AMP rejects Israel’s interference in Al Aqsa sanctuary


 (WASHINGTON DC 07/17/2017) – The American Muslims for Palestine, a national, education organization, views with great concern new developments by the Israeli military at the Al Aqsa sanctuary in Jerusalem. Closing the mosque to worshipers as well as placing metal detectors and checkpoints at the third holiest site in Islam contravene international law, restricts freedom of religion and violates the internationally agreed upon status quo of the Al Aqsa compound.

The status quo, which is administered by Jordan under the auspices of an Islamic Waqf or trust, came into being after Israel’s 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem and stipulates the entire compound will be kept in accordance with Islamic laws and will be open for Muslim worshipers. 
AMP asserts the new tactics imposed by Israel authorities will only inflame tensions in Palestine and the Middle East and eventually could lead to massive unrest in the Muslim world that would destabilize the region and threaten U.S. national interests there. 

Jordan has rejected the move and is calling for Muslims to “boycott all the Israeli aggression measures, including changing the historical status quo including imposing the metal detectors." 

The Israeli occupation is the root cause of all problems in occupied Palestine, including in East Jerusalem, and until the occupation ends events will continue to unfold as we’ve seen before.

International law and U.S. policy clearly states that East Jerusalem is occupied territory. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 categorically recognizes East Jerusalem as being occupied, and then-Secretary of State John Kerry, in his 2016 remarks to the Security Council stated: ”… remember that every U.S. administration since 1967, along with the entire international community, has recognized East Jerusalem as among the territories that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War.”

International law obligates Israel to provide for the quality of life – including the freedom to worship for Palestinian Muslims and Christians – for the people it is occupying. International agreements also prohibit Israel from interfering with the Al Aqsa status quo. 

“The new so-called security measures are challenging the status quo and they cannot be allowed to stay in place,” said Osama Abuirshaid, AMP national policy director. “Israeli authorities recently installed security cameras on Al Aqsa. They are using the current situation in East Jerusalem as a pretext for long-standing plans to divide Al Aqsa mosque, in much the same way they split Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron.”

At this juncture, The United States must bring pressure to bear upon Israel through diplomatic, financial and political means to remove the metal detectors and checkpoints and allow Muslims free access to this holy site.

The U.S. must ensure Israel abides by the status quo that existed before October 2015, because allowing changes to this long-standing agreement will surely destabilize the region and threaten U.S. national interests. And finally, the U.S. must pressure Israel to end the modern world’s longest-lasting military occupation and allow Palestinians their liberty, self-determination and right to return to their homeland.