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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Qatar’s amir, officials condemn ‘brutal’ Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Jerusalem


Israel has continued to expand its ethnic cleansing of Palestinians this week as forced evictions continue to pose a risk to indigenous families in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah.

Israel has continued its crackdown on Palestinians outside the Old City of Jerusalem during Laylat Al-Qadr, one of the holiest nights of the fasting month of Ramadan, as tens of thousands of Muslims prayed at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said up to 90 people were injured on Saturday. This is in addition to 200 injuries reported on Friday after Israeli forces stormed the holy Al-Aqsa mosque and fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at Palestinians.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani along with several other officials in the Gulf state, quickly moved to denounce the unlawful Israeli attacks against Palestinians.
On Saturday, the amir held a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to express Qatar’s support to Palestinians.

“I assured him [Abbas] of Qatar’s firm and supportive stance for the brotherly Palestinian people to obtain their national rights, with our strong condemnation of the Israeli occupation forces’ repeated attacks on defenceless civilians and worshippers in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque,” said Sheikh Tamim in a tweet.
Read also: Qatar condemns ‘excessive force’ against Palestinians as Jerusalem violence flares

Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani also condemned Israel’s attacks on Friday, calling for immediate international action.

“We strongly condemn the Israeli occupation forces’ storming of the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and their brutal assault on worshipers in these virtuous days. We call on the international community to take immediate action to protect Palestinians and their holy sites,” said Al Thani in a tweet.

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser also took to Instagram to comment on the latest events in Jerusalem by sharing an image of the Al-Aqsa mosque with the hashtag #Save_Sheikh_Jarrah, while quoting verse from the Quran.

“Permission [to fight] has been granted to those for they have been wronged. Verily Allah has the power to help them,” the verse states.

Qatar’s former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, known commonly as HBJ, also took to Twitter to comment on the urgency of the situation in Jerusalem, calling on leaders to push for effective action.

“Dear leaders! Save Jerusalem, for it is the core of the Arab Palestinian Islamic cause. The issue does not require a summit or statements of denunciations as we are used to doing. Instead, Jerusalem needs serious action to stop this Israeli recklessness supported by your silence,” he said.

Commenting on systemic censorship of Palestine-related posts by Instagram and other social media apps, Sheikha Hind bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani echoed concerns by activists and journalists online who said their posts have been deleted.

“Social media has been a tool to empower, bring justice and be the voice for the oppressed. This week we’ve seen it silencing and censoring the truth,” she said in an Instagram post.

Meanwhile, Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalisation [QAYON], an independent local youth body known for speaking up against any attempts at normalising with Israel, called on the members of the Shura Council to issue a statement expressing their rejection of the current attacks in Jerusalem.

“We, as the Qatar Youth Group Against Normalisation, are calling on the members of the Shura Council to issue a statement expressing the popular rejectionist position on what is happening in the occupied territories of Jerusalem by the [Israeli] occupation due to their responsibility towards the Qatari people and their representation, especially with regard to our clear and firm stance on the issue,” the group said in a Twitter thread.

Read also: Qatar-based pro-Palestine group slams Israeli violence

QAYON also tapped into the threat of normalisation with Israel and urged for a full boycott of the country.
“We ask the members of the Shura Council to push for the activation of the law regarding boycotting Zionist entities, because the act of boycott is the least that can be done to support the heroic Palestinian resistance in the face of the occupation,” the group added.
Several Qatar-based media personalities also took to social media to address the human rights abuses being committed against Palestinians in Jerusalem.

“The desecration of holy sites does not awaken the ummah, nor the abuse freedom moves the soul. During the days we were the best ummah, armies responded to the cry of a Muslim woman,” said Al-Harami.

Al Jazeera anchorman Jamal Rayyan pointed the blame towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who is attempting to form an “emergency government”.
“Netanyahu is behind the Zionist escalation in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories is for personal reasons related to his political future and aims to declare an emergency government to get out of his crisis in forming a government, even if this leads to the outbreak of a new intifada in the occupied territories ,” said Al Rayyan.
Qatar is due to chair an emergency Arab League meeting in response to the ongoing attacks on Monday.

Weekend attacks

The escalations began on Friday when Israeli forces violently dispersed a peaceful vigil by unarmed Palestinians at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The demonstrators were protesting the ethnic cleansing of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

At least 205 Palestinians were injured during the Friday attacks, with Israel justifying its actions as a “response to violence” who had reportedly hurled rocks and other objects at the occupying forces.

On Saturday, Israeli troops stormed homes belonging to Palestinians, beating them up before detaining them.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he “held [Israel] responsible for the dangerous developments and sinful attacks taking place in the holy city” while calling on the UN Security Council to hold an urgent session on the issue.
The protests come ahead of the Israeli Supreme Court hearing on Sheikh Jarrah evictions on Monday, the same day Israel marks Jerusalem Day, in which it celebrates seizing East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war.

As of now, up to 550 people are at risk of being forcibly evicted in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood that is home to 3,000 Palestinians, all of whom are refugees that were forced out of their homes in Palestine during the Nakba in 1948. The native population has resisted settlers since 1972.

Israeli authorities have been attempting to implement what it describes as a “demographic balance” in Jerusalem at a 70-30 ratio by illegally limiting the Palestinian population.

Gaining full control of Sheikh Jarrah would also place more obstacles to mobility for Palestinians.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA], Israeli authorities demolished, forced people to demolish, or seized up to 292 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem in the first quarter of 2021 alone. This led to the displacement of 450 Palestinians, of which 246 are children.

The numbers recorded in the first quarter of this year present a 121% increase in attacks against Palestinian structures and 126% in displacements.

On a monthly average, settler forces have demolished 97 structures, a 37% increase in comparison to 2020 numbers.

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