Home PodcastJulie Alli Israel Prevents Ramadan Prayers at Al-Aqsa

Israel Prevents Ramadan Prayers at Al-Aqsa

by Thaabit Kamaar
Image Source: Anadolu Ajansi

Jerusalem – As the holy month of Ramadan is embraced by billions of Muslims worldwide, a sombre atmosphere pervades every household amid the ongoing onslaught, starvation, and genocide plaguing Gaza, to the extent that the usual joyful festivities, decorations, and celebrations accompanying this auspicious month are eclipsed by the pain and hardship endured by the Palestinians.

Moreover, in a collective punishment response to Gaza’s resistance on October 7, Israeli officials imposed oppressive and suffocating restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Simultaneously, the Israelis intensified their acts of aggression against Palestinians and confiscated their land to extend their unlawful settlements.

Some of these constraints are aimed at obstructing Muslim Palestinians from observing the Ramadan evening prayers, known as Taraweeh, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in the Islamic world. Recent social media footage revealed Israeli forces attacking and assaulting a group of Palestinians seeking access to the compound.

Abeer Zayyad, a Palestinian archaeologist based in Jerusalem, remarked that during every Ramadan, Israeli authorities create obstacles for Muslims to pray at Al-Aqsa. However, given the ongoing ethnic cleansing in all their territories this year, the situation has escalated.

Concerning the recent appalling incident, she noted Israeli authorities were preventing young men from entering the Al-Aqsa compound while allowing elderly individuals and women to go inside for their prayers.

“The young men ended up praying at all the entrances. At all the gates there were people praying outside of the Mosque. We don’t know what will happen in the coming days and if they will allow people from the West Bank to come or for people with Israeli passports to also come to the Mosque to pray. But till now, we know that young men are not allowed to enter.”

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The Collapse of the Ramadan Ceasefire

Describing the atrocities in Gaza and the worsening condition for its Palestinian inhabitants is becoming an increasingly difficult task. With over 30 000 people killed by bombs and Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon of war through blockades, which go against the ICJ’s mandated provisional measures, the situation is beyond dire.

Despite calls from the international community for a ceasefire before the onset of Ramadan, those aspirations were shattered as Israel persisted in its genocidal actions, even amidst growing tensions and disappointment from its staunchest Western supporters.

While President Joe Biden appears to have slightly shifted his stance, stammering the possibility of an imminent ceasefire in interviews and airdropping limited and old aid, it fails to convince that he has suddenly developed a genuine concern for the well-being of the Palestinians.

In the context of Western policies, actions, and rhetoric, the double standard, particularly when it comes to people of colour, is glaring.

Abeer Zayyad highlighted that the continuous actions, speeches, and decisions reinforce the notion that the lives of Ukrainian, European, and white people are considered more important and valuable than those in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

“They don’t care … It’s a double standard. You can see how they are acting with Ukraine. You can see how they act with other European or Western people … Coloured people, as they called us, or all the people from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, are not the same or important as them. This is very clear. Our lives are not equal to the lives of European people.”

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