Resisting the Zionists at Al-Aqsa Mosque

Resisting the Zionists at Al-Aqsa Mosque
Comment: The Arab world, the international community and the Palestinian factions are failing to articulate the current aggression within a historical framework, thus leaving al-Aqsa vulnerable, writes Ramona Wadi.
5 min read
17 Sep, 2015
Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque last week and caused serious damage [AFP]

Zionist settler incursions into Al-Aqsa under the protection of the Israeli security forces have elicited various statements by the crowd of leaders always ready to condemn and express concern.

Regionally and internationally, leaders have uttered statements simplifying the site's history which, in turn, have created a vacuum between Palestinian resistance and international narratives.

While Palestinian Muslim worshippers defended the compound and faced the brutality typical of Israeli settlers and armed forces, Arab and international leaders concocted statements that diluted Israel's intention to obliterate al-Aqsa into a mere conflict, much in the same manner that Zionist colonisation of Palestine has also been reduced to a conflict.

A limited spectrum of reactions

In a statement, European Commission Spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic exhibited vestiges of alleged impartiality. While affirming the incursion as an act of "provocation and incitement", Kocijancic hastened to add *"It is crucial that all parties demonstrate calm and restraint and full respect for the status quo of the holy sites".

Arab leaders have not fared any better in their rhetoric. Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir spoke of mobilisation "at all levels to confront any act of aggression carried out by the Israeli occupation or the Israeli settlers against al-Aqsa Mosque".

Saudi Arabia is allegedly seeking to coordinate with Arab and Muslim countries in order to confront the violence escalating at the site. Similarly, Jordan's King Abdullah II took a diplomatic stance that is unlikely to be followed through, stating that "any more provocations in Jerusalem with affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel, and Jordan will have no choice but to take action, unfortunately".

     Arab and international leaders concocted their predictable statements that diluted Israel's intention to obliterate al-Aqsa into a mere conflict.

Within Palestine, Zionist violence at al-Aqsa triggered confrontational remarks, notably by Hamas. However, the extent to which leaders of resistance factions will comply with their assertions remains to be seen.

While declaring the violations at al-Aqsa would eventually escalate Palestinian resistance, remarks uttered by Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran exhibited a distancing between the movement and Palestinians actively resisting Israeli tactics to ultimately segregate and divide the compound, with the intention of destroying the original heritage.

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat availed himself of the Sabra and Shatila massacre anniversary to deliver a statement on al-Aqsa and international responsibility which reeks of contradiction.

While calling for international efforts to end "Israel's culture of impunity", Erekat remained committed to the two-state compromise discourse - a tactic that has allowed the international community to indulge in dividing Palestinian issues rather than face responsibility for a unified political and historical narrative.

The risk of diluting Palestinian resistance

Recent events and responses have not only shown a detachment between resistance rhetoric and action, but also a disregard for al-Aqsa as a site that, within Zionist paradigms, is a territory to be colonised.

The premise utilised by the Israeli government is reminiscent of the invented historical narrative upon which claims to Palestine were hypocritically made. Al-Aqsa's foundations have already been damaged by incessant Israeli attempts at excavation to unearth Jewish temples.

Settlers provide an additional stronghold for the colonising power - not only within the context of the perpetual violence perpetrated against Palestinian civilians, but also as a vital, complicit component of Israel's colonisation project.

However, the distancing of resistance movements with regard to al-Aqsa is reminiscent of diplomatic endeavours rather than commitment to protect the site. In the absence of a unified front, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again garnered a favourable position, as further punitive measures are sought against Palestinian civilians involved in acts of resistance.

According to Wafa, a Palestinian news agency, Netanyahu seeks to impose "stringent measures against Palestinian rock throwers who protest Jewish entry to al-Aqsa mosque under the protection of Israeli police".

Haaretz has also reported that during an emergency meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu requested that the Attorney General approves the use of sniper fire upon Palestinians involved in rock throwing - the aim being to extend punitive measures beyond the main routes which are usually the focus of Palestinian resistance.

While Haaretz does not specify the current situation at al-Aqsa as an incentive for the state to increase its levels of violence, further state aggression to diminish resistance to the destruction of al-Aqsa is a possibility.

As happened during other particularly violent episodes, the Arab world, as well as the international community, remain comfortably ensconced within their role as spectators. Whatever atrocity Israel decides to embark upon, it is unlikely that there will be any rethinking of leadership roles, articulation and stance.

Each violation brings with it a repetition of the condescending attitude that has become synonymous with Israel and its allies. The repercussions upon the Palestinian population with regard to resistance are colossal.

     Al-Aqsa's foundations have already been damaged by incessant Israeli attempts at excavation to unearth Jewish temples.

Despite the outrage at the recent incitement in al-Aqsa, Palestinian resistance movements seem to prefer the limelight of larger scale aggression such as the colonial massacres in Gaza. So far, apart from verbal declarations of war, there has been no organised resistance that shows continuity, let alone unity when facing aggression.

Secondly, despite references to "the occupation", discourse from Palestinian factions has yet again refrained from discussing the root of all atrocities, which is Zionist determination to complete its colonial project.

This dissociation serves the interests of Israel, the Arab world, and the international community, providing ample space for manipulating history and limiting discussion of Palestine to the 1967 borders.

While various conclusions may be gleaned from the violations at al-Aqsa, division and isolation of Palestinian resistance, as well as further loss of Palestinian territory, are at the helm of Israel's strategy.

The international community has already expressed its acquiescence by relying upon rhetoric that neutralises the discrepancy between the aggressors and the oppressed. If Palestinian resistance is to thrive and retain consistency, it needs to navigate the vacuum that has been created through decades of fluctuation between compromise and interspersed declarations of short-lived revolutionary fervour.

Ramona Wadi is an independent researcher, freelance journalist, book reviewer and blogger specialising in the struggle for memory in Chile and Palestine, colonial violence and the manipulation of international law.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.