10 May, 2021
A Palestinian Catholic priest has urged Christians to join with Muslim worshippers and protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, Islam’s third holiest site, against aggression by Israeli security forces.
“Whoever is not with his people in war is not entitled to be with them in times of peace,” Father Manuel Musallam wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday night.
“This is the day… when Christians will affirm to Muslims that we all have one destiny and one civilisation, that we are one people in this holy land,” the 82-year-old priest said.
Father Musallam’s comments came as Israeli forces continued to surround the Al-Aqsa Mosque and assault worshippers there.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have gathered at the mosque, which is Islam’s third most holy site, during the final days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Israeli police have used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at worshippers in the mosque in a series of assaults starting on Friday.
Several hundred people have been injured, more than 300 on Monday alone, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Musallam, who is a member of the Defence Committee for Islamic and Christian Holy Sites, also condemned attempts by Israeli authorities and settlers to expel Palestinians from their homes in the east Jerusalem neigbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
A longtime interfaith and anti-occupation activist, Musallam has campaigned against the seizure of Palestinian properties and religious sites in Jerusalem.
“We will not allow the stealing of Muslim homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and Wadi Al-Joz, and for [Palestinians] to be sent to the diaspora,” the priest wrote.
“Stand up, Christian clergymen, next to your people – the oppressed, the fearful and the poor – for the church is the church of the oppressed, the fearful and the poor,” Musallam said.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a violation of international law and has sent hundreds of thousands of settlers to live there in an attempt to change the demographic character of the city.
Published at english.alaraby.co.uk