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Israel Allows Fundamentalist Extremists To March on Al-Aqsa Mosque

A key element in motivating recruits to the military wing of Hamas has been the deliberate desecrations of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli extremists, especially in 2022. The Oct. 7 “Al-Aqsa Flood” terror was dedicated to take revenge for the sacrileges perpetrated against the Mosque.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque, from where Mohammad is said to have ascended to Heaven, is the third most sacred site to Muslims. The 1993 peace agreement between Jordan and Israel included the terms under which Jordan would control the grounds. Israel abided by those terms for a while, but has progressively, and recently egregiously, violated those terms.

Haaretz reports that Israel has agreed to allow 200 fundamentalist Jewish zealots to celebrate on the grounds on Dec. 7, the first night of Hanukkah. The march is to demand that Israel finally take over the Mosque, a deeply feared suspicion amongst Muslims in the West Bank. Beyadenu, one of the nine groups organizing the provocation, posted a Facebook video stating: “We won’t win this war only in Gaza.” It targeted “the Nazis and their friends in the Waqf,” the Jordanian-established body legally delegated to administer the site.

Haaretz cited Daniel Seidemann, a Jerusalem attorney specializing in the geopolitics of contemporary Jerusalem, who tweeted on Dec. 4: “If there is any provocation more dangerous, more incendiary and more likely to trigger an eruption of violence in East Jerusalem and/or the West Bank and/or the Lebanese border, I can’t think of one.” He also noted that “this is precisely the route that thousands of ultranationalist religious marauders took last May.”

According to its organizers, the marchers will pass through the Damascus Gate into the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City on the way to the Temple Mount. However, a police spokesperson told Haaretz that activists were “distorting the route of the march approved by the police,” who add that the march will be capped at 200 participants and will not pass “in the Temple Mount area at all, will not be near it and will not reach its gates. Contrary to the lies and inciting publications of hostile parties, we emphasize that Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount will continue to be held as usual even during the days of Hanukkah.” They add that law enforcement would secure the march’s route with “with increased forces” and that “any attempt to violate public order … will be dealt with decisively.”

In recent years, the settlers movement headed by the two deeply racist ministers in Netanyahu’s War Cabinet, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, have led provocations that included attempted blood sacrifices of animals on the site. The 1993 arrangements certainly allow for visitors to the site, but only Islamic religious services may be performed there. So, the fundamentalist settlers poke the Muslims eyes by chanting prayers and holding portions of outdoor religious services on the grounds. The more Israeli authorities cater to the provocations, the more Hamas recruits.