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Israel closes news site focusing on Al-Aqsa

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MEMO | October 17, 2016

Qpress, a media centre specialising in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa affairs, has been closed by Israeli authorities.

After being questioned and banned from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque last week, the head of the news organisation, Dr Hekmat Na’amna, was informed that Qpress was being shut down in accordance with a military decision issued early this month.

He was also informed that the use of the website has been banned, in addition to the use of the Facebook page. He was warned by the Israeli intelligence that any use of Qpress would result in prosecution.

These orders issued by the Israeli military and security forces indicate that the Qpress agency has been banned and completely shut down.

Commenting on this decision, Mahmoud Abu Ata, a journalist specialising in Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and holy site affairs and a former employee of Qpress said that “this closure aims to silence the voice of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the holy sites and to censor true facts and the true situation on the ground in occupied Jerusalem.”

“The occupation wants to cover up its crimes and plans against Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem as well as across Palestine. Qpress has always exposed such crimes as part of its media duty in a professional and transparent manner. However, it seems that such objectivity and honourable professionalism that portrayed the events, pictures and videos exactly as they occurred did not please the Israeli administration.”

October 17, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Highlighting Israeli violations of a world heritage site is not ‘inflammatory’, UNESCO, it’s a duty

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By Nasim Ahmed | MEMO | October 15, 2016

A draft decision by UNESCO, which criticises Israel’s activities at holy places in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, has been denounced by Israeli officials. “It ignores thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and aids Islamist terror,” claimed Education Minister Naftali Bennett very dramatically.

Never one to miss an opportunity to conflate Judaism and Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Facebook post that UNESCO had become a “theatre of the absurd”, to which he added: “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids.”

The World Jewish Congress, meanwhile, called UNESCO’s announcement an “inflammatory, one-sided decision” as Israel took the predictable step of freezing co-operation with the UN cultural body which seeks to “contribute to peace and security” by safeguarding world heritage and cultural sites.

The UNESCO decision, however, does none of the things that the Israelis and their supporters claim. The draft decision “affirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions” while also affirming that “nothing in the current decision, which aims, inter alia, at the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem, shall in any way affect the relevant Security Council and United Nations resolutions and decisions on the legal status of Palestine and Jerusalem”.

Israel’s problem with the UNESCO decision emanates from the simple fact that it has no way of reconciling its colonialist policies in the West Bank and Gaza with international law. Israeli officials were just as quick to denounce the International Court of Justice’s decision on its construction of the “separation” wall or the dozens of UN Security Council resolutions condemning the construction of illegal settlements. Like its condemnation of the UNESCO decision, Israel extorts political gain by claiming security concerns and its fight against “Islamist terrorism”.

The 58 member of the UNESCO board voted this week on a draft document that raises concerns about Israel’s violation of international law. Israel, predictably, hopes to deflect these concerns by conflating Jewish history with Israeli policy. The draft text, which was passed by 24 votes in favour to six against, with 26 abstentions, noted the following:

  • The failure of Israel, the Occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City and reiterates the request to Israel to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions;
  • Called on Israel, the Occupying Power, to allow for the restoration of the historic status quo;
  • Strongly condemned the escalating Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the Awqaf [Religious Endowments] Department and its personnel, and against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site;
  • Deplored the continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque by right-wing Israeli extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqsa Mosque;
  • Deeply decries the continuous Israeli aggressions against civilians including Islamic religious figures and priests, and urges Israel, the Occupying Power, to end these aggressions and abuses which inflame the tension on the ground and between faiths;
  • Disapproves of the Israeli restriction of access to Al-Aqsa Mosque and called on Israel to stop all violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque;
  • Criticised Israel’s refusal to grant visas to UNESCO experts in charge of the UNESCO project at the Centre of Islamic Manuscripts in Al-Aqsa Mosque;

Raised concern regarding the illegal demolitions of Umayyad, Ottoman and Mamluk remains as well as other intrusive works and excavations in and around the Mughrabi Gate Pathway, and also requests Israel, to halt such demolitions, excavations and works and to abide by its obligations under the provisions of the UNESCO conventions.

The draft resolution, which also goes on to deplore the continuous Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and reaffirms the integral link between Palestine and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, is a full scale condemnation of Israel’s total lack of disregard for Al-Aqsa Mosque, and its refusal to act in accordance with UNESCOs recommendation in maintaining the sanctity of the religious sites that are holy to all three Abrahamic faiths. Despite the best efforts of Israeli officials to paint this decision as yet another anti-Jewish declaration it is actually nothing of the sort.

A UN body such as UNESCO has a duty to highlight Israel’s ongoing annexation and colonisation of Palestine. It has an even bigger obligation to raise awareness of the systematic efforts by hostile parties — no matter who they are — to seize control of world heritage sites. Only in the eyes of Israel — the Occupying Power, remember — could that be seen as “inflammatory”.

October 15, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Extremist Jewish group calls for demolition of Dome of the Rock

Ma’an – December 10, 2015

357424CBETHLEHEM – An extremist Jewish organization on Thursday invited Israeli right-wing activists to participate in a rally calling for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, Hebrew-language Israeli news sites reported.

The Temple Institute — dedicated to building the Third Jewish Temple in the place of the Dome of the Rock — organized the rally in an effort to place pressure on the Israeli government to demolish Muslim facilities in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to the reports.

The rally is expected to start at Zion Square in West Jerusalem before heading to the Al-Aqsa compound where the right-wingers plan to light candles to commemorate the fifth night of Hanukah.

The Temple Institute reportedly distributed dozens of t-shirts calling for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock prior to the rally.

One of the t-shirts handed out displayed an image of a lift carrying the Dome of the Rock with a caption reading “waste removal.”

The Dome of the Rock — located in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound — is the third holiest site in Islam, and is venerated as Judaism’s most holy place, as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

The Temple Institute is one of a handful of extremist Israeli organizations who critics say are gaining traction in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government.

Controversial Israeli right-winger Yehuda Glick is a major figure in the Temple Institute, which has reportedly received $600,000 shekels ($155,300) in monetary support over the past five years from Israel’s Ministry of Education.

The figure was released Thursday in an investigation conducted by Israeli daily Haaretz. The report also revealed that Netanyahu’s defense minister, Eli Ben-Dahan, personally donated thousands of dollars to the Temple Institute.

Such extremist groups have created a rift within Israeli society while triggering frustration from Palestinian groups.

Increased numbers of Jewish worshipers touring the compound in September — accompanied by restrictions on Palestinian worshipers — played a major role in triggering a wave of violence across occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of October.

Many Palestinians fear that Israel is seeking to renege on a longstanding agreement preventing non-Muslim prayer in the compound, although Israeli leadership has denied that this is the case.

On Wednesday evening, a former member of the Jewish Underground — a right-wing group that also plotted for the destruction of the Dome of the Rock — was injured in a drive-by shooting in the occupied West Bank.

December 10, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel/Jordan negotiate reopening al-Aqsa to non-Muslims

PNN – June 30, 2015

Jerusalem – Hebrew newspaper Haaretz today revealed that Israel and Jordan have been involved in negotiations for a number of months concerning reopening Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount to non-Muslim visitors.

Haaretz further clarified that there would be procedures put in place in order to prevent visitors being refused entry on the grounds of their religion.

Al-Aqsa Mosque has been closed to non-Muslims since the outbreak of the third Intifada in 2000, before which Jewish and Christian people were also allowed to enter freely.

Although Palestinians hold custodianship of the holy site through Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, head imam and manager of al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel claims sovereignty over all of Temple Mount.

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are permitted to patrol the site despite control of the mosque officially being held by the Islamic Waqf Trust, who are independent of the Israeli government.

June 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Most Jews want to perform Jewish rituals in Al-Aqsa Mosque

MEMO | March 13, 2014

jewish-jews-al-aqsa-dome-of-the-rockSome 78 per cent of religious Jews want to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compared to only 18 per cent from the national Haredim, a new poll has revealed.

Published by Maagar Mohot and conducted in cooperation with the Temple Organisations, the survey showed that 45 per cent of secular Jews wanted to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque.

About 80 per cent of the national religious Jews believe that entering Al-Aqsa Mosque has to keep up with the teachings of Judaism, which stipulate carrying out religious rituals upon accessing certain places inside the mosque.

Regarding tourism visits to the mosque, the poll showed that 68 per cent of the national religious Jews want to enter Al-Aqsa as tourists, compared with 60 per cent of secular Jews and 20 per cent of Haredim.

The poll showed that 73 per cent of national religious Jews support building a Jewish temple in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Islamic Heritage said that this reaffirms that all facets of Israeli society want to invade Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a Jewish Temple in its place.

March 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel bans guards from entering Aqsa compound

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Ma’an – 08/06/2013

JERUSALEM – Israel on Friday banned 25 Al-Aqsa compound guards from the vicinity of the mosque for varying periods of time.

Samer Qweider was banned from entering Al-Aqsa until the end of Ramadan for allegedly verbally abusing rightists who tried to get into the compound.

Qweider told Ma’an that on May 28 he was banned from entering the compound for six days, and accordingly he returned to his job on Monday. After two days of working regularly he was told by Israeli police he was not allowed to enter the compound until Ramadan ends in mid-August.

Another guard, Fadi Bakeer, said that Israel wanted to “silence” the guards, and added that any guard who tried to stop rightists from entering the holy compound would be banned.

A religious department worker said that guards are pressured, arrested, beaten, banned, and fined. He added that his department has pleaded for King Abdullah II of Jordan for help.

Israeli authorities have allowed the Jordanian leadership a degree of control over the holy Muslim site as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher due to its historical connections to Jerusalem.

Israel seized the West Bank including East Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six-Day War of 1967.

June 8, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Al-Aqsa to be Converted into a Park by Israelis

Ma’an – 31/07/2012
Bulldozers carry out work on a pathway next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem (MaanImages/Magnus Johansson, File)

JERUSALEM – The deputy leader of the Islamic movement in Israel, Sheikh Kamal al-Khateib, said Tuesday that the Israeli municipal council of Jerusalem planned to transform the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound into public parks and gardens, to make them accessible for the Jews to visit at any time.

Speaking to reporters, Al-Khateib said that the process of ‘Judaising’ Jerusalem had been accelerated since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. “The occupation is working to efface the Palestinian features in the holy city through unprecedented procedures they carried out this month,” he added.

“For the first time, the occupation has allowed settlers and extremists to access Al-Aqsa compound during Ramadan paying no attention to the feelings of the Muslim worshipers there,” he said. “Meanwhile, the municipality which represents the occupation approved a decision to consider the yards in Al-Aqsa compound public parks which anybody can access.”

In mid-July Palestinian officials denounced Yehuda Weinstein, the Israeli attorney general, after he claimed that the Al-Aqsa area was part of Israel and referred to the mosque’s courtyards as public space.

Weinstein was quoted on Israeli news sites as saying the area was under Israeli jurisdiction for matters such as planning and building, and said the courtyard was for public use.

In his remarks Tuesday, Al-Khateib said soldiers detained the imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday while he was praying. “Israeli troops stormed the mosque and prevented worshipers from completing their prayer,” he said.

On Thursday a mosque guard told Ma’an that 20 rightists entered the grounds of the holy site.

July 31, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Israeli military complex planned in Jerusalem

MEMO | July 5, 2012

Planning permission has been approved for the construction of a new military complex on Al-Zaytoun and Al-Mokabber Hills overlooking the southern side of Al-Aqsa Mosque. A site of around 10.5 acres has been earmarked for the project by the Israeli authorities. The new complex will include the HQ of the General Staff, a college of national security, a military academy and accommodation for soldiers and senior officers.

The project is consistent with the strategy of extending Israel’s de facto sovereignty over the so-called “holy basin” that is adjacent to the Al-Aqsa compound and the Old City of Jerusalem. This is planned to make Jerusalem the headquarters of Israel’s security, military and political authorities in order to be declared to be the “capital of the Jewish people” in 2020, at which stage there will be no place for the Palestinians.

A specialist in settlement affairs said that the plan contravenes international conventions and even Israel’s own planning and building regulations. Researcher Ahmed Laban pointed out that the proposed college complex is in occupied East Jerusalem, on the Palestinian side of the old Green Line. This, he added, is intended as yet another settlement in the heart of the Palestinian suburbs of Jerusalem.

The director of the International Jerusalem Centre, an expert in Jerusalem affairs, said that this project is an extension of a series of comprehensive plans started in 2007 to change Jerusalem’s mountains into massive military shelters for the Israeli leadership during non-conventional warfare. Hassan Khater confirmed that the Israeli government has already started on projects in other areas in Jerusalem. “The government is building shelters connected to its headquarter and others connected to the official residence of the Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem,” he said. “Despite the secrecy and ambiguity surrounding these projects, it is clear that the Israeli government is carrying on with its Judaisation plans to prepare Jerusalem as the capital of the state.”

Both Khater and Laban confirmed their belief that the Israelis do not discriminate against Islamic heritage and Muslim residents in Jerusalem, pointing out that Palestinian Muslims and Christians are targeted equally. “Many Christian buildings have been destroyed and others are in danger if these projects go ahead,” said Mr. Khater.

Calling on the Palestinian Authority and the international community to take “serious measures” to stop the Judaisation of Jerusalem, both men also asked them to support the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in their struggle against what is seen as the ethnic cleansing of their city by the Israeli authorities.

July 7, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Comments Off on New Israeli military complex planned in Jerusalem

Israeli forces detain Hebron journalist

Ma’an – 03/06/2012

Sharif Rajoub works as a reporter for al-Aqsa radio station.

HEBRON – Israeli forces detained a local journalist in Hebron early Sunday, relatives said.

Soldiers raided the home of Sharif Rajoub in the village of Dura and took him to an unknown destination, his brother Mahmoud told Ma’an.

Rajoub works as a reporter for Al-Aqsa radio station. He was preparing for his wedding, which was set to take place next week, his brother added.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a man had been arrested in Dura overnight Saturday, but could not provide further details about his identity.

Another man was arrested in Ramallah overnight, she added.

Israeli forces have raided several Palestinian news outlets in recent months.

In late February, Israeli forces raided the university institute’s Al-Quds Educational TV in Ramallah-district Al-Bireh and confiscated its broadcasting equipment, claiming it was interrupting legal broadcasting.

The same day, Israeli forces also raided Watan TV’s newsroom in Ramallah and seized transmitters.

In May, Israeli forces arrested the director of a Jenin-based satellite channel after raiding his home. Soldiers confiscated Al-Asir TV station’s broadcasting equipment, the director told Ma’an.

June 3, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli forces detain Hebron journalist