World Bulletin / News Desk
Various Turkish civil society organizations protested Israeli invasion of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Quds (Jerusalem) in Istanbul. Gathered in Fatih Mosque after Friday prayers, the group walked to Sarachane Park, shouting slogans as "We will not let Aqsa to be crushed" and "Any attack to Al-Aqsa is an attack to Islam."
In a joint press statement read in Sarachane Park, protesters condemned Israel since it occupied Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque for 40 years. The statement said "Israel plans to destroyed Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to build a temple."
Drawing attention to the provocations against the Aqsa in recent days by Israel and Jewish fanatics, the statements said, "Israel assumes that Jerusalem is unprotected. We will show to the Zionist regime that the people of Jerusalem and Palestine are not alone. At this point, we expect Islamic countries and Islamic Conference Organization to take action as well. "
The group then burned the Israeli flags.
Istanbul protest comes after extremist Jews stormed the mosque compound, known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary).
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Israel was deliberately raising tensions "at a time when President (Barack) Obama is trying to bridge the divide between Palestinians and Israelis, and to get negotiations back on track."
"Providing a police escort for settlers who are against peace at all costs, and whose presence is deliberately designed to provoke a reaction, are not the actions of someone who is committed to peace," he said.
In Cairo, the Arab League expressed extreme anger over what it called a "premeditated aggression" by Israeli soldiers who had allowed "Zionist extremists" into the mosque compound.
Jordan summoned Israel's ambassador in Amman in protest at the Israeli "escalation."
Israel captured Al-Quds in the 1967 six-day war and later annexed the city, in a move not recognized by the international community.
The city is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslims' first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and the third holiest shrine after Al Ka'bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Al-Quds is also home to some of the holiest Christian worship places, including the Jerusalem Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.
Last Mod: 02 Ekim 2009, 16:59
Israel has been working hard over the past years to Judaize the holy city and change its Islamic identity. It has been adopting a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out, including systematic demolition of their homes.