Washington, D.C. | www.mpac.org | May 8, 2021 — The ongoing attacks on al-Aqsa Mosque and evictions in Sheikh Jarrah are a gross violation of international law, human rights, and religious freedom. Historically, America has upheld these values and led the world in its pursuit. The conditions in Jerusalem require the same degree of attention and intervention we have focused in other regions, as the rights, lives, and well-being of a people are under attack physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.
During Ramadan, the holiest time of year for Muslims, the last 10 days are particularly significant with a focus on deep spirituality, gaining closeness with God, and asking the Almighty for forgiveness. Yet for Palestinians in Jerusalem, this time of spiritual devotion has been violated. As the world is witnessing, the holy mosque of al-Aqsa, has been met with unholy Israeli fire on worshipers within the sacred space. These attacks, timed during prayers for Laylat Al Qadr, the holiest night of the year, at the 3rd holiest site for Muslims, is an unacceptable encroachment on religious freedom. This tragic increase in the use of force was preceded by violent land confiscation of Palestinian families by Israeli settlers and the Israeli military in the East Jerusalem town of Sheikh Jarrah. This is an unfortunate pattern of behavior against Palestinians during their most sacred nights of the year. This level of escalation, however, has not occurred in over a decade. The assaults violate our principles, values, and according to American and international law, amount to war crimes. When our American allies violate our values, laws, and international accords, we cannot afford inaction.
Therefore, the Muslim Public Affairs Council calls on the Biden Administration to:
- Intervene with the Israeli government to cease all settlement activity and to pull back its occupying forces from Palestinian land in the West Bank, particularly East Jerusalem.
- Launch an investigation into violations of religious freedom, particularly the violence against Palestinian worshippers by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers during the holy month of Ramadan.
- Ensure that United States law enforcement suspend any and all interaction with the Israeli military in training and joint sessions.
- Accurately describe the unfortunate reality when creating policy for the region and responding to the escalations of violence that destabilize peace. The language of “both sides need to show restraint” is a false paradigm. It is about the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian land and the violation of human rights witnessed by the whole world.