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Israeli security forces use tear gas, plastic bullets and stun grenades to restore peace on Temple Mount (Haram Al-Sharif). (Photo:Mostafa Alkharouf /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Al-Aqsa Must Be Protected

Al-Ghad, Jordan, March 7

Al-Aqsa Mosque is being used by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for political purposes, as a part of his bid for renewed tenure in the upcoming election. Netanyahu allied himself with an extremist right-wing group that calls to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and restore the so-called Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Since Netanyahu’s political campaign began, Israeli raids on the mosque have been steadily increasing, culminating in the arrest of security guards and Jordanian Wakf officials working on the premises. Israeli has long sought to curb Jordan’s authority over Al-Aqsa, but is now taking this effort to the next level. Playing the Al-Aqsa card is a dangerous move on behalf of Netanyahu. It can easily backlash and blow up in Israel’s face. Whenever the Israeli authorities push their agenda on Jerusalem too far, they are immediately met with popular resistance among the Palestinian public. However, it is also important to ensure an adequate political response. How will Jordan and the Palestinian Authority react to the repeated Israeli incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound? This remains to be seen. Both sides are anxiously awaiting to discover the details of U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century,” which will help shed light on the future of Jerusalem. Based on indications from senior U.S. officials, Trump’s peace plan will not only destroy any hope for a viable Palestinian state but also cut all Palestinian claims to Islam’s holiest site in Jerusalem. Therefore, while we hope for the best, we must expect the worst. The Israeli election coupled with Trump’s upcoming announcement of a peace plan will likely put the Palestinians between a rock and a hard place. Instead of being passive observers of this political crisis that is unfolding against our eyes, we must take deliberate action to protect the rights of the Palestinian people. –Maher Abu Tir

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