By Işıkgün Akfırat
Israeli police clashed with Palestinians inside Islam’s third-holiest site, Al Aqsa in Jerusalem. As the world once again focuses on Israel’s aggression against Palestine, some worry about further escalation of the conflict.
Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is at the center of the recent developments in Palestine. Hamas Political Bureau Member Dr. Mahir Salah evaluated the situation in Palestine to UWI.
‘Radical Zionists are now part of the government’
What is the agenda behind these attacks? Why are the attacks intensifying once again?
The attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem have been continuing for a while. Actually it is nothing new. These attacks are part of a systematic plan implemented by the occupation forces. Their ultimate goal is to eradicate Al-Aqsa Mosque. For this, they aim to gradually install the occupying settlers in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
What is new is that: Especially in recent years, the occupiers have been taking advantage of their own religious feast to speed up their illegal settlement of Jews. In the last years, these feasts coincide with those of Muslims, the month of Ramadan.
This year, there is a new and dangerous aspect to the attacks: The leaders of radical Zionism who are directing the attacks are now part of and ministers in the Israeli government. They are now attacking brutally and trying to drag all sides into a great war. This “great war” has a religious meaning for them and they call it the “Last War”. Their actions have no legal justification and they don’t care about human rights. Their actions have no legal justification and they don’t care about human rights. They are acting according to their fabricated religious concepts.
‘Israel is a divided society’
The huge demonstrations against the Netanyahu government have exposed its vulnerability. Do you think there is a connection between these attacks and the turmoil within Israel?
5 elections have been held in Israel in the last 3.5 years. Five elections have been held in Israel in the last 3.5 years. This shows that the society of the occupiers is a divided, fragmented society. Israel is an occupation society without internal harmony.
Religious Zionism has entered the government. Netanyahu is not one of them, but he has to work with them in order to protect himself from prosecution and imprisonment. Netanyahu is in full cooperation with the radical Zionists, even at their beck and call.
The Zionists feel themselves as superior by escalating the violence and the attacks. In the past, the Zionist society and the occupying Israel were trying to portray themselves as a “secular, democratic society”. They abandoned this after the leaders of religious Zionism entered the government. The identity they are now trying to establish has accelerated the division and fragmentation of the occupation state. All these conflicts are between the occupiers. I think this will be an important factor in ending the occupation.
The U.S. and Israel differ on priorities
Lately there have been some assessments that there is a divergence between the US and Israel. Do you agree?
Yes, there is a rift between the US and the occupation state. The main reason for this is that the radicals that I mentioned have come to power and are trying to change the identity of the occupying Israel.
The Zionist efforts to become a more brutal regime against the Palestinians, expel Palestinians from their homes and occupy the entire West Bank are examples of this change. The U.S. has tried to ensure peacefulness in the region because the U.S. has other and bigger wars to fight. It is fighting against Russia and China in Ukraine. The U.S. priority is to focus on the other wars. The radicals coming to power in Israel are an obstacle to the peacefulness that the U.S. needs. This is the main reason behind the rift between them.
Another reason is that the U.S. is not happy with the establishment of a religious state. This has led to a clash of ideas, but this does not mean that the U.S. will give up on the occupying Israel.
A new era with the Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement
How will the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran affect the policies of Israel?
The Saudi Arabia-Iran agreement mediated by China is an important development for China’s presence in the region. The occupation state does not want any agreement between the countries of the region. As the conflicts persist, Israel feels that it can say especially to the Gulf States, “Your enemy is Iran and we should make alliance against Iran.”
Therefore, any agreement in the region is to the detriment of the occupying Israel. In particular, any agreement that ends the conflicts among the Gulf States or between the Gulf states and Iran is certainly to the detriment of Israel’s presence in the region. Most importantly, the Iran-Saudi Arabia agreement has dealt a blow to the so-called normalization agreements initiated by the occupying power Israel.
We can say that a new era has dawned in the region with this agreement.
Political unification against Israel?
Has the Algeria Declaration – which announced the joint action of the Palestinian resistance organizations – been implemented? Has there been a joint response to the recent attacks?
The Algiers agreement was a step towards the reconciliation and unification of the Palestinian people. Politically, it did not have a positive impact on the election of the government and the parliament. The Palestinian leadership and Mahmoud Abbas do not seem to be willing to implement it at the moment.
Today our priority is to resist the intensifying attacks of the occupiers: To stand against the targeting of the holy places and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, disrupt the plans of the occupiers and stop the attacks of the occupying Israel. So, we leave political issues aside.
The Algeria Agreement not being implemented does not mean that it has failed. God willing, we will have a consensus in politics like we have in the field of resistance. Palestinians remain united in resistance against the occupiers without any difference or quarrel.
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