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Islamic Jihad holds sit-in in Gaza to support deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem

July 14, 2017 10:16 P.M. (Updated: July 15, 2017 7:30 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Islamic Jihad movement organized a sit-in on Friday at the Jabaliya refugee camp in the besieged Gaza Strip in order to protest Israel’s closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and to express their support for a deadly shooting carried out earlier in the day that left two Israeli police officers and the three Palestinian assailants dead.

Islamic Jihad leader Khalid al-Batish said during the sit-in that Al-Aqsa Mosque “isn’t for sale or for trade,” and that while “the nation has been deterred from the path of the Prophet, the knights of Umm al-Fahm, Gaza and Bethlehem will give their souls for this path,” referencing the three Palestinian citizens of Israel from the town of Umm al-Fahm who were shot dead by Israeli forces after carrying out the attack.

The “Jerusalem battle” was heroic, al-Batish said, and has sent a message that Jerusalem could not be a “site of normalization” with other Arabs who have conflated Palestinian resistance with “terrorism” and have worked to “build relations with the occupation.”

Al-Batish's remark likely referred to the fact that the two slain Israeli policemen were both members of the Palestinian Druze community, who, unlike Muslim and Christian Palestinian citizens of Israel, are subject to mandatory military service in the Israeli forces, one of a number of distinctions made by the Israeli government between indigenous residents of Israel that have been denounced as "divide and conquer" tactics.

He added that Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque were the “gates of heaven and the destination for all people in the world,” adding that anyone who wants to “awaken his conscience must know that the Israeli enemy is the only enemy of the nation.”

The job of Islamic Jihad, he continued, and other resistance movements was to continue resisting Israel until “the nation’s armies cross into Palestine” -- referring to Israel, which many Palestinians have referred to as "occupied Palestine" since the Israeli state’s establishment in 1948 -- “and liberate it from the Israeli zionist enemy.”

In the wake of the attack on Friday, Israeli forces imposed widespread road closures across East Jerusalem, raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, detained dozens of worshipers and Al-Aqsa employees, and have completely closed the mosque until at least Sunday.

Palestinian leaders expressed their outrage at the procedures -- which one official called “terroristic” -- for fear that they marked a potential disruption of the status quo at the holy site.
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