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The al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Credit: CC/Andrew Shiva 

March 15, 2024 (EIRNS)—Today was the first day, since the start of Ramadan, for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In recent years, provocations have taken place at this time of year at the Mosque by radical Israeli “settlers” led by the present National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and present Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, usually against the advice of Israeli security. Muslim radicals, including within Hamas, called yesterday for followers to “participate urgently in defending Al-Aqsa Mosque against the aggression that lurks in these critical times.” That has meant in past years, minimally, the occupation and barricading of the Mosque. More than 3,000 Israeli police officers and Border Police soldiers were deployed across the Old City of Jerusalem ahead of the prayers amid fears of disturbances.

Worse, last night at least 30 Palestinians were shot and killed at yet another food distribution site in Gaza City, and this morning Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office announced that the invasion of Rafah had been approved to go ahead.

Yet today, around 80,000 Muslims showed up at the mosque and peacefully took part in prayers, in a mass demonstration of religious solidarity. Israeli police also reported that there were no “unusual” incidents.

There are known plans by the “blood and soil” gangs who follow Ben-Gvir and Smotrich to carry out ritual blood sacrifices on the site. Such actions have inflamed the Muslim world, and did much to recruit enraged youth to join the “Al-Aqsa Flood” of last Oct. 7. Whatever else happens, today’s semi-miracle, with a reminder of the power of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, was outside of the “gang-countergang” cycle of revenge.