(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Palestine’s Ambassador to Iran Salah al-Zawawi described reactions by Muslim countries and international organization to recent Israeli crimes in Quds (Jerusalem) as less than expected.
Speaking to the International Quran News Agency, he stressed that Quds was the first Qibla (the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays) of Muslims and the place from which the Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to Mi’raj on Lailat al Miraj (the Night of Ascension).
Therefore, he added, it is incumbent upon Muslims to defend Quds and al-Aqsa Mosque any way they can.
"The entire Muslim world should join the people of Palestine in defending Quds,” Zawawi said, regretting that, so far, reactions by Muslim countries and international organizations to the recent Israeli atrocities in Quds have been less than expected.
"I tell the Muslim world to wake up. Everyone should take steps in defending the holy Quds as much as they can.”
The Palestinian envoy went on to say that Israel is an aggressive, occupying and fake regime and "will be defeated soon, God willing.”
Zawawi’s comments come as clashes continue in the West Bank and Quds between Israeli forces and Palestinians angered by Tel Aviv’s restrictions at al-Aqsa Mosque.
Muslims had been refusing to hold prayers at the mosque and prayed in the streets around the Old City of Quds for almost two weeks after Israel installed security equipment, including metal detectors and cameras, at the sacred compound following a deadly shooting incident there on July 14. Israel’s recent restrictive measures have drawn widespread international condemnations.
Al-Aqsa TV reported that Israeli forces violently repressed pro-Aqsa rallies in the West Bank on Friday.
Palestinian sources said Israeli forces also clashed with Palestinians in Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus in the West Bank. Two Palestinians were injured in the clashes.
Israeli forces also cracked down on a rally that was staged in solidarity with the holy site near the checkpoint after Friday noon prayers, firing tear gas at the worshipers. A number of them suffered suffocation.
Israeli forces have also attacked worshipers in Wadi al-Joz area outside the al-Aqsa compound.
Red Crescent reported that over 200 Palestinians were injured in Friday’s clashes in Quds and the West Bank. Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition on Friday.
The administration of the al-Quds Awqaf said on Thursday that Israeli forces had arrested about 100 sit-in protesters in al-Aqsa.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the compound in East Quds in August 2015.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.
The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flash point, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.