New Delhi: Newsroom24x7 Editor-in-Chief Lalit Shastri has spoken at length in a video produced by Newsroom24x7 on the land of Israel, its history over the last three millennia, how the Canaanites and the Jews – the orginal inhabitants of this territory became victims of invading armies – the Romans, to the Mamluks and the religious crusade, to Muslim rule, and centuries of Islamisation till the arrival of Britsh and the transfer of the mandate territory by the British to Israel in 1948. After this it’s a sordid story of Arab Israel war, followed by treaties and accords for peace and efforts to find a solution to the Palestine issue. While the Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia have worked for a lasting peace in the recent years, the Iran angle and more particularly Iran’s help to Hamas, which is a terrorist outfit deeply entrenched in Gaza, has only aggravated the crisis leading to the May 2021 conflict marked by Hamas using citizens as human shields to fire thousands of rockets targetting Israeli citizens. Of course East Jerusalem, the old city and some of the holiest sites of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, that include the Temple Mount, the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock ,the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, remain a bone of contention. While the Palestinians want possession of Jerusalem, Israelis will never let that happen. Moreover all talk of peace, the present ceasefire notwithstanding, will remain a mirage till Hamas sticks to its proclaimed position that it’s goal is to drive out the Israelis even from Israel.
The latest conflict is being traced to what the Palestinians are terming as Police brutality against the Palestinian residents in East Jerusalam.
Addressing the special session of UN Human Rights Council last week, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said: Two main issues had led to the rise in tensions: the imminent evictions of Palestinian families and their forced displacement in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem to make way for settlers, and the Israeli Security Forces’ deployment at the Al Aqsa compound, restricting access to thousands of worshippers during the last days of Ramadan, using force against peaceful protesters and worshippers inside Al Aqsa Mosque.
The UN High commissioner turned a blind eye to an act of terror and refusing to call Hamas a terrorist organisation said: As a result, Hamas and other armed groups had launched a heavy rocket barrage towards Israel, indiscriminately failing to distinguish between military and civilian objects.
During Ramzan, Palestinians clashed every night with the Israeli police who put up barriers to stop evening gatherings at the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate after iftar. Palestinians saw the barriers as a restriction on their freedom to assemble.
Tempers were raging as several Palestinian families that had settled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood near Damascus Gate feared eviction amid talks that this area would be given to Israeli settlers, some of whom had already moved in when a lower court had ruled that the land in question belonged to Jews in East Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem’s Old City is the hill called Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism. Now two Muslim holy places are there – the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque