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Israel wants to ban Muslims guards at Masjid al Aqsa

Hands Off Al Aqsa

Agencies | 04 Safar 1436/26 November 2014

Israeli security officials are pushing a bill that would outlaw the presence of Muslim guards that patrol the Al-Aqsa mosque, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported.

Under the auspices of the Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a bill on behalf of the Israeli police and the Shin Bet security service will target the guards whose responsibility is to ward off dangers from the site.

The Haaretz reported that Aharonovitch has discussed the bill with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Additionally, security officials claimed that blocking funding to these guards, who receive $776 to $1,036 a month according to Haaretz, had led to a decrease in protests in the area around the mosque.

“The smartest thing to do is to show how we’re stopping the funding. We recently seized roughly a million shekels. We felt a drastic change on the “Temple Mount” in a matter of days, the numbers [of demonstrators] went down,” Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said, using the name Jews use to describe the compound.

“I think it’s an effective way to deal with this phenomenon,” he added during a Nov. 2 meeting of the Knesset Interior Committee.

Should the bill pass, it will criminalize the guards’ – known as Murabiteen – presence in the Al-Aqsa compound, where according to one NGO, they repeatedly stopped attempts by extremist settlers to enter the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Israeli officials agree that authorities must continue restricting access to the compound, namely for Knesset members and right-wing activists, as the latter have been repeatedly calling for an increased Jewish presence in the area.

In statements made Tuesday, Danino branded Likud MK Moshe Feiglin’s visit to the compound a mistake.

“I forbade Feiglin from going up to the Mount until I no longer had backing from the attorney general. It was a mistake to allow someone up there who symbolizes changing the status quo,” he was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily.

In response, Feiglin slammed Danino, saying that the police chief had “failed to defend Jerusalem, and is looking for a scapegoat. “I’m praying in accordance with the law,” he claimed.

Zuma: Israel’s ‘Don’t Care’ attitude most serious obstacle to peace

Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 04 Safar 1436/26 November 2014

While the world was united in seeking a just solution to the conflict in Palestine, brazen Israeli defiance and unilateralism were the biggest obstacles towards making this a reality, South African President Jacob Zuma said yesterday.

“Whilst everybody is wanting negotiations to find a peaceful solution, you do things that tend to be moving away from that trend and process, it is a problem,” Zuma said Wednesday of Israel in response to a question on the Zionist entity’s proposed controversial Jewish State Bill, that would afford national rights to Jews only.

“From where we stand, it looks like Israel is saying ‘I don’t care. I do what I think will please me as a country, whatever other people are doing it is not my business’. I don’t think that is how you would want global relations to be conducted, because you want to bring harmony and stability in the world.”

Zuma was speaking in Pretoria at the commencement of a 3 day official visit by Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas to South Africa.

He said Israel’s continued settlement building on Occupied Palestinian land was the root cause of continuing hostilities in the region.

Zuma reiterated South Africa’s long-held call for the total cessation of all settlement activities.

“The only way to everlasting peace lies in frank and genuine negotiations between Palestinians and the State of Israel with the two-state solution being the ultimate goal,” he said.

He blamed Israel’s propensity to continuously defy the international community on an unequal system of global governance epitomized by the United Nations.

“The reality is that the overwhelming majority of the world agrees with the position of two states living side by side in peace, but we have a problem of a country that is defying all of that. That is a problem. I also think the manner in which the (UN)system is designed further exposes the problem that the Security Council [through its veto system] is unable to dispense justice. Here we are seeing people, fighting forever, being killed, and the world cannot act. And therefore part of what needs to be done is to transform the manner in which the arrangement of the globe governs everyone else, so that you do not have one country that can defy the whole world and there are no consequences”.

Zuma also said South Africa was concerned with growing tensions at Masjid al Aqsa and believed it was Israel’s responsibility to de-escalate the situation in Jerusalem.

Abbas said the Palestinians sought to benefit from South Africa’s “successful experiences” in building an independent state.

“We are the last nation in the world that is still living under occupation,” he said.

Citing examples of a number of European countries who are now considering recognition of a Palestinian State and banning of Israeli settlement produce, Abbas said the world had come to realize the urgent necessity of a free and independent homeland for the Palestinians.

“These developments serve as a clear indication to Israel that the world is changing its approach to Palestine, and that it should seriously pay attention”.

Mahmud Abbas given regal reception in South Africa

Cii News | 04 Safar 1436/27 November 2014

Acting Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas has begun a long anticipated official visit to South Africa with a meeting with President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Abbas is the highest ranking PLO official to visit the country since 1994 when the late Yasser Arafat was in South Africa to attend the inauguration of President Mandela.

Abbas was afforded full presidential honours with the Union Buildings on Wednesday adorned with clusters of colourful Palestinian flags to herald the historic visit.

President Zuma, Deputy President Ramaphosa and a full compliment of ministers were present to welcome Abbas.

As ceremonial canons fired in the background, the Palestinian leader was given a 21 gun salute prior to being taken on a lap of honour and greeting assembled members of Zuma’s cabinet.

Zuma then hosted Abbas for a round of bilateral talks.

The key purpose of the visit according to the South African government is to improve the brotherly relations between South Africa and Palestine, discuss the latest developments in the Middle East and explore how “South Africa can meaningfully contribute towards the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination”.

A series of bilateral agreements between the two countries were signed pledging improved co-operation in the areas of political consultations and higher education and training.

President Abbas thanked South Africa for its continued support for the Palestinian people at both the civil society and governmental level and said his delegation was present to learn valuable lessons on democracy and the fight against injustice from his South African counterparts.

President Zuma said he was grateful to Abbas for honouring his official invitation.

“The people of South Africa and Palestine have a strong bond built in the trenches of struggle. We want to build even stronger relations and co-operation based on that historical relationship,” he said.

Zuma later bestowed President Abbas with the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo, an esteemed national honour. Abbas reciprocated with his bestowal of the Star of Palestine award on Zuma at the Presidential guesthouse.

Abbas’ programme continues today with official meetings with DIRCO, the tripartite alliance, Arab Ambassadors and the local Palestinian community.

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