'Israel' has become emboldened to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa
Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque himself, declaring, “We’re in charge here;" a statement that defies the international community, which recognizes the custodianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the site.
The Zionist entity’s recent racist “Flag March”, coupled with follow-up provocations in Al-Aqsa Mosque, indicate a state of desperation from the Israeli occupiers to quickly fulfill some of the most hardline goals of the Zionist mission. This means officially changing the status quo at Al-Aqsa and occupied Al-Quds' holy sites, a move that could trigger the beginning of the end for Netanyahu’s regime.
On May 18, around 50,000 Israeli fascist settlers marched on and around the Old City of occupied Al-Quds, parading through the Bab Al-Amoud entrance to the Arab Quarter and chanting “death to Arabs” and “we will kill you all” and insulting the Prophet of Islam. Palestinian business owners and journalists were assaulted, all as Israeli occupation police forces protected the settlers and arrested women and a few men who stood up to counter them. Israeli Knesset members, from the ruling Likud Party, even invaded the grounds of Al-Aqsa mosque, as thousands of settler extremists poured in.
The racist lynch-mobs storming of Al-Aqsa and fascist demonstrations took place throughout what the Zionists call their “Jerusalem Day”, an annual event where they have provocatively celebrated their illegal occupation of the Holy City, every year since 1968. What was different this year is that the Israeli coalition had prepared to use this event to achieve victory over the Palestinian people and to stamp the Zionist entity’s authority over the city symbolically.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a threatening speech toward the Resistance based in the Gaza Strip, as other politicians vowed to solidify their power. Israeli Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, along with the entity’s Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, both joined the far-right settlers in their racist insult fests against Palestinian Muslims and Christians. Ben-Gvir decided to dance around in Bab Al-Amoud with racists who held up a sign depicting the Jewish “Third Temple”, a synagogue that the "Temple Mount" movement seeks to build on the ruins of Al-Aqsa. Then on the Sunday following this, Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque himself, declaring “we’re in charge here”, a statement that defies the long-maintained position of the occupier and the international community, which recognizes the custodianship of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the site.
On the same day that Itamar Ben-Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa, the Israeli cabinet attended their weekly meeting inside a tunnel dug underneath Al-Aqsa Mosque, located at the Western Wall of the compound. According to the Zionist regime, the meeting had included a proposal to increase the Israeli budget for the Judaization of Al-Aqsa by $17 million dollars, the budget and projects involved are intended to encourage the construction of more tunnels underneath the Holy Site, which in turn inevitably weakens the foundations of the structure.
In the minds of Zionist leaders, they believe that their attack on the Gaza Strip earlier in the month, during which 6 senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leaders were assassinated, had successfully deterred any retaliation from the Resistance groups to their activities in occupied Al-Quds. During the Holy Month of Ramadan, the Zionist regime had been deterred from continuing its assaults on worshippers at Al-Aqsa due to rocket fire from not only Gaza but Lebanon and Syria as well. Feeling emboldened in the belief that they had managed to silence the Resistance in Gaza with their latest attack, the Israeli regime believed that a victory could be claimed through a strong statement in occupied Al-Quds, one which could appear to occur without any major incident.
The reality is that the armed groups in Gaza had not suffered a severe blow during the latest escalation, despite the illegal murder of PIJ leaders. Hamas, the most powerful Resistance party in Gaza, had not been touched during the latest round, as "Tel Aviv" had specifically sought to fight an isolated round that would not lead to a protracted war. Therefore, the events witnessed inside of occupied Al-Quds have passed without incident due to another element.
It is clear at this point that not only have the Palestinian Resistance factions formed a strategy to protect occupied Al-Quds' Holy Sites, but regional actors have also become part of the equation. Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemen’s Ansar Allah have been the most vocal of forces outside the borders of Palestine to have stated their intention to become part of a regional war to protect Al-Aqsa and the Holy Sites, which has led to great anxiety on the part of the occupying entity.
What has to be understood is that the Palestinian Resistance in Gaza, although stronger today than ever before, is still limited in its abilities to fight against the Zionist regime. Gaza is also only one part of the Resistance also, it is not the only resistance base inside Palestine, nor should it be expected to shoulder the entire burden of the fight against the occupier. "Israel" was well-prepared for an escalation on May 18, it had planned way in advance for this and even carried out an extensive arrest campaign inside the occupied city of Al-Quds to secure relative calm. What Netanyahu wanted was the symbolic supremacist victory parade, one which he failed to extract from the attack on Gaza, which proved a strategic failure on a number of levels.
Although what occurred in occupied Al-Quds did give the Israeli regime a propaganda victory, it said nothing about the position of the Resistance. If the people of Al-Quds had come out in their tens of thousands to protest against the actions of the Zionist entity, then there would have at least been some reason for the Resistance in Gaza to have acted, but without this, the battle would have been completely isolated to the besieged coastal Strip, which would be a much greater victory for the Israelis than their racist march. Notably, the protests in reaction to the events in Al-Quds during the past weeks have come primarily from the West Bank and Gaza, with little action inside the occupied city itself. There should be no reason for Gaza to be pounded with thousands of tons of explosives, degrading their standards of living even further, when there is no popular reaction inside occupied Al-Quds itself.
Despite this, the Palestinian Resistance and its allies are in a position to respond to the provocations and attacks on Al-Aqsa if they get out of hand, but for the provocations we have just seen, the first point of action will naturally be a popular struggle in the form of protests first. The current posing against Iran and Hezbollah demonstrates the Netanyahu regime’s attitudes at the time, depicting it as acting in an irresponsible way that is purely for the purpose of appeasing the Zionist public. They do not actually seek a full-scale war on any front, which is why a surprise attack will shake them to their core at this point in time.