Zarif lambasts Israeli regime for shooting innocent worshippers

May 11, 2021 - 16:38

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister on Monday criticized the Israeli regime for pursuing inhumane policies against the Palestinian people during the holy month of Ramadan. Zarif said Israeli forces are shooting worshipers at a holy place and on a holy occasion. 

“It wasn't enough for the Israeli regime to -Steal people’s land & homes; -Create an Apartheid regime; -Refuse to vaccinate civilians under illegal occupation. It had to shoot innocent worshippers inside Islam's 3rd Holiest Mosque upon Islam's Holiest Eid. #AlAqsaUnderAttack,” the chief Iranian diplomat said on Twitter.

The tweet came amid international outcry over Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza strip. Israeli security forces, along with Jewish settlers, besieged and attacked one of the holiest sites in Islam on Monday, injuring more than 700 Palestinians in the West Bank alone.

Israeli authorities have imposed restrictions on the Palestinian residents of al-Quds (Jerusalem), effectively preventing them from practicing their faith since early Ramadan. They also tried to evict Palestinian families from Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and give their ancestral homes to Jewish settlers. 

The international community strongly condemned Israel for confiscating Palestinians’ homes and urged it to put an end to its atrocities against the Palestinians. 

Facing an increasingly violent Israeli crackdown, Palestinians peacefully staged protests against Israeli atrocities. They turned in large numbers in the al-Aqsa mosque. Some 90,000 Palestinians participated in a Ramadan prayer called Tarawih in the al-Aqsa mosque in what appeared to be a message to Israeli authorities that the Palestinians will not acquiesce to Israeli measures.
In addition to suppressing the Palestinian protests in Jerusalem, Israel also launched a bombing campaign against Gaza that resulted in the killing of dozens of innocent people. Israel bombed Gaza because it showed solidarity with the Jerusalemites by launching rockets on Israeli targets. Israel killed more than a dozen in Gaza and it vows to continue its killing campaign against the Palestinians. 

On Tuesday, the Israeli army threatened to intensify raids on the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army spokesman said that his army will intensify its raids during the next twenty-four hours, indicating that the military campaign on the Strip will continue for several more days.

Meanwhile, a large number of countries and international organizations have called on Israel to stop its crackdown against Palestinians. 

“The Secretary-General expresses his deep concern over the continuing violence in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods. He urges Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law,” a spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said in a statement on Monday.

“Israeli authorities must exercise maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. All leaders have a responsibility to act against extremists and to speak out against all acts of violence and incitement. The Secretary-General urges that the status quo at the holy sites be upheld and respected,” the statement added. 

Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmad Abul Gheit also condemned Israeli indiscriminate attacks on Gaza.

He said Tuesday that the airstrikes launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip were “indiscriminate and irresponsible.” In a statement, Abul Gheit held Israel responsible for this “dangerous escalation” of the situation in Jerusalem and called on the international community to act immediately to stop the violence.

The European Union also reacted to the Israeli atrocities, calling for an immediate halt to violence in East Jerusalem.

“The significant upsurge in violence in the occupied West Bank, including in East Jerusalem as well as in and around Gaza needs to stop immediately,” the European Union said in a statement on Monday.

Arab and Muslim countries also denounced Israel’s moves against the Palestinians. But the international outcry did nothing to stop an Israeli leadership hellbent to score political goals by spilling the blood of Palestinian children. 

Sami Abu Shehadeh, Palestinian Knesset member and leader of the Balad party, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu allowed for an “escalation” in a bid to remain in power, according to Al Jazeera.

“In order to survive this political crisis he finds himself in now, and in order for him not to lose control and not to lose his seat as prime minister … he is ready to do anything,” Shehadeh said.

“All the escalation we are seeing now has a clear political target from Netanyahu’s point of view, and he is ready to do anything to keep himself in power including this massacre that we are going to see in Gaza,” he said.

“What is happening here is a clear political decision that Netanyahu is responsible for to keep power,” Shehadeh pointed out. 

So far, Netanyahu has failed to put together a cabinet even though he has led Israel to hold four general elections in a relatively short period.

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