Palestinian people by Israel, backed by US imperialism, will always stand out as one of the worst injustices carried out by imperialism against the world’s peoples, in the years since the end of World War II.
The struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression, in defence of their right to their homeland, is entirely just. The Indian people and all justice-loving peoples around the world fully support their struggle.