#ItWillNotBeDivided: Palestinians launch campaign against division of al-Aqsa mosque

#ItWillNotBeDivided: Palestinians launch campaign against division of al-Aqsa mosque
Blog: Activists are spreading awareness through social media about possible Israeli plans to divide Jerusalem’s flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque.
2 min read
23 Sep, 2015
Right-wing Jewish groups want to be allowed to pray at al-Aqsa [Twitter]
Palestinians have launched an online information campaign to let the Muslim world know about recent Israeli violations of Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque and reported plans for its division.

Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli police at Islam's third holiest site for three days during the Jewish New Year commemorations, despite international calls for calm.

E-Activists have launched the "Working for al-Aqsa" campaign and the Arabic-language hashtag #ItWillNotBeDivided to protest Israel's alleged plans to divide up worshipping time and space at the mosque between Muslims and Jews.

As it stands only Muslims can pray inside the al-Aqsa Mosque but right-wing Jewish groups want that law changed so they too can pray at the site. Jews currently pray at the nearby Western Wall.

"We have full confidence that anyone who understands the size of the threat al-Aqsa is currently under will join our movement to thwart Israel's plans," the campaign's spokesman told al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service.

"It's our job to make everyone aware of what is needed to support the mosque," he added.

Jamal al-Khoudary, a member of the Palestinian parliament, said the plans had been underway for some time.

"Everyone must know that the plan to divide al-Aqsa began years ago and has been implemented gradually in stages. If they succeed the future will have greater dangers," he said.

Gazan author Radwan al-Akhras agreed. "Splitting prayer times and space at al-Aqsa has started and the whole Muslim world should take action to stop this imminent threat before we lose the first direction Muslims prayed towards and the whole city of Jerusalem - no one has any excuse."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said al-Aqsa was Palestinian, as were "all other Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem".

"[Israelis] don't have the right to dirty it with their feet, we will never let them do it and we will do our best to protect Jerusalem," he said.

Continuing tensions

On Friday, Israeli police were heavily deployed to prevent young Muslim men from praying at al-Aqsa on what the Islamist movement Hamas dubbed a "day of rage".

Police set up checkpoints on streets leading to the site in Jerusalem's walled Old City, turning back youngsters, while a police surveillance blimp flew overhead.

"It's a frontline," Mazen Shawish, 52, told AFP. "You have to go through 20 military checkpoints to get to the mosque."

Inside the compound, worshippers prayed without incident. Mosque officials estimated attendance at around 8,000, while police said there were 10,000.

Usually on Fridays, around 25,000 to 35,000 people take part in ritual prayers.

Hundreds of young men denied entry prayed just outside the Old City walls, as police only allowed men aged 40 and above and women into the mosque.