The Muslim Association of Britain is appalled at the brutality and fresh wave of violence enacted by the Israeli state against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Over the past weeks, Israeli forces have escalated their human rights abuses against Palestinians through threats of displacement from their homes, preventing them from accessing their places of worship, attacking peaceful protesters, and killing an innocent 16-year-old, Said Oudeh. These abuses culminated in an unprovoked attack and the desecration of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque – one of the most sacred places of worship for 2 billion Muslims around the world – by Israeli forces who used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to attack peaceful worshippers. At least 205 Palestinians were injured as a result of violence by Israeli forces. This violence comes in the immediate wake of a damning report by Human Rights Watch that identified Israel’s actions as amounting to apartheid.
Through these actions, Israel continues to show its disdain for human rights and international law. Their attacks on unarmed peaceful worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque are a deliberate escalation of the violence we saw towards Palestinians who are being forcefully displaced from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in Jerusalem to facilitate the building of more illegal settlements. This is all taking place under the gaze of the international community, whose consulates and embassies are within a stone’s throw of Sheikh Jarrah.
The UK Government must act to prevent further violence towards innocent Palestinians and to put a halt to the forced displacements in Jerusalem, especially given calls by anti-Palestinian, illegal settlers to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque on the 9th of May, which coincides with one of the holiest days in the year for Muslims. Any action needs to go further than the usual lip service and bothsidesism offered by the Foreign Office. The UK must apply pressure on Israel to ensure the safety and security of Palestinians living in Jerusalem and specifically the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood whose residents are being subjected to ethnic cleansing through forced displacement. The UK has a responsibility to act, especially given Britain’s historical role in the occupation of Palestine. Failure to do so amounts to denying the right of Palestinians to exist and enables apartheid.
We call upon all MAB members, Muslims, and defenders of human rights and international law to organise and mobilise in their localities to make their voices heard and to let our Government know that we stand with the Palestinian people against this despicable escalation and act of violence by Israel.
*Any action taken should be in line with COVID rules and restrictions and with the coordination of the relevant authorities.
Muslim Association of Britain
8th May 2021