Islamic-Christian Commission for Jerusalem warns of al Aqsa division plans

Thursday, 06 June 2013

The Islamic-Christian Commission in support of Jerusalem and its holy sites warns of calls by Jewish extremist movements to divide the al Aqsa mosque and impose full Israeli control over it.

In a press statement, the commission warns of Israel’s attempts to impose a fait accompli by dividing the al Aqsa mosque, as occurred in Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque.

The Islamic-Christian Commission notes that radical Jewish groups are behind these calls, although they are increasingly being made by more mainstream groups in Israel. These calls are often portrayed in liberal terms, as promoting and protecting the freedom of religion of Jews to pray in the Haram al Sharif compound, which houses the al Aqsa mosque. These seemingly liberal calls, however, ignore the context of occupation and the fact that Muslims and Christians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip are prevented from praying in al Aqsa mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other religious sites in Jerusalem.

At a conference held this week by the Israeli NGO Ir Amim, a panel discussion was conducted concerning the strengthening of “Temple” movements in Israel and its ramifications. Temple movements focus on the Harm al Sharif compound being the biblical Temple Mount, and the future building of the Third Temple on the site. No Palestinian or Muslim representatives participated in the panel, and at least two panellists expressed the opinion that Jews should be allowed to worship in Haram al Sharif.  The context of this being occupied territory under international law, and that such worship would necessarily involve increased police presence and oppression of the occupied Palestinian population in Jerusalem’s Old City, was not emphasised. Parallel calls for freedom of worship of the Palestinian population were also not made.

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