Khudari: The human life in Gaza threatened by real service problems

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GAZA, (PIC)– Head of the popular committee against the siege Jamal Al-Khudari said the problems of water, electricity and sanitation are three strategic core issues threatening the human life and the future of the population in the Gaza Strip.

In a press statement to the Palestinian information center (PIC), Khudari called on the international organizations that support the Palestinian people to direct their funding and efforts towards these problems and necessarily find radical solutions to them.

He said that the Gaza Strip is being ripped down by the blockade, and called on the international community to pressure Israel to open its border crossings in Gaza.

Khudari affirmed that Israel uses its media to deceive the world about allowing goods to enter Gaza, while on the ground it only allows in a small percentage of building materials and ban the entry of dozens of vital needs.

He stated that Israel deals with the Palestinian cause and Gaza without any regard for the international law and its blockade violates all conventions which it has committed itself to.

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Gaza man “kidnapped” by Israel in Sinai, says family

Close-up of young man wearing brown prison uniform

Wael Abu Rida in an Israeli court on 19 July.

The abduction of a Palestinian-Egyptian from the Sinai on the eve of Egypt’s 3 July couphas highlighted the network of collaborators and agents working with Israel in the peninsula.

Wael Abu Rida crossed the Rafah border from Gaza into Egypt on 6 June with his family, including his one-year-old son, Mazen, who suffers from brain atrophy. The trip was nothing unusual, according to Wael’s wife, Amani Abdulrahman Abu Rida, who accompanied him.

She and other members of the Abu Rida family are refugees who were forced to flee Salama, east of the coastal Palestinian city of Jaffa, by advancing Zionist forces in April 1948.

The family spoke to the Electronic Intifada at their home in Khuzaa, an agricultural village outside Khan Younis in the southeastern Gaza Strip, close to the barrier wall erected by Israel.

“This was the fourth time he had gone to Egypt for treatment for his son,” Amani said. “We used to stay there fifteen or twenty days for treatment. Nothing had happened before.”

In retrospect, she said, strange things began to happen as soon as the family crossed the border.

“After we reached the Egyptian side of the crossing, a driver approached and insisted on taking us. It costs 450 Egyptian pounds [$65] to go to Cairo, but he offered to take us for 350. In the car, the driver started talking with Wael, saying he had heard of him.”

Abu Rida has fought for several Palestinian resistance groups. His past affiliations include stints in Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades.

In a 19 July indictment this year, Israeli prosecutors alleged that Abu Rida belonged to aHamas-aligned group called the al-Aqsa Defenders (“Gaza man charged with planning terror attacks,” Ynet, 19 July 2013).

His family denies this, saying he ended his last political ties with the al-Quds Brigades after Israel’s 2008-2009 attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Target for surveillance

Whatever his affiliations, Abu Rida remained a target for aggressive Israeli surveillance.

“Sometimes if he ate something unusual, or took Mazen to the doctor in Gaza, [Israeli forces] would send him a text message telling him they knew,” Amani said. “Other times they would call him to say they would capture him, rather than killing him and making him a martyr.

“He changed his [cellphone’s] SIM card more than twenty times. But they would always call him through the new one. He couldn’t escape their surveillance.”

Because of this attention, she said, Abu Rida left his home during Israeli raids to avoid possible attempts to capture him.

“During wars and incursions, he would leave the house. But the Israelis always said they wanted him as a prisoner, rather than a casualty. I think they wanted him as a source of information.”

In addition to committing alleged war crimes during an invasion of Khuzaa on 13 January 2009, Israeli forces often launch incursions into the village’s farmland in the “buffer zone” between Gaza and present-day Israel.

As Abu Rida and his family rode towards Cairo on 6 June, he and his driver “struck up a friendship,” Amani said. “The driver took Wael’s phone number and said he would call to invite him to his house in the Sinai. Then he called Wael every day while we were in Cairo.”

On 15 June, Abu Rida finally accepted the driver’s invitation to the Egyptian town of Rafah.

“The same day Wael left, he called to tell me me he was on his way back, saying he was near the al-Salam bridge [over the Suez canal, in Egypt],” Amani said. “After he had disappeared for a day, Wael again called, saying he would come the next day. I think his interrogators may have forced him to say that.

“The next day, and the day after that, he called again, each time saying he would come the following day. I felt something was wrong. I know that he was still in the Sinai, because he was calling from an Egyptian SIM card.”

By 20 June, the expected call came from a telephone number that was no longer recognizably Egyptian.

“When he called from a strange number at 1am, I started screaming at him, saying I wanted to know the truth and asking where he was. He began crying. He told me he had been captured by Bedouin gunmen,” Amani said.

“He had been taken to the driver’s house, where the driver told Wael he would invite some friends he should know. Three armed men came and invited him for a walk in the desert.

“The next day [21 June], the Israelis phoned me to say they had captured Wael and were interrogating him.”

“Kidnapped”

Following a 30-day interrogation period, the Israeli Prison Service allowed Abu Rida a brief visit from his father, Hassan Fiheed Abu Rida, and son, Mazen.

“He told me the details in a very brief way,” Hassan said. “The Israelis surrounded us during the visit, and most of them know Arabic very well. He only told me he had been kidnapped.”

On 30 July, the Palestinian Authority’s ministry of prisoners’ affairs released a statement by Abu Rida.

“After spending a week in Cairo with my son, I received a phone call from a man, the taxi driver I recognized … [from] the Rafah crossing,” he stated. “The man invited me to visit his house in [the] Sinai desert and I accepted.

“I saw several people when I arrived his house. After I drank the juice, I went into deep sleep … there was a hypnotic pill in the sugar.

“When I woke up I … [found] myself in an Israeli investigation center … the driver was an Israeli spy.”

“No respect for sovereignty”

Abu Rida’s legal team at Gaza’s Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights declined to discuss the details of his capture or charges, but spoke broadly of the nature of his abduction.

“This shouldn’t be classified as a detention, but rather a kidnapping,” said Al-Mezan attorney Rami Shaqoura. “The fact that he was captured in Egypt shows that Israel has no respect for the sovereignty of other countries. This can’t even be called an arbitrary detention, since it happened in a territory outside Israeli control.”

He added that “there is a part of his case which Israel refuses to disclose.”

The Abu Rida family noted that Wael, the son of a Palestinian father and an Egyptian mother, held Egyptian citizenship at the time of his abduction.

“Wael had been asked to come to Egypt to receive his Egyptian nationality card,” said his father, Hassan.

Egypt extended eligibility for its citizenship to children of Egyptian women married to Palestinians in May 2011, ending an exclusion imposed in 2004 (“Palestinians born to Egyptian mother to get Egyptian nationality,” Egypt Independent, 8 May 2011).

“Since he holds Egyptian nationality, can we deal with him as an Egyptian rather than a Palestinian?” Amani asked. “That might make it easier to release him.”

Scant attention

But amid the crisis engulfing Egypt, Wael’s case has received scant attention.

“From the moment we heard of Wael’s kidnapping, we started communicating with the Palestinian embassy in Cairo,” said Hatem al-Khor, Amani’s brother and Wael’s brother-in-law. “What happened in Egypt was an insult to Egyptian sovereignty and the Egyptian people.

“But this incident didn’t get any response from the Egyptian authorities. We also didn’t get any reaction from the Palestinian embassy. The media has focused on the political turmoil in Egypt. No one is paying attention to Wael.”

When Abu Rida was abducted, Amani said, he had all the family’s paperwork with him.

“The Israelis have all of Mazen’s medical reports and our passports. They are refusing to return them. This is our main problem. We need them back to continue Mazen’s treatment.

“After we lost our documents, we couldn’t return to Gaza formally. We were forced to come through the tunnels. Now Mazen’s situation in Egypt is very complicated.

“Because Egyptian records show he is still there, it will be hard for him to return for treatment. He is supposed to pursue his treatment in Israel, but I am not allowed to go with him.”

Like many spouses of Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip, Amani faces a ban on travel into Israel, imposed for unspecified security reasons, preventing both prison visits and medical treatment.

Three of the couple’s eight children, two daughters and a son, are also banned from prison visits. Israel currently prohibits children in the Gaza Strip aged ten or older from visiting detained parents.

The restriction continues part of a comprehensive ban on family visits from the Gaza Stripimposed by Israel in June 2007.

Volatile

In the 31 years since completing its 1982 military withdrawal from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, Israel has maintained a considerable degree of control over the area.

The 1979 Camp David accords imposed strict limitations on Egypt’s deployment of military and police forces in the region only by Israeli approval.

The abduction of Abu Rida was not Israel’s first attempt to capture Palestinians on Egyptian territory, according to many in the Gaza Strip.

“There have been numerous efforts by Israel to kidnap Palestinians in Egypt,” said Osama Wahidi, a spokesman for the Hussam Association, a Gaza-based society of current and former Palestinian detainees. “Most of them failed.”

But Abu Rida’s dual nationality, along with the brazenness of his kidnapping, could make his case particularly controversial at a time of heightened regional tension.

As well as trying to maintain hope that her husband will be released, Amani is attending to her family’s most urgent concerns.

“We want to recover our documents so our son can continue his treatment inside Israel,” she said. “We have a chance to find a cure. I don’t want to lose my son after losing my husband.”

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Union, PA fail to reach agreement ending strike

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The government employees union has failed to reach an agreement with the government to end an escalating strike, the union chief said Tuesday.

Bassam Zakarneh said that an emergency meeting was called at 11 a.m. on Wednesday to discuss the government’s refusal to meet the demands of the union.

Zakarneh added that the union’s council and employees were “fuming,” and they will discuss further escalatory steps including an open strike if a resolution is not found.

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Rizqa condemns Abbas’s condolence over Yosef’s death

 

 

GAZA, (PIC)– Dr. Yousef Rizqa, political advisor to Palestinian Prime Minister, criticized the Ramallah Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for offering condolence for the death of extremist Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and considered Abbas’s step a sin against the Palestinian people.

Abbas offered condolences “to the Israeli people and leadership” for Yosef’s death, despite Yosef’s positions and statements that call for killing the Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians.

Rizqa asserted in remarks to Quds Press that the Palestinian people at home and abroad refuse this consolation, and said that the PA President did not take into account the feelings of prisoners and the families of the martyrs as well as the feelings of the whole Palestinian people.

He stressed that the Palestinians reject such attitudes despite the attempts to cover them with diplomacy. He also noted that “Yosef is neither a President nor a prime minister. He is partisan figure, and International protocol does not oblige offering condolences or congratulations to parties’ leaders as Yosef who cannot be respected for his hostility to the Palestinian people.”

“It appears that Abbas is the only Arab personality and perhaps the only International figure who took this step; therefore his position is considered a sin against the Palestinian diplomacy and the Palestinian political situation”, Dr. Rizqa said.

He added that a person who seeks to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem and to establish an independent Palestinian state cannot commit such a sin.

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Mishaal in Turkey heading Hamas delegation

 

ANKARA, (PIC)– Political bureau member of Hamas Khaled Mishaal arrived in Ankara on Tuesday heading a senior-level delegation of his movement on an official visit to Turkey.

Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq told Quds press that Mishaal would exchange views with Turkish officials on Palestinian developments.

He said that Mishaal, who would meet Turkish premier Recep Erdogan along with other officials, would discuss challenges facing the Palestinian question in light of changes sweeping the region.

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Abbas: Palestinians are sorry for the death of controversial Jewish rabbi

 

Rabbi Ovadia YosefIn 2001, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder of the rightwing Shas party, called for exterminating the ‘cursed evil spirits,’ referring to Palestinians

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his condolences on Monday to the family of extremist Jewish Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder of the rightwing Shas party.

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Abbas’ condolences were expressed during his meeting with 14 members of various factions in the Israeli Knesset. They were called together to lobby for the two-state solution.

Abbas reportedly said: “I met Yosef’s family earlier in my office and now I am sending my condolences, as well as the condolences of my people, for his death.”

Rabbi Yosef died after a long struggle with illness. He was known for his hateful views against Palestinians and Arabs. In 2001, he called for exterminating the “cursed evil spirits,” referring to Palestinians.

That same year he told his followers: “It is forbidden to be merciful to them [Arabs]. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

In one of his sermons, he prayed for God to destroy Arabs without mercy because, in his view, they are all cockroaches that need to be killed.

In a speech delivered in 2004, Rabbi Yosef demanded the necessity of murdering Muslims, for they are as dangerous as snakes and worms.

His latest hateful remarks against Palestinians were in 2010, when Rabbi Yosef said in a Saturday sermon: “Abu Mazen and all these evil people should perish from this world.”

When Israeli killed around 1,500 Palestinians during the 2008-2009 War against Gaza, he remarked: “May God strike them [the Palestinians in Gaza] down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel.”

(Source / 08.10.2013)

The arrest of Ashraf Abbasi after raiding and searching his house in Silwan

The Israeli forces arrested hours 22-year old Ashraf Isam Abbasi after raiding and searching his home in Silwan on Monday early morning.

Ashraf’s father told Wadi Hilweh Information Center that a large Israeli force including special and masked forces along with police dogs raided the family home around 2:45 a.m. and tried to blow up the main door using a special device but he heard them outside the door and quickly went downstairs and opened it for them.

Abu Ashraf added that the armed masked forces detained us in one room and prevented us from talking to each other and did not care about having little children among us. A force headed towards my son Ashraf who was sleeping in the living room and took his ID and then handcuffed him and took him to the police car.

He explained that the forces searched the house and its facilities after arresting his son in addition to searching the garden. They also took all the pictures off the walls and searched behind them as well as damaging closets and cupboards. The forces also seized Ashraf’s cell phone and checked the laptop which belongs to Ashraf’s sister.

Abu Ashraf pointed out that the Israeli forces are currently detaining his son in Al-Maskobyeh cells “room 20”.

 

اشرف العباسي

تفتيش العباسي اشرف 2

تفتيش العباسي اشرف 3

تفتيش العباسي اشرف 4

تفتيش العباسي اشرف

 (Source / 08.10.2013)

Are Palestinians in the throes of a third Intifada? | انتفاضة

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Israel’s occupation of Palestine is the longest ever in the modern history.

Gaza, ALRAY – The West Bank unrest surfaced after the killing of two Israeli soldiers in late September could by and large be viewed as a fomenter of a third Palestinian Intifada, as the signs of a possible one are getting much obvious with the tension in the West Bank increasing.

On September 28, 2013, the Palestinians marked the 13th anniversary of the Second Intifada which broke when former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stormed into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under the guard of hundreds of policemen and soldiers.

Popular calls including of the Palestinian resistance factions for stoking a third intifada had emerged while this anniversary was approaching, and have not stopped.

An Israeli military magazine lately said military leaders are talking about an increased popular resistance in the occupied West Bank and that the situation is similar to how it was prior to the First Intifada in 1987.

The term intifada is an Arabic word equivalent to ‘uprising’. It is not of Palestinian making, as it was first used in 1965 in Bahrain by leftist National Liberation Front which led an uprising against the British colonial presence under what so called “March Intifada”.

However, the Palestinian model of Intifada is distinguished  from its precedents worldwide in that the Israel’s occupation of Palestine is the longest ever in the modern history.

The Palestinians’ distrust in Israel as a real peace partner had increased ever since the political fallout of the 1993 Oslo which failed to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and was went viral by failure of July 2000 Camp David talks between United States President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.

The nowadays political deadlock is reminiscent of the past international peace initiatives and might constitute an instigator for mass popular action which form is difficult to classify.

Palestinian President addressing the United Nations General Assembly said on September 26, 2013 “The window of peace is narrowing and the opportunities are diminishing… The current round of negotiations appears to be a last chance to realize a just peace… Merely thinking of the catastrophic and frightening consequences of failure must compel the international community to intensify efforts to seize upon this chance,”

Prominent Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that on September 29 “Deputy Israeli Defense Minister Danny Danon convened the heads of right-wing groups to plan strategies for blocking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from advancing an interim agreement with the PA.”

“The meeting was intended to counter-balance pressure to move the diplomatic process forward that Netanyahu is expected to encounter in Monday’s meeting with US President Barack Obama,”

Danon stressed that the event was not an anti-Netanyahu meeting. The meeting Likud activists focused their criticism on the head of Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians Tzipi Livni. “We won’t sit silently while Livni cooks an unacceptable deal,” Danon said. “We can’t let there be industrial quiet.”

While on the economic level, the West Bank-ruling donor-dependent Palestinian Authority had warned last month that its economy cannot grow under Israeli occupation and restrictions, echoing the findings of an International Monetary Fund report.

The IMF in its staff report released on September 5, 2013 spoke of “worrisome trends” in the Palestinian economy, including slowing GDP growth, unemployment of nearly 21 percent, and a cash crunch in the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinians’ mostly donor-funded ruling body set up after Oslo.

The report also said the West Bank and Gaza Strip’s economic prospects are “dim under (the) status quo,” and called for the removal of “obstacles to growth (such as) Israeli restrictions,” including on imports to the Palestinian territories.

Gaza’s economy has been hit hard by the recent heavy crackdown on the smugglers’ tunnels, the economic lifeline to Gaza which has been reeling under a seven-year-old blockade.

Oxfam said in its recent report released in September that the Gaza economy alone had lost about $76m annually because of Israeli restrictions on farmers and fishermen.

Intifada Youth Coalition called on late September for mass protests across Palestine against  Israel’s gross violations of human rights and continued brutal occupation of Palestine.

While a recent poll found that Fifty-eight percent of Palestinians expect a third intifada if the peace talks with Israel fail.

The poll conducted by The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion surveyed 1,110 Palestinians representing a demographic sample of adults in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

Hamas politburo member Dr. Mousa Abu Marzuok said a few days earlier “the four billion dollars plan would not succeed in saving the Palestinian Authority from political failure and would not abort a third intifada, which is in the offing,”

While PFLP leader Khalida Jarrar said on October 3 that security coordination between the PA and the occupation hinders the outbreak of a third popular Intifada in the West Bank. She urged the PA to immediately halt the ‘peace talks’ and put a resistance strategy to defend the Palestinian people.

However, the PA’s response to such escalating calls was clearly outspoken opposition.  Asharq Alawsat newspaper quoted late  September Palestinian security sources in Ramallah as saying the Palestinian Authority won’t allow an intifada against Israel in the West Bank.

The PA’s role seems to be going far more than just putting down a Palestinian uprising. The Israeli overnight assassinations against Karim Abu Sbeih, Majd Lahlouh, and Islam Tubasi all of PA-controlled Jenin city have passed without PA security forces’ intervention.

Moreover, recently in early October, the camp witnessed hundreds of Palestinian security forces launching arrests of several Islamic Jihad operatives.

On the other hand, political analyst Abdul Sattar Qassem believe that internal division inhibits a third intifada because such an event could not be unless it’s a popularly-propelled.

Is a third Palestinian Intifada is being held in the PA’s custody? Could it be possible under the absence of, at least politically, united Palestinian people? What form, in case it occurred, could characterize an upcoming intifada?

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Israeli lawmakers pay rare visit to Ramallah

Leaders pledge support for talks that resumed in July after years of stalemate and mutual suspicion

Ramallah, West Bank: A delegation of Israeli lawmakers paid a rare visit to the West Bank on Monday to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and give an emotional boost to fledgling peace talks that have faced deep scepticism on both sides.

Visiting the same compound where Israeli troops once laid siege on late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the 10 Israeli lawmakers pledged support for the talks that resumed in July after years of stalemate and mutual suspicion.

They insisted they were not in Ramallah in place of official negotiations, whose content has remained secret, but rather to give them a “tailwind” of support and stress the urgency of their mission.

“We don’t want to believe that this is the last chance [for peace] but it may be the last chance,” said Labor Party lawmaker Hilik Bar, who heads the parliamentary caucus for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. “There is a clear majority for peace among the Israeli and Palestinian parliaments and people. We are here to back the leadership. It is ridiculous that we won’t make peace.”

Bar said his caucus was the largest in parliament with some 40 members across the political spectrum. Its aim was to bridge the “huge gap of understanding” between Israelis and Palestinians and provide a grassroots support network for leaders to make peace.

But of the 10 lawmakers who journeyed to Ramallah, nine were from the opposition Labor Party. The other came from chief negotiator Tzipi Livni’s centrist Hatnuah Party. Several from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party withdrew following the death of their spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

A previous delegation of Palestinian lawmakers visited the Israeli parliament in August, as part of a similar outreach effort from the other side.

While previous rounds of peace talks, particularly in the 1990s, generated widespread hope and optimism, the current round has created little excitement. After so many years of failure and bouts of violence, neither side seems to be optimistic that the latest talks, expected to last nine months, will be successful.

The Palestinians seek the West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in 1967, for their state. Israeli peace advocates say the establishment of a Palestinian state is the only way to preserve Israel’s character as a democracy with a Jewish majority. The alternative, they say, is a single state in which Arabs, with their higher birth rate, will one day outnumber Jews.

“I think nine months are enough to reach an agreement because we have discussed the issues in previous talks,” Abbas told his guests. “We don’t want blood. We want peace, not blood.”

The visit came days after a 9-year-old Israeli girl was shot by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank colony of Psagot, adjacent to Ramallah. Bar said the attack spurred some lawmakers to urge the cancellation of the meeting. But he said he resisted the calls, saying that would only serve the interests of extremists.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has embraced the idea of a Palestinian state, but has also embraced tough positions in recent speeches.

In a speech on Sunday, Netanyahu said there will never be peace until Palestinians recognise Israel as the homeland for the Jews. The Palestinians have rejected this demand, saying it would undercut the fate of refugees who dream of returning to lost properties in what is now Israel.

Last week, Netanyahu made just a passing reference to the peace talks in a speech to the UN, devoting almost the entire address to Iran’s nuclear programme.

(Source / 08.10.2013)

Over 80 Israeli soldiers enter Aqsa compound

Israeli soldiers pictured in the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Oct. 8.
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Dozens of Israeli troops and intelligence agents entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Tuesday through the Moroccan Gate, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma’an that over 80 female Israeli soldiers entered the compound and listened to a short lecture before touring the compound in seven groups.

Over 30 Israeli intelligence officers and six rightist Israelis also toured the mosque compound, locals said.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that plain-clothes Israeli intelligence agents escorted by five uniformed officers deployed in the compound early Tuesday.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told Ma’an that “Israeli police are regularly in and around the Old City and Temple Mount area and at all the different areas to maintain security measures and make sure there are no incidents which develop.”

“There were no disturbances or incidents whatsoever and regular visits took place on the Temple Mount,” he added.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the “Holy of Holies,” or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

(Source / 08.10.2013)