PALESTINIAN Islamic Jihad and Hamas resistance movement have warned that Israel’s house demolitions and its expansion of illegal settlements in al-Quds (Jerusalem) will trigger an ‘explosion’ of the situation in the occupied territories.
Islamic Jihad leader Ahmad al-Mudallal said a great struggle has begun in al-Quds against Tel Aviv’s attempts to Judaise the holy city.
‘The Palestinian nation and its resistance groups will not back down from confronting the occupying regime,’ Mudallal said, noting that al-Quds is a keg of gunpowder that could explode at any time and hit the occupiers.
‘Al-Quds sits atop the priorities of Palestinian groups as always,’ he said.
‘Palestinian groups support the city of al-Quds and its inhabitants, who are leading Arab and Muslim nations in confronting the Israeli occupying regime’s crimes against al-Quds and the al-Aqsa Mosque compound,’ Mudallal added.
He called on all Palestinians to express solidarity with the residents of al-Quds by holding demonstrations throughout the occupied territories.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem also condemned the Israeli regime’s demolition of homes southeast of the occupied al-Quds in order to build some 2,500 settler units there.
‘The construction of settlements across the Palestinian territories, in the West Bank and occupied al-Quds, amounts to a crime and a blatant violation before the eyes of the international community. It openly flouts international law and all resolutions on illegal settlements in Palestine,’ he said.
‘The Palestinian Authority must, therefore, take an immediate action and stop security coordination with the occupying regime. It must give popular resistance factions the free hand to target settlers, who are stealing Palestinian lands across the West Bank,’ Qassem added.
An Israeli committee has approved a plan for the construction of 1,500 new settler units in the occupied East al-Quds.
He also called ‘on human rights organisations and freedom-loving people worldwide to condemn and stop the construction of settlements, which are being built to Judaise Palestinian lands’.
Qassem said: ‘The rapid expansion of settlements in al-Quds and the West Bank must never give the occupying regime the legitimacy to expropriate the historic lands of Palestine. The number of Palestinian refugees is not decreasing at all.’
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state, with East al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in several resolutions.
- Dozens of people have been injured in new clashes between Palestinians and Israeli military forces who raided towns and villages across the West Bank.
This came amid soaring tensions over Israeli plans to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes in the occupied al-Quds and the frequent desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
According to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, Israeli troops stormed the town of Husan nine kilometres (5.5 miles) west of Bethlehem, last Thursday evening.
Security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said skirmishes broke out between a group of young Palestinian men and Israeli forces in the al-Muteena neighbourhood.
Israeli troops used tear gas, rubber-coated bullets and shock grenades to disperse the crowd.
Dozens of Palestinians have been injured after confrontations broke out between Israeli forces and a group of protesters in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
Several people sustained injuries and many others suffered chest tightness, coughing and a choking sensation after being exposed to tear gas fired by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces also stormed Budrus village, located 31 kilometres northwest of Ramallah, triggering clashes with local residents.
In the central West Bank city of al-Bireh, several Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces stormed the area.
The invasion sparked a face-off, and Palestinians responded to rubber-coated metal bullets and stun grenades fired by the Israeli troops by hurling rocks.
Moreover, Israeli forces detained at least two Palestinians during overnight arrest operations in the West Bank.
Local and security sources said heavily-armed Israeli troops rounded up a 17-year-old teenager, identified as Ahmed Kamel Makhlouf, after storming and searching his family house in Jalazone refugee camp.
Israeli forces also arrested a young man at the entrance of Zububa village, which lies northwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin.
Last Thursday morning, dozens of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East al-Quds to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Online footage from the Muslim holy site showed the settlers, one of them wearing a white monk dress, praying in the court yard while escorted and protected by Israeli police.
According to Wafa, almost 117 Israeli settlers protected by Israeli special forces broke into al-Aqsa Mosque at around 7am local time (0500 GMT) from the Moroccan Gate.
Israeli authorities had earlier restricted Palestinians’ access to the mosque.
The latest Israeli incursion comes ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, starting in early April, when thousands of Palestinians travel to al-Quds to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hardline Israeli legislators and extremist settlers regularly storm the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied city, a provocative move that infuriates Palestinians. Such mass break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds.
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned of dire consequences if Israeli settlers defile al-Aqsa Mosque during an upcoming Jewish festival.
Last October, an Israeli court upheld a ban on Jewish prayers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after an earlier decision by a lower court stirred outrage among various Palestinians and across the Muslim world.
In May 2021, frequent acts of violence against Palestinian worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque led to an 11-day war between Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip and the Israeli regime, during which the regime killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, but non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East al-Quds in 1967.