Israeli Forces Attack Palestinian Worshipers
by Stephen Lendman
Daily life in Occupied Palestine is marked by Israeli violence and other forms of persecution - an ordeal Palestinians have endured for decades.
The international community largely turned a blind eye since Israel's 1948 founding, at most paying lip service to Palestinian suffering.
Israeli forces often assault the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site - again on Sunday, storming the compound, attacking Palestinian worshipers, protecting extremist settlers, provocatively visiting a place where they don't belong, especially during Ramadan's holiest days.
Al-Aqsa Mosque director Sheikh Omar Kiswani said around 250 Israeli soldiers were involved, attacking Muslim worshipers with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets.
The action followed escalated East Jerusalem collective punishment in the wake of Old City violence. Three Palestinians were lethally shot after conducting a fatal attack on an Israeli policewoman.
According to Islamic Endowment director Azzam Khatib Azzam Khaib, tourists are usually kept away from Al-Aqsa during Ramadan's sacred last 10 days - not this year.
On Saturday night, they decided to let settlers and tourists in. Last year, they did the same thing, provoking clashes.
On Sunday, a Palestinian statement said "praying at Al-Aqsa is the natural right for Palestinians and all Muslims, and the prevention of (Muslim) prayer at the mosque is an extension of Israel's fascist and aggressive policies against Palestinian people."
It stressed the necessity of "facing the Israeli occupation's suppressive policies and remaining determined that Jerusalem is a fundamental site of the Palestinian fight against the occupation."
Separately last week, Secretary of State Tillerson threatened to replace the UN Human Rights Council with "other means" because of its criticism of Israeli ruthlessness - "approach(ing) human rights issues on a multi-lateral basis with partners who see it the same way we do," he said.
"We are either going to reform this thing and make it reflect what it should be reflecting or we will withdraw our support for it," he told House Foreign Affairs Committee members.
The Trump administration is especially angry about a December Security Council resolution, affirming the illegality of Israeli settlements.
It passed 14 - 0 with Washington abstaining. It gave Israel another black eye, but little else. Nothing changed.
America's abstention broke tradition, vetoing over 40 Security Council resolutions hostile to Israeli interests since the UN's 1946 founding.
At the time, president-elect Trump tweeted "(a)s to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th."
Washington always one-sidedly supported Israel at the expense of fundamental Palestinian rights - perhaps more than ever under Trump's extremist administration.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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