Dr. Sharif Abu Shammala
CEO of al-Quds Foundation Malaysia
The Zionist authorities sought to demolish al-Aqsa Mosque since they completed their occupation of Palestine in 1967. By occupying the eastern part of al-Quds, where the Old City is located, al-Aqsa Mosque became a direct target under the Zionist fire, through several and repeated aggressions aimed to demolish the Mosque in order to build the Jewish “Temple” on its ruins. It is an idea deeply rooted in their minds and strongly present in their speeches and behavior, regardless if it was seculars, government officials, or religious extremists.
One of the most serious assaults on al-Aqsa is the several ongoing excavations underneath it, besides the temporal and spatial division schemes and repeated incursions and storming of the Mosque, which occurs regularly as part of a systematic policy. In addition, the attempts to burn or bomb the Mosque lie within the direct threats that seek to demolish and ruin the Mosque. Perhaps, the most serious of those attempts was “the arson attack on al-Aqsa Mosque on 21 August 1969.” However, it was neither the first nor the last of several attempts to burn or detonate the Mosque. Here we mention the following attempts:
- June 6, 1967:
The Zionist army bombed Al-Quds city and Al-Aqsa Mosque by mortar shells, which inflicted some damage on the domes of al-Aqsa and many of its buildings; more than 20 locations in al-Aqsa Mosque were damaged. In addition, the shelling destroyed one of al-Aqsa’s minarets; the minaret of The Tribes Gate (al-Asbat).
- 11 June 1967:
Few days after the occupation of al-Aqsa Mosque, the Zionist forces destroyed the entire Magharebah neighborhood, adjacent to al-Aqsa from the Western side, including the houses, schools and masjids that lied there. That was a prelude to seizing full control over the Western Wall of al-Aqsa Mosque, “al-Buraq Wall,” in order to create a courtyard for Jewish worshipers on the ruins of the Palestinian houses in al-Quds. This way, the Zionists managed to take over a large part of al-Aqsa Mosque by destruction.
- In 1968:
A Zionist initiative was launched to raise $100 million from the US to build the so-called “Solomon’s Temple” next to the Dome of the Rock.
The next year witnessed a great provocation of Arabs and Muslims when the grand rabbi called on Jews to visit al-Buraq Wall; to perform the rituals of what they call the memorial of the destruction of the Temple, which corresponds to August 9 each year. These calls and attacks were a natural introduction to the crime of burning al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Thursday, August 21, 1969:
An Australian Zionist named Denis Michael Rohan set fire to al-Aqsa Mosque, especially al-Qibli Musalla. The burned area of the mosque exceeded 1,500 square meters. The fire broke out on Salah al-Din‘s pulpit, which was built on command of Nur al-Din Zangi and was carried to al-Aqsa by Salah al-Din after he liberated the Mosque. The fire also reached to the walls of the Mosque and its furniture, and it broke out on Omar’s musalla, Zachariah’s Mihrab, Maqam al-Arbaeen, and three of the Mosque’s corridors with their columns and arches, in addition to some of pillars carrying of the dome of the Qibli musalla. Also, the Mosque’s roof fell down, and a huge part of the decorations, marble, colored windows and carpets were ruined.
The accompanying events revealed the involvement of the occupation authorities in the fire, where they cut off the water from al-Aqsa Mosque and the surrounding area, and the fire trucks in al-Quds municipality, which is run by the Israeli occupation forces, were also delayed purposefully from the fire place. Which made the ordinary residents of the city try to extinguish the fire with their clothes and primitive tools.
The fire raised international condemnation. The UN Security Council met and issued its resolution 271 of 1969 condemning Israel and calling for the abolition of all measures that would change the status of al-Quds. “The Security Council, grieved at the extensive damage caused by arson to the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 21 August 1969 under the military occupation of Israel, mindful of the consequent loss to human culture,” the resolution stipulated.
There was widespread anger amongst Arabs and Muslims. The leaders of these countries met in Rabat, Morocco on September 25, 1969, and decided to establish the Organization of the Islamic Conference (later known as OIC).
The perpetrator of the crime was released after a mock trial. The occupation authorities ruled that he was not criminally responsible, since “he was mentally ill.”
- March 2, 1982:
The guards of al-Aqsa Mosque discovered explosives weighing more than 3 kg in one of the corridors of the Masjid.
- 8 April 1982:
The guards of al-Aqsa Mosque discovered a suspicious parcel in al-Aqsa courtyard that turned out to contain a time bomb.
- 11 April 1982:
A Zionist soldier, called “Harry Goldman,” stormed al-Aqsa Mosque, followed by a group of soldiers, and started shooting at worshipers and guards. They then broke into the Dome of the Rock and opened fire on worshipers. When unarmed Muhammad Saleh Al Yamani, one of the Mosque’s guards, tried to stop them, the head of the attacking force shot him to death inside the Dome of the Rock and continued to fire inside the Mosque. The building’s doors, decorations and dome were severely damaged as a result of the attack. The attack left two martyrs and more than 60 injured.
- 6 May 1982:
A group of armed Zionists fired live bullets at the Dome of the Rock.
- 25 July 1982
Yoel Lerner, a Kach activist, was arrested after planning to blow up the Dome of the Rock.
- 20 January 1983
Formation of an extremist movement in Israel and the US whose task is to rebuild the Temple Mount at the site of al-Aqsa Mosque.
- 8 July 1983:
A group of Zionist soldiers shoot at the worshipers in al-Aqsa and at the Dome of the Rock.
- 26 January 1984:
Two Jews enter Al-Aqsa with large quantities of explosives and grenades in order to blow up the Dome of the Rock.
- 20 January 1988
Jewish group throwing Molotov bottles at al-Aqsa Mosque after midnight.
- 13 May 1998
A group of Jews set fire to the Gate of Bani Ghanim, one of al-Aqsa’s gates, which burned a large part of it, and an explosion was heard at the same time.
- 2 November 1998:
The worshipers and guards of al-Aqsa Mosque discovered a suspicious object near al-Masjid al-Marwani in al-Aqsa Mosque. Then explosive experts came to the site and the object was blown up.
- 7 April 2005:
A group of young radical Jews, supporters of extremist Jewish religious group called “Pots’i Han’al” (the valley’s wounded), were planning to launch a “LAW” rocket on al-Aqsa, while one of them planned to destroy an explosive glider over the Mosque. The investigation revealed that they had gone on a tour around al-Quds and had chosen the religious school “Shuvu Banim,” overlooking al-Aqsa Mosque from the side of the Islamic quarter, as a base to launch the “LAW” rocket, which they could not get, according to the intelligence and the police statements.
- 20 December 2010:
The arrest of a settler who tried to break into Al-Aqsa, carrying explosives to place it in the Qibli Musalla.
- In 2014:
The Israeli intelligence agency (Shin Bet) uncovered a plan of blowing up the Dome of the Rock just before it was carried out by an American immigrant named Adam Livix (30 years old); an Evangelist and married to an Israeli Jew. Livix received the help of a Zionist soldier who provided him with combat means and explosives from an Israeli military base that he served in. Livix prepared two plans to carry out the attack, the first with a missile, and the second by a small explosive drone. Livix was guided by extremist Zionist and Christian organizations.