Protesting for all the wrong reasons

Protesting for all the wrong reasons

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Photo by Reuters

On Saturday, protests took place in both London and Manchester supposedly protesting against the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

As mentioned in my previous article, Al-Aqsa Mosque was briefly closed for one day on Friday 14 July following the murder of two Israeli Druze Police Officers who were shot dead next to the Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, near the entrance to the Temple Mount. Hael Sathawi and Kamil Shanan were killed by three attackers who were armed with Carl Gustav style automatic weapons and an automatic pistol which were smuggled into the Temple Mount compound and Al-Aqsa Mosque by an accomplice.

The Mosque and Temple Mount compound were subsequently closed after the attack in order for the crime scene to be properly examined. Following the Mosque’s closure, representing the first time Israel has closed the compound on a Friday in nearly 50 years, two gates were opened to Muslim worshippers at 1pm on Sunday 16 July, and the compound was reopened fully on Monday 17 July.

So six days after the compound had been fully reopened, a protest was called opposing its closure? Surely not!

The metal detectors also shouldn’t be perceived as a reason to protest. Surely a temporary security structure put in place to save lives is something not to be outraged about?

After all, these security measures exist at holy sites around the world including the Vatican and Muslim holy sites. Six years ago, metal detectors were installed in Mecca, but I hear no outrage.

Metal detectors are also in place at the Mughrabi Gate (where non-Muslim visitors enter the Temple Mount). These were installed years ago along with those by the entrance to the Western Wall, simply to prevent terrorist attacks like last Friday’s happening more frequently.

If anything deserves a protest, maybe it should be to voice solidarity with the innocent Israeli-Druze killed from weaponry smuggled into the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque? No? I hear nothing either?

The reason behind the protest was simple; the attendees were protesting against Israel’s right to exist. The Israeli flag was stamped on and burnt, hardly peaceful and proportionate actions against the ‘closure’ of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Let’s not pretend this is about the temporary closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque, something which would not have happened if there wasn’t a terrorist attack. Rather the PSC (Palestine Solidarity Campaign) love a good protest and like to bandwagon on any incident taking place in Israel, even if this risks inflaming tensions between communities in the UK.

Let us be clear, Israel did not start this crisis. Protesting against the response completely misses the point and burning an Israeli flag reveals people’s true nature.

Demonstrators can attend as many anti-Israel protests as they like, but know this, Israel is not going anywhere.

The faster this is accepted, the faster space will be opened for dialogue, and incitement ended.

Stop burning Israeli flags, stop expressing outrage over a crime scene being closed for a day and common-sense security measures being put in to protect innocent people from terrorism, and stop protesting for the sake of protesting.

Use your voice to condemn the violence, use your voice to condemn the murder of two Israeli Druze Police Officers, because all I hear is silence. Silence and the burning of the Israeli flag – Now that speaks volumes!

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