Liberating Al-Aqsa

Such was the acute sensitivity displayed by Moshe Dayan – one of Israel’s well-acclaimed leaders and statesmen.

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Published in Astro Awani, New Straits Times & Asia News Today, image by Astro Awani.

When the Jordanians inexplicably withdrew from the Old City within East Jerusalem at the height of the 1967 War, thus allowing the Israelis paratroopers to occupy Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock (which for the Jews, both sites sit on what’s known as the Temple Mount), the first thing that the unit chief communication officer did was to raise the national flag – which drew the immediate ire of Defence Minister Moshe Dayan who exclaimed, “Do you want to set the Middle East on fire?”

One can only surmise as to the decision by the Jordanians to abandon defence of the Old City.

The Jordanians probably didn’t want the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and central to the worldview of Muslims, to be subject to damage or destruction in the middle of the fighting.

Even the Zionists at the time were careful to avoid heavy bombardment of the Old City and hence the deployment of the paratroopers to secure the area and flush out remnants of Jordanians entrenched in sniper positions (trenches, improvised urban-style bunkers). Even the air force of both countries avoided the Old City – as the aerial assault would have definitely been way too disproportionate.

And this was why Moshe Dayan was irked when the Zionist flag was perched on top of the Dome. He knew that both Al-Aqsa and the Dome were integral to the faith of Muslims (i.e., Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike) and keen that the Arab-Israeli conflict didn’t spill-over into a holy war for Muslims with far-reaching repercussions.

The Dome was, of course, the site of Prophet Muhammad’s (saw/peace be upon him) night journey and ascension to heaven (Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj).

Thus, this was also why the Temple Mount (also holy for the Jews) was immediately returned to the rightful owners, namely the wakaf council/trust that manages Al-Aqsa and the Dome.

Such was the acute sensitivity and awareness displayed by Moshe Dayan – one of Israel’s well-acclaimed leaders and statesmen.

In stark contrast, today’s Zionist State of Israel is led by politicians who are raring to openly realise that vision for a Greater Israel, and therefore which only sets the stage for another regional conflict but one in which the dynamics are no longer the same as during the four Arab-Israeli wars.

The fact that a flag rally/procession – only cancelled at the last minute – could even be scheduled to pass through the Old City on June 10 (Thursday), something unthinkable before, is but a microcosm of the changing attitudes of the Zionists who have been becoming more blatant in their design and intention over the decades.

To its credit, Hamas had no choice but to issue a stern warning in relation to the proposed march – since it’d been a gross transgression, yet again, of the sensitivities of Muslims worldwide.

Who could forget the highly offensive and inflammatory scenes of the Israeli security apparatus encroaching the sanctuary of Al-Aqsa in order to fire tear-gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at worshippers, between mid- and late May, which can only be considered as a sheer act of unsolicited provocation?

The Zionists aren’t sincere in implementing the two-state solution despite the Oslo Accords and are determined to engage in occupation for perpetuity – in the malignant wish that the majority of Palestinians would lose hope, give up their basic rights and migrate.

This is a result of acting with absolute impunity – with no sanctions and punitive actions exacted by the international community despite violation after violation of international laws.

Israel enjoys special treatment from the US – which has a systematic pattern of vetoing and blocking the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) as well as indirectly by way of abstention. According to data from the UN, the US has vetoed at least 53 such resolutions from 1972 onwards.

Whilst the US condemns China’s treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, its actions over Israel’s occupation of West Bank (and Gaza by way of continuing air and sea blockade) smacks of dastardly double standards.

As China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “Why has the US been so callous about the Palestinian people’s human rights while it keeps talking about upholding Muslims’ human rights?” (as quoted from “China says US veto paralyzing UN Security Council over Israel” published by Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Post, May 19, 2021).

Whilst it might sound almost incredible, the only solution to all of this – the trampling of Palestinian and that of the Muslim ummah (which can’t be strongly emphasised enough) – is for the Old City of Jerusalem (at least) to come under a joint-UN peace keeping force and Multinational Islamic Defence Force (MIDF).

The reason for such “radical” proposal (which after all isn’t really so)?

To protect the sanctity of the third holiest site in Islam and enable worshippers to continue their religious obligations in this regard undisturbed.

This would also prevent a future situation from being out of control and flaring up into a magnitude – driven by intrinsic momentum or own impetus – from which there’s no return (e.g., as in the state of “escape velocity” whereby an object on its own, i.e., without further propulsion or push, has breached the pull of gravity considered as safety net).

Working towards this would require cooperation with Hamas – now at the forefront of the Palestinian liberation cause.

Even if Israel would never ever concede to the above proposal, it would still have to talk to Hamas, come what may. In an EMIR Research article, “Ethnic cleansing and apartheid – Israel & Netanyahu are on the wrong side of history” (May 17, 2021), it was pointed out that Hamas isn’t a terrorist organisation at all but a resistance movement.

The newly published book, Engaging the World: The Making of Hamas’s Foreign Policy by Daud Abdullah (Afro-Middle East Centre/AMEC, January 2021) confirms the intense struggle by Hamas to adopt a moderate stance in its external attitude and relations, e.g., on the basis of the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other countries.

Its sole focus and aim is the liberation of Palestine.

Otherwise, should the Zionists refuse to reach out and negotiate, Hamas can only have one option and that’s to advocate for a one-state solution but without (and this can’t be emphasised enough of) a long-term truce as the basis, in return for the right of return of refugees to be recognised and allowed for.

In Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement by Beverley Milton-Edwards and Stephen Farrell (Polity, 2010), the book describes how Hamas was born out of poverty, misery and desperation – something that the mass media, particularly in the West, rarely highlights.

The following paragraph is worth quoting: “Those Palestinians had come to believe that, after years of negotiations with Israel without any deal that would offer them hope of statehood and independence, there was little point in investing further political will in a process making their living conditions worse, not better” (p. 6).

Recall that the late 1960s and 1970s were a period where resistance organisations such as the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organisation) and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) were involved in hijackings and assassinations of Zionists abroad.

Israel should be reminded that these acts of terror don’t apply to Hamas. Or better still, after using the existence of Hamas to divide-and-conquer the broader Palestinian liberation movement in the initial years, the time has come for a “full-circle”. That is, Israel must now create and enable a situation where it plays the role of facilitating the unity of the broader Palestinian liberation movement in a move towards a two-state solution.

This means that Hamas’ moral legitimacy doesn’t rests with Israel, at all. It lies with the Palestinian people and they alone decide their future (leaders).

Otherwise, Israel should be prepared for a future holy war that seeks to redeem the honour of Al-Aqsa.

Is this the price the Zionists are willing to pay – in their push for a Greater Israel?

Jason Loh Seong Wei is head of Social, Law & Human Rights at EMIR Research, an independent think tank focussed on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.

Bahasa Malaysi

Diterbitkan di GerbangPost.

Ketika perajurit Jordan menarik diri dari Kota Lama di Baitulmaqdis Timur pada kemuncak Perang 1967, sehingga memungkinkan pasukan payung terjun Israel menawan Al-Aqsa dan Kubah Batu, perkara pertama dilakukan ketua pegawai komunikasi unit adalah menaikkan bendera nasional – yang menimbulkan kemarahan Menteri Pertahanan Moshe Dayan yang berseru, “Adakah anda ingin membara api kemusnahan di Timur Tengah?”

Kita hanya dapat meneka keputusan pihak Jordan mengabaikan pertahanan Kota Lama.

Jordan mungkin tidak mahu Masjid Al-Aqsa, tempat ketiga paling suci dalam Islam dan sebahagian akidah dan pandangan semesta umat Islam, mengalami kerosakan atau kehancuran di tengah-tengah pertempuran sengit.

Malah Zionis pada masa itu amat berteliti untuk mengelakkan pengeboman besar di Kota Lama dan oleh itu mengerahan pasukan penerjun payung untuk mengambil alih kawasan tersebut dan mensasarkan tentera Jordan yang ditempatkan sebagai penembak tepat (dalam parit pelindung, bunker yang diubahsuai mengikut keadaan bandar). Bahkan tentera udara kedua-dua negara menghindari Kota Lama – kerana serangan udara pasti jauh keterlaluan.

Inilah sebabnya mengapa Moshe Dayan terganggu ketika bendera Zionis diletakkan atas puncak Kubah. Beliau tahu bahawa kedua-dua Al-Aqsa dan Kubah merupakan sebahagian yang tidak terpisah dari kepercayaan umat Islam (iaitu, orang Palestin dan bukan Palestin) dan bersungguh bahawa konflik Arab-Israel tidak berkembang menjadi perang suci bagi umat Islam dengan kesan yang sangat mendalam dan luar jangkaan.

Sememangnya, Kubah merupakan tempat penjelajahan malam Nabi Muhammad saw dan perjalanan naik ke syurga (Al-Isra ’wal-Mi’raj).

Oleh itu, inilah juga sebab mengapa kawasan Gunung Kuil/Temple Mount (juga suci bagi masyarakat Yahudi) segera dikembalikan kepada pemilik yang sah, iaitu majlis wakaf yang menguruskan Al-Aqsa dan Kubah.

Begitulah kepekaan dan keprihatinan runcing yang ditunjukkan Moshe Dayan – salah seorang pemimpin dan negarawan Israel yang tersohor.

Sebaliknya, Negara Israel Zionis hari ini dipimpin ahli-ahli politik yang secara terang-terangan mempamerkan tanpa malu visi Israel Raya (Greater Israel), dan oleh itu yang hanya membuka jalan untuk konflik wilayah akan datang tetapi di mana dinamiknya tidak lagi sama seperti zaman empat perang Arab-Israel yang dulu.

Baru-baru ini, satu perarakan bendera – yang hanya dibatalkan pada saat-saat terakhir – telah dijadualkan untuk melalui Kota Lama pada 10 Jun (Khamis), sesuatu yang mungkin tidak akan berlaku sebelumnya, hanyalah mikrokosmos perubahan sikap Zionis lebih luas.

Untuk selama beberapa dekad sekarang, Zionis kian menjadi lebih bongkak dan keterlaluan dalam rancangan dan niat mereka.

Oleh itu, Hamas sepatutya dipuji kerana tidak mempunyai pilihan selain mengeluarkan amaran keras berkaitan dengan perarakan yang dicadangkan – kerana itu merupakan pelanggaran berat, sekali lagi, terhadap sensitiviti umat Islam di seluruh dunia.

Siapa yang dapat melupakan adegan yang sangat menyinggungkan perasaan yang sensitif apabila pasukan keselamatan Israel mencerobohi tempat dalaman Al-Aqsa dan menembakkan gas pemedih mata, bom tangan gegaran dan peluru getah terhadap para jamaah, antara pertengahan dan akhir Mei, yang hanya dapat dianggap satu tindakan provokasi semata-mata?

Zionis memang tidak ikhlas dalam melaksanakan penyelesaian dua negara walaupun sudah berikan komitmen dalam Perjanjian Oslo dan bertekad untuk menduduki Tebing Barat selama-lamanya – dengan hasrat jahat supaya majoriti rakyat Palestin akan kehilangan harapan, melepaskan hak asasi mereka dan berhijrah.

Ini adalah akibat daripada ketiadaan tindakan yang mutlak – sekatan dan tindakan hukuman dari masyarakat antarabangsa walaupun Israel telah melakukan pelanggaran demi pelanggaran undang-undang antarabangsa.

Israel menikmati layanan istimewa dari AS – yang mempunyai catatan konsisten undi sekatan dan menghalang Resolusi Majlis Keselamatan Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (UNSCR). AS juga bertindak secara tidak langsung dengan tidak mengundi. Menurut data PBB, AS telah menyekat sekurang-kurangnya 53 resolusi seperti itu dari tahun 1972 dan seterusnya

(Sumber: https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_table_en.htm).

Sementara AS mengecam penindasan China terhadap masyarakat Uyghur di Xinjiang, sikapnya terhadap pendudukan Israel di Tebing Barat (dan Gaza melalui sekatan udara dan laut) adalah dwistandard (terlalu berat sebelah).

Sebagaimana diingatkan jurucakap Kementerian Luar China, Zhao Lijian, “Mengapa AS begitu tidak peka mengenai hak asasi rakyat Palestin sementara ia terus berbicara tentang menegakkan hak asasi umat Islam?” (seperti dikutip dari “China mengatakan veto AS melumpuhkan tindakan Majlis Keselamatan PBB ke atas Israel” yang diterbitkan Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Post, Mei 19, 2021).

Walaupun boleh dianggap sebagai hampir tidak memenuhi kenyataan, satu-satunya jalan keluar dari semua ini – penindasan Palestin dan umat Islam jua – adalah agar Kota Lama Baitulmaqdis (sekurang-kurangnya) berada di bawah naungan bersama pasukan pengaman damai PBB dan Angkatan Pertahanan Islam Multinasional (MIDF).

Pengaturan ini adalah untuk melindungi tapak suci ketiga dalam Islam dan membolehkan para jamaah untuk meneruskan kewajiban ibadat mereka dalam keadaan tidak terganggu.

Ini juga akan mengelakkan situasi di masa depan daripada menjadi tidak terkawal dan membara lebih besar – didorong “momentum dalaman” – dari mana tiada pengembalian (misalnya, seperti dalam keadaan “halaju lari diri” (escape velocity) di mana objek itu, iaitu, tanpa dorongan lebih lanjut, mampu melanggar tarikan graviti yang dianggap “jaringan keselamatan”).

Jika tidak, Israel harus bersedia untuk menghadapi perang suci masa depan yang bertujuan menebus kemartabatan Al-Aqsa.

Adakah ini harga yang sanggup dibayar Zionis – dalam usaha mereka untuk merealisasikan Israel Raya?

Jason Loh SeongWei merupakan Ketua Bahagian Sosial, Perundangan dan Hak Asasi di EMIR Research, sebuah organisasi pemikir bebas berfokuskan saranan-saranan dasar strategik berdasarkan kajian yang menyeluruh.

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