Israeli embassy accused of pressuring UK university to censor free speech

Mark Regev

Mark Regev, the Israeli ambassador to the UK

A UK university has been accused by students of bowing to Israeli pressure and censoring free speech following revelations of a meeting between university officials and the Israeli ambassador days before an event during Israel Apartheid Week.

Email correspondence obtained through a freedom of information request, seen by MEMO, reveal details of a meeting between the Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev and senior staff at the University of Manchester (UoM) prior to an event during Israel Apartheid Week last March.

The documents were obtained from UoM after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the body regulating data protection in the UK – found UoM to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by not disclosing information requested by a student activist over its relations with controversial Israeli institutions.

Manchester University student, Huda Ammori, lodged the complaint against UoM after an unsuccessful bid to obtain details about the nature of the university’s relation with Israeli organisations. In August, the ICO stepped in and instructed UoM to provide a response to the request within 35 days, in accordance with its obligations under the FOIA.

Read Manchester University must reveal its relations with Israeli institutions

In one of the correspondence obtained by Ammori, the Israeli embassy thanked Dr Tim Westlake, director of student experience at UoM, for “hosting” the Israeli ambassador and “discussing openly some of the difficult issues that [we] face”. The embassy also discussed ways to “increase take up of the Erasmus Programme”, which is a European Union student exchange programme.

The email correspondence includes details of the meeting between UoM and the Israeli embassy, in particular, their concerns over two events organised by the university’s Action Palestine and BDS societies, during Israeli Apartheid Week. In its email the embassy said: “These are just two events of many that they are running in their so called and offensively titled ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’.”

Israeli Apartheid Week UK poster

Israeli embassy staff accused the speakers, including Holocaust survivor and historian Marika Sherwood, of anti-Semitism. They said that the speakers had “cross[ed] the line into hate speech” and that their talk was not “legitimate criticism” of Israel. The officials were especially keen to stress their disapproval of the talk by Sherwood, which was going to compare her experience as a child surviving Nazi brutality and the injustices committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians.

In her response to the accusations, Sherwood told MEMO:

I am not an anti-Semitic Jew! I am an anti-Israeli Jew! The two are not the same. And yes, to me the way Israelis behave towards the Palestinians, whose land/property they have claimed/confiscated/overtaken is as the Nazis behaved towards me and my fellow Jews in Hungary WWII.

“We cant all go back to where our ancestors lived thousands, even hundreds, of years ago,” Sherwood reasoned. “Can you imagine all the Brits who settled in the Americas, in Australia, NZ, South Africa, coming back to claim the UK?”

Organisers, unaware that senior UoM officials had met with the Israeli embassy days before the event, were pressured to meet a number of demands before the university granted permission to hold the event: Academics chosen to chair the meetings were replaced by university appointees, publicity was limited to students and staff, the organisers were told talks would be recorded and the title of Sherwood’s talk had to be changed because “of its unduly provocative nature”.

MEMO contacted UoM over the allegation that they censored free speech, their reasons for putting pressure on the students and if it was in the habit of senior staff to host foreign embassy delegations to discuss internal university matters.

#FreedomOfSpeech

In response, UoM spokesperson said: “Events held on campus are reviewed under the University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech if they concern potentially controversial topics and whenever they involve external speakers. This includes events organised through and in the University of Manchester Students’ Union. In deciding whether or not an event should go ahead, the University pays due regard to all relevant legislation, including the Equality Act 2010.”

Read: UK students to begin hunger strike in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners

“However, such legislation does not act to prohibit completely the expression of controversial views. In this case the University allowed the events to proceed in line with the requirements of the Act and our commitment to principles of freedom of speech and expression.”

While the university refuses to admit any outside coercion, the Israeli embassy has previously been found to have exerted undue influence on British institutions. Earlier this year an Al Jazeera documentary made the sensational revelation concerning a senior Israeli diplomat, Shai Masot, who was captured on video conspiring to “take down” certain UK government ministers such as Sir Alan Duncan for speaking out against Israeli policy and sympathising with the plight of the Palestinians.

The scoop also revealed that the Israeli embassy was providing covert assistance to supposedly independent groups within the Labour party; jobs at the embassy were being offered to groom young Labour activists; and how concerned the embassy was with removing not just Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, but also Crispin Blunt MP, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee (both of whom are Conservative MPs), as well as Jeremy Corbyn MP, the leader of the Labour party.

(Source / 29.09.2017)

‘The military plan to wipe out all Muslims in Myanmar’

Arafatul Islam, multimedia journalist and blogger at Deutsche Welle

“This village is a Muslim-free zone,” reads a sign hanging at the entrance to a village in an area of Myanmar outside Rakhine state. The orders are directed at the country’s Rohingya population, an ethnic group of around 1.3 million that live mainly in Rakhine and who have been described as the “world’s most persecuted minority”.

It’s not difficult to see why. Since 1992 the Burmese government has imposed heavy restrictions on the Rohingyas. If they want to travel from one town to the other they have to pass immigration checkpoints and to do so the administration must grant them permission.

Because requests are regularly turned down the Rohingyas have become isolated within their own country:

“They’ve kept us in an open air prison for more than 25 years. Since 1978 they are propagating and they are brain washing the public that these people are invading the country, that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,” says Nay San Lwin, an activist and blogger who has adopted the prefix “Ro” on social media to identify himself as Rohingya.

“This is our own native land,” he continues. “We gave them an open channel to debate with us but nobody dares to debate with us because they know they are lying.”

“We entered the Rakhine land before the seventh century, then the Rakhine Buddhists invaded us in the eleventh century. Those living in the southern part were driven out from the southern side to the northern side. [Then they said] these people are invading our country from the northern side. It’s similar to Israel and Palestine’s history, as we know Palestinians became like the immigrants.”

As Muslims the Rohingya already live in a majority Buddhist country but the military, says San Lwin, want Myanmar to be “pure Buddhist”. To achieve this they stoke tension between the Buddhists and Muslims and try and force the Rohingya to flee:

“Rakhine has two or three insurgency groups fighting for the land. The Burmese government always creates communal problems and keeps them busy so they are always fighting with the Muslims and they have no time to fight with the Burmese government.”

Read more: Despite allegation of genocide Israel refuses to stop arms sales to Myanmar

In addition to this Rohingyas are barred from entering certain professions; they are discriminated against in the education system, in health services and when they are practicing their religion.

When Myanmar won its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948 the Rohingya were recognised as an official ethnic group and enjoyed full citizenship rights. But in 1974 the government launched operation Jasmine and took away their citizenship and national registration cards.

After it had effectively rendered them stateless some 270,000 Rohingyas fled the country. Under the 1982 citizenship law the government asked everybody to apply for a new citizenship card, many of which were refused on the basis that Myanmar did not recognise them as one of its 135 ethnic groups.

In 2001 San Lwin left Myanmar legally to work in Saudi Arabia because back then his parents were officials of the state and had citizenship. But eventually the embassy stopped renewing his passport, he became stateless, and he migrated to Europe.

A particularly vicious wave of violence against the Rohingya began in August this year when the military launched an “anti-terror” operation, beating, raping, shooting and torturing Rohingyas and burning down their villages.

If you count the Rohingyas who have previously fled the country, there are now roughly 800,000 who are seeking refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh. Videos posted on social media capture hundreds of Rohingyas walking through mud and water barefoot, their possessions gathered in bundles on their back.

Read: Protest against ‘genocide’ in Myanmar

Much of the anger has been directed at Myanamar’s de facto leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who has failed to condemn the army’s abuses and has instead labelled the Rohingya terrorists, argued that the military are victims of a misinformation campaign and even accused women of reporting fake rapes.

Suu Kyi seems to be indifferent to her long fall from grace. Over 400,000 people have signed an online petition to strip her of her peace prize, led by those who campaigned for her release in the late eighties when she was held under house arrest for her efforts to bring democracy to a country living under a military dictatorship and was consequently revered as a symbol of peace.

“She was my hero too in the past,” San Lwin tells me. “We supported her, all Rohingya supported her; our expectation was that the Rohingya’s situation would change if she got into power. But sadly the opposite is happening. We did many campaigns when she was under house arrest – demonstrations in UK and France, online petitions, we celebrated her birthday.”

When Suu Kyi founded the National League for Democracy (NLD) party in 1988 many Rohingyas joined her party in northern Rakhine state, San Lwin tells me. In the 1990 election four candidates from northern Rakhine stood but they didn’t win mainly because the Rohingyas had their own political party.

“All the Rohingya members got their identity cards from the party and on those cards the Rohingya name was clearly mentioned. Now all those party members are denied their existence,” he says.

Burmese stateswoman, Aung San Suu Kyi

Between 1948 and 2015 Rohingyas enjoyed their full voting rights and were elected into parliament. Whilst Suu Kyi was under house arrest one of the founders of the NLD branch in Buthidaung Township, U Kyaw Maung, was arrested repeatedly by military intelligence and tortured to death for refusing to resign from the party.

San Lwin doesn’t think there are any Rohingya left who still support Suu Kyi: “She never took the side of the Rohingya people or the other ethnic minorities. She doesn’t want to lose her position because she struggled for many, many years to get this position, that’s the reason she’s not condemning [the violence]. On the other hand she’s taken the side of the military, which means she’s against us. Also she’s denying our existence.”

Read more: The Rohingya are the victims of state terrorism it must be stopped

On the whole, news coverage in the West of the latest atrocities have been pretty accurate, reckons San Lwin. However India – where Islamophobia is rising and hate crimes against Muslims are increasing – is pumping out a lot of fake news whilst China is simply a propaganda machine for the [Myanmar] government, says San Lwin.

Officially, the Myanmar government is not allowing any reporters – or unofficially any aid – into Rakhine state but earlier this week the Chinese media visited the area. “One of the reasons they are burning all the houses and clearing the land is they have an agreement with China,” says San Lwin.

The $10 billion Kyauk Pyu Special Economic Zone Project agreed between China and Myanmar will see oil and gas pipes built in Rakhine state and has been criticised by activists who question whose land will be appropriated for construction to begin, and where the people living there will go.

San Lwin believes that the main reason behind all this violence is not necessarily this project. Neither is it the physical appearance of the Rohingya, nor their ethnic group or the language they speak. The problem, says San Lwin, is their religion.

Read: ‘Myanmar’s Suu Kyi’s Noble Prize cannot be revoked’

Ethnic groups such as the Dainet or the Marmagyi share the Rohingyas physical appearance, language, tradition and culture yet are not Muslims, so they are recognised as official ethnic groups and have been granted full citizenship rights. Other Muslims in the country, says San Lwin, are also suffering:

“[The military] have a plan to wipe out all the Muslims in the country. This is the long-term plan. In 20 years, after they have cleared all the Rohingya population, there will be other ethnic cleansing of the other Muslim minorities in the country.”

(Source / 29.09.2017)

Israeli forces ban 3 Jerusalemite Palestinian women from Al-Aqsa Mosque

3 women banned

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli magistrate court decided on Thursday to release two Palestinian women from occupied East Jerusalem from Israeli detention.

Sources told Ma’an that the court ruled to release Hanadi al-Halawani and Khadijeh Khweis on the condition of being banned from entering the al-Aqsa mosque for 1 month, being held under house arrest for two weeks, and being banned from entering the occupied West Bank and travelling out of the country for 180 days.
It remained unclear why the two women were detained, and for how long they were in Israeli custody.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities banned on Wednesday a Jerusalemite Palestinian school teacher and activist from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem for a month.
Israeli intelligence summoned Shiha Bkeirat to the al-Qishla police station in the Old City of Jerusalem and handed her an order banning her from entering Al-Aqsa.

(Source / 29.09.2017)

Israeli forces detain Palestinian, threaten journalists at gunpoint in Hebron clashes

Hebron clashes

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Clashes erupted between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces on Friday in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, as journalists reported being threatened at gunpoint by Israeli forces.

Locals told Ma’an that clashes erupted in the Bab al-Zawiya area in the center of the city, with Israeli forces firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians who threw rocks at the military checkpoint at the entrance of al-Shuhada street.
Israeli forces detained an unidentified Palestinian “youth,” according to sources.
Meanwhile, journalists covering the clashes told Ma’an that Israeli forces forced them to leave the area at gunpoint.An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
(Source / 29.09.2017)

Army Abducts Three Palestinians, Injures An Elderly Woman, In Hebron

29 SEP
11:59 AM

Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, the southern West Bank city of Hebron, broke into and searched homes, and abducted three Palestinians in addition to assaulting an elderly woman, and a pregnant woman.

Resident Hilmi Mahmoud al-Qawasmi said the soldiers wired and detonated the main door of his home, and invaded it before deploying their k9 unit.

He added that the soldiers assaulted his wife, an elderly woman identified as Intisar Abdul-Mottaleb al-Qawasmi, causing many cuts and bruises, especially after pushing her onto the ground.

The soldiers also attacked Hilmi’s pregnant daughter, Wala’, who also suffered cuts and bruises, in addition to a severe anxiety attack, caused by the dogs the army unleashed in the property.

After more than an hour of violent searches and assaults against the family, the soldiers found out that they broke into the wrong home.

The soldiers also searched many homes in the city, and abducted Hafeth Nidal Nasreddin, 21, Ala Tareq Abu Rajab and Husam Mousa Abu Shkeidim.

The soldiers also confiscated a surveillance system and equipment from a home, owned by a Palestinians from al-Qawasmi family.

Also at dawn, the soldiers invaded Ya’bad town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched and ransacked many homes, and abducted thirteen Palestinians, including children.

In addition, the army abducted seven Palestinians; three from ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and four in Biddu village, northwest of Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank.

(Source / 29.09.2017)

Bethlehem residents bid farewell to ex-prisoner Sh’eibat

Farewell Sh'eibat

Hundreds of Palestinians in Bethlehem laid to rest the ex-prisoner Ziad Sh’eibat, 55, in his hometown Beit Sahour following Friday prayer.

According to the PIC reporter, Sheikh Ibrahim Doweib, who delivered Friday sermon, held Israel responsible for the death of Sh’eibat, explaining that the drugs given to Sh’eibat while he was in Israeli jails caused him cancer which later killed him.

The leader in the Islamic Jihad Movement, Sheikh Khader Adnana, said that Sh’eibat was one of the senior leaders of the Movement in Bethlehem.

Adnan affirmed that Sh’eibat told him that an Israeli intelligence officer threatened him before his release that he wouldn’t be arrested again, pointing, indirectly, to his near execution.

Sh’eibat died on Thursday after months of fighting cancer. He was known for his anti-Oslo approach and as a result he served several months in the Palestinian Authority prisons and was later held for years in Israeli jails.

(Source / 29.09.2017)

Syrian Coalition: Moscow Seeking to Exterminate Syrian Revolution Forces

The Syrian Coalition warned that the indiscriminate bombardment on Syrian cities and towns would undermine the political process, stressing that Russia bears full responsibility for its continued support and complicity with the Assad regime’s forces in the crimes being committed in Syria.

Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Salwa Aksoi wared of the consequences of turning a blind eye to the crimes and killings Russia is committing in Syria. She noted that the indiscriminate bombardment “mainly targets civilians and forces of the revolution with the aim of eliminating them.”

Aksoi stressed that Moscow will be fully responsible should the political process stalls or completely collapses.

The local council in the town of Jisr al-Shughour declared the town a disaster area as a result of the intense aerial bombardment by the Assad regime Russian air forces.

“We declare the town of Jisr al-Shughour a disaster area as a result of the relentless bombardment on residential areas and civilian facilities. The bombings forced all residents of the town to flee to neighboring villages,” the council said in statement.

The statement called on humanitarian and medical organizations to address the dire conditions in the town resulting from the intense bombardment. It also stressed the need for urgent action to help the IDPs and those still trapped in the town.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Education in Aleppo announced it was suspending schools in the towns and villages of western and southern rural Aleppo for dear of the indiscriminate aerial bombardment by the Assad regime and Russian air forces. It described the targeting of schools as “cowardly aggression” and called for holding perpetrators to account.

The Directorate of Education of the Syrian Interim Government called for stopping the Russian air strikes targeting schools in the province, indicating that the bombings destroyed two schools frequented by hundreds of students.

The Directorate pointed out that Russia’s continued breaches of the “de-escalations zones” agreement and its targeting of schools deprived more than 150,000 schoolchildren of education after the Directorate suspended schools for fear of bombardment.

Russian air force on Friday carried out over 65 airstrikes on Idlib province, targeting 31 towns and villages across the province.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department / 29.09.2017)

Palestinians determined to flee Gaza despite migration risks

 

TOULOUSE, France — When the most recent war on Gaza broke out in 2014, 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef fled to the Netherlands. Since he arrived in Europe by boat, he has been refused asylum twice. But he has no intention of returning to the “prison” of Gaza.

Hamas dismantled its administrative body on Sept. 17, and despite the positive atmosphere surrounding the reconciliation talks, uncertainty continues to plague the city. More than a decade into the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip and after three bloody wars, a large proportion of Palestinians are opting for migration. There are no official figures on the number of Palestinians leaving Gaza, but there is no sign of the wave slowing.

During informal visits and conversations with people living in these camps in Europe, I have noted that a large number of Palestinians have applied for asylum in foreign countries such as Belgium and Sweden. It seems Gazans are now competing with Syrian refugees in search of a better future in refugee camps in Europe and Canada.

The Times of Israel reported in January that the number of asylum applications from the West Bank and Gaza to Canada has skyrocketed from 50 in 2010 to 242 during the first nine months of 2016, according to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.

“I fled the Gaza war in the summer of 2014. I fled dictatorship. I felt like I could die in a war or as soon as I contract a serious illness that has no treatment in Gaza,” Youssef told Al-Monitor. “I immigrated to be able to choose my own lifestyle away from crises and away from prejudice against my beliefs and thoughts,” he added.

He said that despite the dangers of his journey to Europe — where he does not yet feel safe, as he has not been granted a residency permit — he will not consider returning to Gaza. “I will not go back to that prison, even if all countries refuse me,” he asserted.

“I left Gaza under Israeli shelling. I took the tunnels dug beneath the Gaza-Egypt border. I was chased by the Egyptian army, and I spent a terrifying night in Sinai’s Rafah until we arrived in Alexandria. Then we went by sea to Italy and finally arrived in the Netherlands in September 2014,” Youssef recounted.

Youssef was not the only Gazan who left during the July 2014 war, which lasted more than 50 days, as hundreds of others opted to head across the sea for Europe. The most famous tragedy befell a boat that embarked on Sept. 6, 2014, from Alexandria with about 450 refugees aboard. Half of them were Palestinians, mostly from Gaza, and all drowned except for eight Palestinians, a Syrian baby, a Syrian girl and an Egyptian man.

The Israeli war is over, but its repercussions and the ongoing siege have further deteriorated the situation in the Gaza Strip and increased the number of emigrants. Most European countries consider Palestinians “stateless” people, and statistics on them can be hard to interpret.

Ashraf al-Mjaideh, the owner of the Al-Quds Office for Travel and Tourism in Istanbul, confirmed increasing numbers of arrivals from Gaza.

“Hundreds of people in Turkey are trying to get to Europe, most of whom come from Syria and Gaza. I have seen entire families sell their houses in Gaza and leave for Europe,” Mjaideh told Al-Monitor.

He noted that traveling by land costs far more than traveling by sea, which entails many risks. While land journeys can cost between 1,300 and 1,700 euros per person ($1,555 to $2,031), sea passage to the Greek islands can fluctuate anywhere within $200 and $500.

In April 2016, 23-year-old Dana Nashwan, accompanied by her brother and mother, arrived in Belgium after having spent two months in Turkey following a difficult trip from Gaza. “We were looking for a better life and a chance to achieve our ambitions away from the problems and disappointments we face in Gaza.”

Though the three were fortunate to have been granted residence permits in Belgium, the rest of the family — her father, sister and younger brother — remained in Gaza awaiting permits until August 2017.

“It was a long year, but we are better now,” Nashwan said. She said that she saw an increase in the number of Gazan refugee families coming to Belgium over the rest of the year.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in 2016, unemployment rates reached 41.7% in Gaza compared to 18.3% in the West Bank. An August 2017 report found that 37% of the youth in Gaza had a desire to emigrate.

Yara Shaheen, 26, arrived in Belgium in July 2016 with her 3-year-old son, Omar, and applied for political asylum. “I left Gaza because of the deteriorating political and social conditions following the division and the horrors of three wars,” she told Al-Monitor. “Gaza has become a great prison devoid of compassion and humanity, particularly when it comes to women, so I decided to choose a better future for my son and myself.”

A 37-year-old mother who emigrated with her family from Gaza to Canada told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity via Facebook, “We were hoping against hope despite all the wars on the Gaza Strip, but people suddenly lost hope. They realized they were not going to be allowed to travel or build a future of their own, so they rushed to leave.”

She added, “It’s not just about politics, it’s about the humanitarian situation. Staying in Gaza means psychological pressure and a lack of safety, of clean water, of freedom of movement and of job opportunities.”

Khaled Ziad, 24, is waiting for his turn to travel through the Rafah crossing. He told Al-Monitor, “I have 30,000 passengers ahead of me according to the lists of the Ministry of the Interior, and as soon as it’s my turn, I will emigrate in search of a real life away from wars, repression and poverty.”

Human rights activist Salah Abdul Ati said that emigration from Gaza has become a quest of desperation. He told Al-Monitor that many migrants risk illegitimate methods because it is so difficult to obtain a Schengen visa with a Palestinian passport.

Youssef still does not know whether he will be given a residence permit. People are cautiously optimistic amid the uncertainty of a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. If achieved, reconciliation would help the Palestinians revive their economic and political ambitions as well as ease Palestinian immigration to Europe and Canada. What is certain, however, is that reconstruction works and the gains they can bring cannot materialize overnight.

(Source / 29.09.2017)

Palestinian ex-prisoner succumbs to disease caught in Israeli jail

Ziad Sh'eibat

Palestinian ex-prisoner Ziad Sh’eibat, from Bethlehem, was pronounced dead on Thursday evening as a result of medical neglect in Israeli detention.

The casualty succumbed to a cancer he caught shortly after he had been released from Israeli jails. Drugs prescribed by Israeli medics have reportedly caused the lethal tumor.

Sh’eibat underwent a surgery at a hospital in Occupied Jerusalem. However, afterwards, he had been denied urgent medical referrals to receive life-saving therapy.

Sh’eibat is a prominent Islamic Jihad leader in the southern occupied West Bank province of Bethlehem. He is also the imam of Beit Sahour’s Grand Mosque.

The casualty had been locked up for several years in the Israeli occupation jails, where his health status had seen a remarkable turn for the worse, before he breathed his last on Thursday.

(Source / 29.09.2017)

Al-Durrah “murder”: Undying witness of Israeli barbarism

Al-Durrah murder

September 30, 2017, marks the 17th anniversary of the murder of the Palestinian child Mohamed al-Durrah by Israeli soldiers while in his father’s arms, in a scene that sparked international furor.

The Muhammad al-Durrah incident took place in the Gaza Strip on 30 September 2000, on the second day of the Second Intifada, during widespread rioting throughout the Palestinian territories.

Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian cameraman freelancing for France 2, as they were caught in gunfire heavily discharged by the Israeli occupation forces.

The footage shows the pair crouching behind a concrete cylinder, the boy crying and the father waving, then a burst of gunfire and dust, after which the child is seen slumped across his father’s legs. The father caught sight of bullets penetrating his son’s back.

After a public funeral broadcast live by national and international TV channels, Muhammad was hailed throughout the world as a victim of Israeli terrorism.

On 28 September 2000, two days before the shooting, the notorious Israeli leader Ariel Sharon and six members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament), escorted by nearly 1,000 soldiers, stormed al-Aqsa Mosque—Muslims’ third holiest.

The violence that followed had its roots in several events, but the break-in was provocative and triggered protests that escalated into rioting across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The uprising became known as the Second Intifada; it lasted over four years and cost around 4,412 Palestinian lives and left 48,322 others wounded. 1,000 Israeli soldiers and settlers died in the uprising while 5,000 were wounded.

(Source / 29.09.2017)