Palestinians pray in the streets of Jerusalem - Photo courtesy of the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf facebook page
CAIRO - 24 July 2017: Since Israel occupied Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli forces wanted to blow up Al-Aqsa mosque once and for all. According to British-Israeli historian, Avi Shlaim’s, book ‘The Iron Wall-Israel and the Arab World.’
Over the years, Al-Aqsa Mosque witnessed waves of incidents and violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces and settlers aiming to erase the holy city’s Palestinian identity.
The latest of these actions was the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 14 and 15 as well as the installation of metal detectors at the entrances of the Mosque, which Palestinian worshippers refused and are still protesting against and are praying in the streets near the mosque until Israeli refrains from these alleged security measures.
These provocative actions led to clashes and confrontations between Palestinians and the Israeli occupation army in the city of Jerusalem that Palestinians consider their eternal and only capital.
Since 2014 the Israeli violations against al-Aqsa Mosque witnessed a dramatic escalation in number and scale. The below timeline highlights some of the major incidents and violations by Israeli forces and settlers that occurred in Jerusalem and targeted Al-Aqsa Mosque.
August 1967: Shlomo Goren entered the Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem) in military uniform with Israeli army to take the measurements of its length and width.
August 1967: Israeli occupation army seized the key to one of the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Moroccan Gate, it is one of the ten open gates at the Mosque located in the far southwestern area. Nowadays, the Moroccan Gate is dedicate to the entry of tourists and is completely controlled by the Israeli police.
August 1967: Israeli occupation army demolished the Maghariba and al-Sharaf neighborhoods and expelled the Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighborhoods. Both neighborhoods were Islamic Waqf (religious endowment).
April 1968: Israel confiscated the Haret el Maghariba for ‘public use’ and built a large plaza in front of the Buraq Wall (Wailing or Western Wall).
August 1969: Australian, Michael Dennis Rohan, set fire on the interior of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The fire completely gutted the ancient exquisite minbar of Sallahuddin which was replaced in 2007. Israeli authorities claimed that Rohan was deranged.
1970 – 1977:Israeli occupation authorities began intensive excavation works beneath Al-Aqsa Mosque on the southern and western sides. In 1977 a large tunnel was opened beneath the women’s prayer area.
1979: A new tunnel was dug under the mosque going east to west.
March 1982: Armed terrorist attacked al Masjidul Aqsa from Bab al-Silsila after assaulting Palestinian guards. He was overpowered and a potential massacre was prevented.
April 1982: American-Israeli soldier, Allan Goodman, entered the Dome of the Rock and started firing randomly at Muslim worshipers. Dozens of people were killed and injured. Goodman was pardoned by the Israeli government after spending a few years in jail.
April 1982: Israeli leader, Meir Kahana, indiscriminately opened fire on worshipers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque killing at least two Palestinians.
January 1984: two waqf guards found explosives and grenades behind a ladder in Al-Aqsa square.
March 1984: The Israeli archaeological department of the Ministry of Religious Affairs dug a tunnel, one meter in length and two meter in width and ten meters deep near the western part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, endangering the Islamic Council building.
August 1984: Al-Aqsa Palestinian security guards discovered another group preparing to blow up the Mosque. Sheikh Sa’ad al Din al Alami, the Mufti of Jerusalem, said “Had it not been for the protection of God, the whole mosque would have been completely obliterated.”
August, 1984: Terrorist, Yosef Zeruya, was convicted of plotting to blow up the Dome of the Rock Mosque and sentenced to 3 years in jail.
October 1990: Israeli ‘border police’ soldiers killed 21 Palestinians and injured more than a hundred following clashes triggered by an attempt by Israeli extremists to place the foundation stone of a temple inside the mosque.
August 1991: an Israeli Judge, Ezra Kama, ruled that the police, not the Palestinians, provoked the violence while the United Nations (UN) condemned Israel for the killing.
September 1996: Israeli occupation opened a tunnel under Al-Aqsa western wall sparking off bloody clashes with Palestinians in which 63 Palestinians and 16 Israelis were killed, called the ‘Second Aqsa Massacre.’
December 1997: Israelis tried to toss a pig’s head into the Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem).
September 2000: Ariel Sharon, former Israeli prime minister, then he was an opposition leader, provoked Palestinians by leading hundreds of Israeli police into the Haram al-Sharif path to ‘underscore Jewish rights.’ The next day, the Al-Aqsa Intifada (second Palestinian Intifada) broke out.
August 2003: Al-Aqsa square was unilaterally opened for settlers by Israeli Authorities despite the Waqf’s objections.
February 2007: Israeli bulldozers digging outside Bab El-Maghariba (Moroccan Gate) claiming that they were only repairing an old ramp leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
February 2007: Israeli occupation authorities prevented Muslims from accessing the Aqsa Mosque for the Friday prayer. A few thousand Palestinians managed to enter the Mosque and protested the Israeli provocative excavations.
2010: Establishing the largest synagogue in the Old City ‘East Jerusalem’ a few meters away from Al-Aqsa mosque.
August 2014: Israeli Parliament discussed dividing Al-Aqsa Mosque between Palestinians and Israelis.
2015: This year witnessed the ban of the ‘Islamic movement’ at the 1948 occupied territories and the suspension of the transfer of worshipers from inside Israel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Many Palestinians known as ‘Murabiteen’ maintain presence in Al-Aqsa Mosque and square to confronting incursions by settlers.
2016: Sixty three excavations scattered on the four sides of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The most dangerous of these excavations was stretching from Ein Silwan in the south to the southwestern corner of Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was opened in the presence of Miri Regev, the Israeli Minister of Culture and Nair Barakat, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem.
2016: Fourteen thousand settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque during this year. Two hundred and fifty eight Palestinians received restrictive orders from Al-Aqsa Mosque for 3 days to 6 months, including 23 women and 11 employees of the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf (endowment).
July 2017: Closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque for Palestinian worshippers and installation of metal detectors at the entrances of the Mosque. Palestinians rejected these Israeli measures as protests continue to take place in the 1948 occupied territories, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. Worshippers are praying in the streets of Jerusalem until Israel refrains from its measures.