Palestinian analysts expected that the flaring tension between Israel and the Palestinians over Jerusalem warns of an outbreak of more conflict between the two sides, unless an immediate and serious pressure is exerted on them to reach a peace agreement.
They warned that the ongoing crisis between the two sides over Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem may fuse an explosion that leads to uncountable consequences.
Three Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured Friday in a series of clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli soldiers in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as part of protests against the construction of electronic gates at the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
After an emergency meeting of the Palestinian leadership, President Mahmoud Abbas announced Friday a freeze of ties with Israel on all levels until Israel commits itself to cancel all its procedures in Jerusalem, especially at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We reject the so-called electronic gates that were placed at the entrances to al-Aqsa Mosque. It is a political measure which aims at imposing control over the Mosque, evade the peace process and its benefits, and character the conflict from political to religious,” Abbas said.
He added that East Jerusalem “is the eternal capital of our people, our state and our sovereignty over it and its sanctities, We will continue to protect it and work to liberate it and the rest of our land occupied in 1967 on the road to complete independence and the full sovereignty of the State of Palestine.”
Ibrahim Abrash, a political science professor from Gaza, said that what is going on at Al-Aqsa Mosque is “Israel’s plan to control the mosque as part of a broader plan for control and annexation of Jerusalem and the entire West Bank.”
Abrash said that what is happening in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque “reveals the Arab and Islamic backwardness and reveals the deteriorating Palestinian situation” in light of the internal Palestinian division that has been going on for 10 years.
“The Palestinians have no choice but to rally their forces and unify their political components to save the remaining land, sanctities and national dignity, and the fact that Arab and Islamic backwardness and weakness should not be a justification for Palestinian official and popular frustration,” Abrash said.
Hani al-Masri, a West Bank political analyst, said that the clashes that broke out in Jerusalem and the entire Palestinian territories “clearly show that the Palestinian people are adhering to their freedom and their rights and ready to fight for it no matter how hopeless the situation is.”
“If this situation continues and widens, there is a chance that it will escalate and it will be a pressure for re-calculation,” Masri said, referring to the U.S. administration’s move, fearing the explosion of the situation on the ground.
He added that “what matters to the American administration are two things, first is Israel’s interests and security and second is its political efforts, and thus this ongoing popular action frustrates the United States before it starts efforts to resume the peace process.”
Al-Masri expressed the hope that the implementation of Abbas announcement to freeze contacts with Israel “include the cessation of security coordination because this would force Israel to remove the electronic gates,” adding that there were decisions taken by the Palestinian Central Council but not implemented.
Jihad Harb, a political analyst from Ramallah, estimated that the continuation of the current state of tension in the Palestinian territories “is linked to the extent and volume of Israeli violence against the Palestinian protests and the continuation of Israel’s actions against Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
“The Israeli government is destroying any horizon to talk about the peace process and its recent actions in Jerusalem,” he said.
He notes that Israel “has taken its final measures against Al-Aqsa Mosque, even though it understands that it is a procedure that the Palestinians will protest because it violates the rights of worship and touches the religious places of the Palestinians.”
Abbas’ announcement is “a step commensurate with Palestinian blood and anger and makes the Palestinian leadership in a position to do and accept what the Palestinian people want.”
Muhannad Abdelhamid, a writer and a political analyst, said that the U.S. will exert efforts to resume the peace process, considering that the peace process does not exist but it is already realistic.
“In fact, there is no peace process because Israel completely canceled this item on its agenda, but is trying to impose the surrender clause on the Palestinian people and confirm its ideological claims after the intensification of settlements and the continued looting of the Palestinian territories,” he said.
Abdelhamid stressed the need to put the file of the continuation of the occupation of Israel on the table as a chronic problem and aims to loot the rest of the land of the Palestinian people, provided that this is coupled with serious Arab and international pressure.
“What is going on now is the essence of encroachment on the Islamic and religious heritage that is part of the heritage of humanity. Israel is trying to deal with this heritage as a Jewish heritage with a fanatic concept of stabilizing the Jewish narrative around Al-Aqsa Mosque,” he added.
By Mohamed Abu Robb, Osama Radi, Emad Drimly