Thousands of Palestinians volunteer to clean, prepare Al-Aqsa mosque for Ramadan
Thousands of Palestinians from east Jerusalem came together on Saturday to clean Al-Aqsa mosque and its surroundings in preparation for the Islamic month of Ramadan.
Nearly 10,000 volunteers arrived in the city from around occupied Palestinian territories to clean the paved gardens of the mosque's compound, maintain surrounding tombs, and prepare the interior of the mosque for the influx of worshippers expected at the start of the holy month.
The mass event was organised by the Islamic Movement in Palestine, for the 13th year running.
"Over 150 buses arrived in Jerusalem on saturday full of men, women and children ready to get to work," said a statement by the organisers.
Volunteers also took part in restoration workshops for Palestinian homes in the Old City that flanks al-Aqsa mosque, where resources for protecting and maintaining vulnerable buildings are scarce.
"Our hope is that one day we'll be able to do this in freedom," tweeted volunteer Adnan Abu Amer as he took part in the clean-up.
شارك آلاف الفلسطينيين من الداخل المحتل، بفعاليات لتنظيف وتجهيز المسجد الأقصى وساحاته،قبل أيام من حلول شهر رمضان، بتنظيم من الحركة الإسلامية، وجمعيات وقفية،ومشاركة ١٠ آلاف، رجالا ونساء، مع ١٥٠ حافلة، في فعالية "معسكر القدس أولا".— Adnan Abu Amer (@AdnanAbuAmer2) March 27, 2022
أملنا كبير أن ندخله فاتحين محررين قريبا بإذن الله. pic.twitter.com/9Xqs4VaikL
"In this blessed city we face a struggle for the Palestinian narrative, for our presence and stability, our history and our geography," said Hamid Abu Duabis, former head of the Islamic Movement in Palestine.
In cleaning and protecting the Al-Aqsa mosque, "we take control of the narrative and make it known to everyone," said Abu Duabis.
انطلاق معسكر القدس أولاً للعام الثالث عشر على التوالي، وتوافد أعداد كبيرة من أرضنا المحتلة-٤٨— Katia Nasser كاتيا ناصر (@katyushia2) March 26, 2022
شوارع القدس وباحات الحرم القدسي غصّت بأكثر من عشرة آلاف فلسطيني من مختلف الأعمار
الوافدون يشاركون في تنظيف المسجد الأقصى المبارك ومصلياته وباحاته وبساتينه والمقابر المحيطة pic.twitter.com/TwFZFwAwXu
Al-Aqsa and its surrounding compound regularly welcomes over 100,000 worshippers during the month of fasting.
Over 400,000 muslims from across the globe came to pray on Laylat al-Qadr, the most holy night of prayer, in 2016.
The month of Ramadan will coincide this year with the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba.
The time period will also mark a year since the wave of Palestinian protests launched during the month of Ramadan last year, dubbed "The May Uprising", triggered by Israeli authorities' violent dispersal of worshipers at Al-Aqsa mosque and attempts to displace Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
One of them, a 19-year-old, was killed by Israeli police after he allegedly stabbed and injured two Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem's old city.
Another 16-year-old was killed by the Israeli army during a raid in the town of Abu Dis, south of Jerusalem.