1. Masjid al-Aqsa is occupied and therefore is in danger. The threat to the shrine can only be removed with an end to the Israeli occupation.
2. Al-Quds, the home of Masjid al-Aqsa, is occupied and therefore is in danger. Today there is no difference between the threat to al-Quds and the threat to Masjid al-Aqsa. Because the threat is single and comes from the same source; and that is the Israeli occupation. The newest objective of this threat is Judaization of the entire al-Quds and the erection of the so-called legendary temple in place of Masjid al-Aqsa.
3. That is why David Ben-Gurion, an architect of the historical Zionist project and Israel’s occupation strategies, said “Israel has no value without Jerusalem. Jerusalem will have no value without the temple.”
4. Israeli occupiers plan to isolate Masjid al-Aqsa with the project Judaization of al-Quds. Isolation of Masjid al-Aqsa, on the other hand, is a requisite step needed to be taken for absolute Israeli sovereignty over the shrine. In this way, any Islamic structure aiming to establish control over Masjid al-Aqsa will be eliminated and the legendary temple will be erected on the land.
5. This point must be comprehended thoroughly: The project of building the legendary temple in place of Masjid al-Aqsa is also approved by neo-conservatives known as “Zionist Protestants” (Evangelists) in the United States. They interpret the destruction of Masjid al-Aqsa and building of the legendary temple as accelerating the coming of “the Battle of Armageddon.”
6. This fact shows that Masjid al-Aqsa has been declared a target by Zionists as well as neo-conservatives. Therefore, al-Aqsa is grappling with two enemies and it is a sign that it will be subjected to more serious threats in time.
7. One should also stay clear of the misconception that the assault on Masjid al-Aqsa comes from only a group of radical Jews as it is claimed. On the contrary, it is the state mechanism of Israel that perpetuates this assault.
8. It is the state bodies that have occupied Masjid al-Aqsa and al-Quds so far. And these are the ones that devise and execute all plans for destruction in order to Judaize al-Quds and occupy its land, buildings, sanctities and institutions.
9. Planners and implementers of every assault on Masjid al-Aqsa are also these bodies. For instance, they have been managing the project of excavating a network of tunnels beneath Masjid al-Aqsa since 1967.
10. It was again these institutions that named “the Buraq Wall,” a section of Masjid al-Aqsa, “wailing wall” and as an obvious step to seize this section leveled al-Maghariba neighborhood on 11 June 1967.
11. It is them that have full control over al-Maghariba Gate since they confiscated keys to the gate in 1967 as a start of the plan to seize Masjid al-Aqsa completely.
12. It is them that took control of all gates of Masjid al-Aqsa, stationed soldiers at all gates to stand guard day and night and let anyone enter and deny entry to anyone they see fit as if the shrine is their private property.
13. It is again them that went even farther in aggression after seizing control of all gates, and as a part of the effort to control any movement in the area obstruct entry of restoration materials into the shrine that is in dire need of restoration, prevent Muslims from bringing food for fast-breaking, detain some preachers for delivering sermons in the masjid, and even arrest Muslims for praying close to al-Maghariba Gate.
14. It is them that committed numerous murders, the last of which was in early 2007, inside Masjid al-Aqsa.
15. These are the ones that built a Jewish synagogue in the tunnels beneath Masjid al-Aqsa.
16. It is them that opened a Jewish museum in the tunnels beneath Masjid al-Aqsa.
17. It is again them that confiscated Tankiziyah Madrasah, one of the premises of Masjid al-Aqsa, in 1967 and converted the prayer quarter of the madrasah to a synagogue.
18. It is them that installed hidden or open cameras all over Masjid al-Aqsa and monitor every action of Muslims inside the shrine.
19. It is again them that raid Masjid al-Aqsa every day with agents, occupying forces and special teams, enter Qubbat as-Sakhra, al-Marwani prayer quarter of Masjid al-Aqsa carelessly passing before prayers and even detain Muslims while praying.
20. It is them that forcefully urge the Israeli people to enter Masjid al-Aqsa and take all security measure so they can hold religious rituals there.
21. These are the ones that allow each day thousands of half-naked men and women into Masjid al-Aqsa.
22. It is again them that destroyed al-Maghariba road in 2007 and clearly stated their intention to replace al-Maghariba Gate with a sound military bridge which tanks, trucks and construction vehicles will use to enter al-Aqsa.
23. It is them that announced their intention to convert Buraq prayer quarter into a Jewish synagogue.
24. It is again them that clearly stated they intend to build the world’s largest synagogue in place of the destructed Tankiziyah Madrasah, one of the premises of Masjid al-Aqsa, and turn inner courtyard of the masjid into courtyard of this colossal synagogue.
25. Moreover, it is them that have been describing inner courtyard of Masjid al-Aqsa as a public area, even though they well know the courtyard is an integral part of Majid al-Aqsa, and have been claiming the area is under the jurisdiction of al-Quds Municipality.
26. It is again them that plan to open some of the outer gates that lead to al-Marwani prayer quarter and the old quarter of al-Aqsa Mosque and are kept closed to pave the way for converting these prayer quarters into synagogues.
27. These are the ones that resume the work on excavating a network of tunnels stretching from the old city of al-Quds and Silwan neighborhood to Masjid al-Aqsa.
28. It should be firmly stressed that these activities of institutions of occupier Israel are preliminary steps for the temple planned to replace Masjid al-Aqsa.
29. That is why institutions of occupier Israel have not built a temple so far despite having land, finances, and all the other opportunities. Because their goal is only to erect the legendary temple in place of Masjid al-Aqsa.
30. Moreover, institutions of occupier Israel have been building a series of synagogues encircling Masjid al-Aqsa.
31. Israel, on the other hand, is providing security to radical Jewish groups that combine their destructive efforts with state bodies and work to Judaize al-Quds and build the legendary temple in place of Masjid al-Aqsa. The leading of these groups are el-Ad, Atrat Kuhenim and Temple Trustees.
32. All these show that Masjid al-Aqsa is in danger. This means it is an imperative duty for all of us to aid the masjid and al-Quds al-Sharif. None of us can have an excuse to avoid this duty. The weakest side of our faith is to protect occupied al-Quds and Masjid al-Aqsa. This is a never-ending cause until Israel’s occupation of them has ended.
[*] Taken from a paper Sheikh Raed Salah presented at the International Masjid al-Aqsa Symposium.