ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN PALESTINE

(West Bank and Gaza)

      

General Information

West Bank and Gaza Strip

President: Mahmoud Abbas (2005)

Prime Minister: Salam Fayyad; interim (2007)

Land area: West Bank: 2,178 sq mi (5,641 sq km); total area: West Bank: 2,263 sq mi (5,860 sq km); Gaza Strip: 139 sq mi (360 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): West Bank: 2,535,927, Gaza Strip: 1,482,405 (growth rate: West Bank: 3.0%, Gaza Strip: 3.7%); birth rate: West Bank: 31.0/1000, Gaza Strip: 38.9/1000; infant mortality rate: West Bank: 18.7/1,000, Gaza Strip: 21.9/1000; life expectancy: West Bank: 73.5, Gaza Strip: 72.2; density per sq mi: West Bank: 1,164, Gaza Strip: 10,077. NOTE: figures above include approximately 8,000 Israeli settlers who evacuated the Gaza Strip in Aug. 2005.

Capital: Undetermined

Large cities (2003 est.): Gaza, 1,331,600 (metro. area), 407,600 (city proper), Hebron, 137,000; Nablus, 115,400

Monetary units: New Israeli shekels, Jordanian dinars, U.S. dollars

Languages: Arabic, Hebrew, English

Ethnicity/race: West Bank: Palestinian Arab and other 83%, Jewish 17%; Gaza Strip: Palestinian Arab and other 99.4%, Jewish 0.6%

Religions: West Bank: Islam 75% (predominantly Sunni), Jewish 17%, Christian and other 8%; Gaza Strip: Islam 98.7% (predominantly Sunni), Christian 0.7%, Jewish 0.6%.

Economic summary: Gaza Strip: GDP/PPP (2003 est.): $768 million; $600 per capita. Real growth rate: 4.5%. Inflation: 3% (includes West Bank) (2004).

The West Bank is located to the east of Israel and the west of Jordan. The Gaza Strip is located between Israel and Egypt on the Mediterranean coast.

Government

The Palestinian Authority (PA), with Yasir Arafat its elected leader, took control of the newly non-Israeli-occupied areas, assuming governmental duties in 1994.

History

The history of the proposed modern Palestinian state, which is expected to be formed from the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, began with the British Mandate of Palestine. From Sept. 29, 1923, until May 14, 1948, Britain controlled the region, but by 1947, Britain had appealed to the UN to solve the complex problem of competing Palestinian and Jewish claims to the land. In Aug. 1947, the UN proposed dividing Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a small international zone. Arabs rejected the idea. As soon as Britain pulled out of Palestine in 1948, neighboring Arab nations invaded, intent on crushing the newly declared State of Israel. Israel emerged victorious, affirming its sovereignty. The remaining areas of Palestine were divided between Transjordan (now Jordan), which annexed the West Bank, and Egypt, which gained control of the Gaza Strip.

Through a series of political and social policies, Jordan sought to consolidate its control over the political future of Palestinians and to become their speaker. Jordan even extended citizenship to Palestinians in 1949; Palestinians constituted about two-thirds of the country's population. In the Gaza Strip, administered by Egypt from 1948–1967, poverty and unemployment were high, and most of the Palestinians lived in refugee camps.

In the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, Israel, over a period of six days, defeated the military forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and annexed the territories of East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and all of the Sinai Peninsula. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), formed in 1964, was a terrorist organization bent on Israel's annihilation. Palestinian rioting, demonstrations, and terrorist acts against Israelis became chronic. In 1974, PLO leader Yasir Arafat addressed the UN General Assembly, the first stateless government to do so. Violence again escalated in 1987 during the intifada (“shaking off”), a new era in Palestinian mass mobilization. In 1988, Yasir Arafat publicly eschewed terrorism and officially recognized the state of Israel.

In 1993, highly secretive talks in Norway between the PLO and the Israeli government resulted in the Oslo Accord. The accord stipulated a five-year plan in which Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would gradually become self-governing. On Sept. 13, 1993, Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzak Rabin signed the historic “Declaration of Principles.” As part of the agreement, Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip and Jericho in the West Bank in 1994. The Palestinian Authority (PA), with Arafat as its elected leader, took control of the newly non-Israeli-occupied areas, assuming all governmental duties.

Intensive negotiations between Barak and Arafat in 2000 remained deadlocked over Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, which Arafat insisted must be the capital of the future Palestinian state. At the end of September, however, the stalemate disintegrated into the worst violence between Israelis and Palestinians in years, provoked by Likud hard-liner Ariel Sharon's visit to the compound called Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif by Muslims. The compound is a fiercely contested site that is sacred to both faiths. The intensified violence, which included an unprecedented number of Palestinian suicide attacks against Israeli civilians and the inevitable Israeli military reprisals, was dubbed the al-Aksa intifada. In four years (2000–2004), the intifada had led to the deaths of almost 4,000, including nearly 3,000 Palestinians.

For five months in 2002, Israeli troops surrounded Yasir Arafat at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah. Prime Minister Sharon, blaming Arafat directly for inciting terror, called for his expulsion from the territories. Washington echoed Israel's view that Arafat had become “irrelevant” and announced that the U.S. would not recognize an independent Palestinian state until Arafat was replaced. Throughout the summer, Palestinian suicide bombings (Hamas and the Al-Aksa Martyr Brigade claimed responsibility for the majority of them) and Israeli reprisals continued. In March 2003, Arafat agreed to political reforms: his government, to the disillusionment of many Palestinians, was rife with corruption. He also agreed to share power with a prime minister. Mahmoud Abbas, second-in-command of the PLO, assumed the post in April. Unlike Arafat, Abbas emphatically rejected the Palestinian intifada, but he had no influence or control over Palestinian militant groups the way Arafat did. On May 1, the Quartet (the U.S., UN, EU, and Russia) unfurled its “road map” for peace, which called on both sides to make concessions and end the wave of deadly violence. But the road map quickly led nowhere: Abbas, with little real political power, could not disable terrorist organizations, and Israel did not dismantle settlements, much less prevent new ones from cropping up. Sharon also continued to build the controversial security barrier that divides Israeli and Palestinian areas. Abbas resigned in September, and Arafat appointed a new prime minister, Ahmed Qurei.

On March 22, 2004, Israel assassinated Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the founder and spiritual leader of Hamas. In the previous six month, Israel had killed more than 20 Hamas officials and vowed to destroy the entire leadership. Within months, Israel had assassinated Yassin's successor as well.

In July 2004, Israel revised the route of its security barrier so that it no longer cut into Palestinian land. The UN estimated that the original route would have taken almost 15% of West Bank territory for Israel. The new route was also meant to limit undue hardships, such as separating Palestinian villagers from their farmland.

On Nov. 10, Yasir Arafat died, marking the end of an era in Palestinian affairs. On Jan. 9, 2005, former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen) was easily elected president with 62% of the vote. At a summit in February, Abbas and Israeli prime minister Sharon agreed to an unequivocal cease-fire, the most promising move toward peace in the four years since the intifada began.

On Aug. 15, 2005, the withdrawal of some 8,000 Israeli settlers from Gaza began. Two years earlier, Sharon had announced his plan for Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. In turn, Israel was to hold on to large blocks of land in the West Bank and reject the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. The Israeli evacuation involved 21 Gaza settlements as well as four of the more isolated of the West Bank's 120 settlements. Gaza, which has the world's highest population density, gained 25% more land and plans on replacing the settlers' single-family houses with apartment buildings to alleviate a severe housing shortage. A private group of American philanthropists purchased 800 acres of greenhouses from the departing settlers and donated them to the Palestinians, preserving an important source of jobs and revenue in an area with 40% unemployment.

Palestinian elections on Jan. 25, 2006, resulted in a stunning and unexpected landslide victory for Hamas (74 of the 132 parliamentary seats) over the ruling Fatah Party, and in February, Ismail Haniya, a centrist Hamas leader, became prime minister. Most assessments indicate that Palestinians, weary of Fatah's mismanagement and widespread corruption, chose Hamas because it promised internal reform—Hamas's well-run social services network provides Palestinians with much-needed education and health care—and not because of its militant policies toward Israel. According to a PA poll, 75% of Palestinians who voted for Hamas supported a peace deal with Israel. Although Hamas had been engaged in a cease-fire with Israel for more than a year, it continued to call for Israel's destruction and refused to renounce violence. As a result, Western donor countries cut off direct aid to the Hamas-run government. By September, the humanitarian crisis was desperate, with 70% of Gaza's population lacking enough food each day.

In September, the yearlong cease-fire with Israel ended. After Hamas militants killed two Israeli soldiers and kidnapped another on September 25, Israel launched air strikes and sent ground troops into Gaza, destroying its only power plant and three bridges. Israel also arrested many of Hamas's elected officials. Fighting continued in July, with Hamas firing rockets into Israel, and Israeli troops killing about 200 Palestinians in September and July.

In December, after months of fruitlessly attempting to form unity government, Hamas and Farah turned on each other. Street fights and shootings broke out between the various factions in Gaza for more than a week until a ceasefire called by President Abbas (Fatah) and Prime Minister Haniya (Hamas). In March 2007, the leaders of Hamas and Fatah finally agreed on a coalition government, which Parliament later approved. The platform that outlines the Hamas-dominated government does not recognize Israel, accept earlier Israeli-Palestinian accords, or renounce violence, conditions required by Western countries before they resume aid to the Palestinian government. Despite the breakthrough, Prime Minister Haniya and President Mahmoud Abbas remain divided on important issues regarding Israel.

Fighting between Hamas and Fatah intensified in September 2007, with Hamas effectively taking control of the Gaza Strip. In response, Palestinian president Abbas dissolved the government, fired Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, and declared a state of emergency. Salam Fayyad, an economist, took over as interim prime minister. In an effort to boost Abbas, the United States and the European Union said they will resume direct aid to the Palestinians.

At a Middle East peace conference in November hosted by the United States in Annapolis, Md., Israeli prime minister Olmert and Abbas agreed to work together to broker a peace treaty by the end of 2008. "We agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty, resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements,” a joint statement said. “We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations, and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.” Officials from 49 countries attended the conference.

Islamic History and Muslims

  Islam in Israel and Palestinian territories includes the Muslims of Israel, where they constitute 16% of the population, those who comprise 75% of the population of the West Bank, and those who comprise 99% of the population of the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem is Islam's third holiest city after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The Haram al Sharif (Temple Mount) of Jerusalem is believed by Muslims to be the location from which Muhammad ascended to Jannah.

  This widely accepted Islamic belief raises the religious and spiritual importance to them of the Dome of the Rock and the adjacent al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli Muslims are sensitive to and mindful of the circumstance that both sites are confirmedly part of the sovereign territory of the state of Israel, albeit without Israeli flags presently being displayed within the limits of the Haram area (which is nominally under control of the Islamic Waqf, an administrative body taking responsibility for the conduct of Islamic affairs in the region of the Temple Mount). In modern times there have been several instances of Israeli patriots raising flags on the Mount in defiance of the police practice of obstructing persons from doing so. Israeli Muslims are free to teach Islam to their children in their own schools.

The majority of Muslims currently residing in Israel are Sunni Arabs. From 1516 to 1917, the Sunni Ottoman Turks ruled the areas that now include Israel. Their leadership reinforced and ensured the centrality and importance of Islam as the dominant religion in the region.

  The conquest of Palestine by the British in 1917 and the subsequent Balfour Declaration opened the gates for the arrival of large numbers of Jews in the Mandate of Palestine who began to tip the scales in favor of Judaism with the passing of each decade.

  However, the British transferred the symbolic Islamic governance of the land to the Hashemites based in Jordan, and not to the House of Saud. The Hashemites thus became the official guardians of the Islamic holy places of Jerusalem and the areas around it, particularly strong when Jordan controlled the West Bank (1948-1967).

  The Bedouin in Israel are also Muslims, with some Bedouin clans participating in the Israeli army. The small Circassian community is composed of Sunni Muslims uprooted from the Caucasus in the late 19th Century and settled in the Galilee by Ottoman
authorities.

In 1922, the British created the Supreme Muslim Council in the British Mandate of Palestine and appointed Amin al-Husayni (1895-1974) as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The council was abolished in 1948, but the Grand Mufti continued as one of the most notorious Islamic and Arab leaders of modern times, often inciting Muslims against Jews.

Israel - 16% Palestinian territories - West Bank - 75%, Gaza Strip - 99%. Together with Israel and Palestine it has a total population of 11,376,309, looking at the religious demography with all religions the statistics show the population, Jewish – 50.7% (5,766,717), Muslim - 40.1% (4,562,611), Christian - 3.2% (365,329) and others - 6% (681,602) All of these data have been calculated using current statistics of populations from Israel.

According to the CBS report, the Muslim population in Israel totaled 1,142,000 million people in 2005, which constitutes 16 percent of the country's population. By 2025, Muslims are estimated to total 2 million, and make up 22 percent of the Israeli population, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has reported. The report also revealed that 39 percent of Israeli Muslims reside in northern Israel, while 21 percent live in the Jerusalem district. The number of Muslim children under the age of 14 currently stands at 475,700, which is almost a quarter of the number of kids in the country.

Islamic History and Muslims


  Islam in Israel and Palestinian territories includes the Muslims of Israel, where they constitute 16% of the population, those who comprise 75% of the population of the West Bank, and those who comprise 99% of the population of the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem is Islam's third holiest city after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The Haram al Sharif (Temple Mount) of Jerusalem is believed by Muslims to be the location from which Muhammad ascended to Jannah.

  This widely accepted Islamic belief raises the religious and spiritual importance to them of the Dome of the Rock and the adjacent al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli Muslims are sensitive to and mindful of the circumstance that both sites are confirmedly part of the sovereign territory of the state of Israel, albeit without Israeli flags presently being displayed within the limits of the Haram area (which is nominally under control of the Islamic Waqf, an administrative body taking responsibility for the conduct of Islamic affairs in the region of the Temple Mount). In modern times there have been several instances of Israeli patriots raising flags on the Mount in defiance of the police practice of obstructing persons from doing so. Israeli Muslims are free to teach Islam to their children in their own schools.

The majority of Muslims currently residing in Israel are Sunni Arabs. From 1516 to 1917, the Sunni Ottoman Turks ruled the areas that now include Israel. Their leadership reinforced and ensured the centrality and importance of Islam as the dominant religion in the region.

  The conquest of Palestine by the British in 1917 and the subsequent Balfour Declaration opened the gates for the arrival of large numbers of Jews in the Mandate of Palestine who began to tip the scales in favor of Judaism with the passing of each decade.

  However, the British transferred the symbolic Islamic governance of the land to the Hashemites based in Jordan, and not to the House of Saud. The Hashemites thus became the official guardians of the Islamic holy places of Jerusalem and the areas around it, particularly strong when Jordan controlled the West Bank (1948-1967).

  The Bedouin in Israel are also Muslims, with some Bedouin clans participating in the Israeli army. The small Circassian community is composed of Sunni Muslims uprooted from the Caucasus in the late 19th Century and settled in the Galilee by Ottoman
authorities.

In 1922, the British created the Supreme Muslim Council in the British Mandate of Palestine and appointed Amin al-Husayni (1895-1974) as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The council was abolished in 1948, but the Grand Mufti continued as one of the most notorious Islamic and Arab leaders of modern times, often inciting Muslims against Jews.

Israel - 16% Palestinian territories - West Bank - 75%, Gaza Strip - 99%. Together with Israel and Palestine it has a total population of 11,376,309, looking at the religious demography with all religions the statistics show the population, Jewish – 50.7% (5,766,717), Muslim - 40.1% (4,562,611), Christian - 3.2% (365,329) and others - 6% (681,602) All of these data have been calculated using current statistics of populations from Israel.

  According to the CBS report, the Muslim population in Israel totaled 1,142,000 million people in 2005, which constitutes 16 percent of the country's population. By 2025, Muslims are estimated to total 2 million, and make up 22 percent of the Israeli population, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has reported. The report also revealed that 39 percent of Israeli Muslims reside in northern Israel, while 21 percent live in the Jerusalem district. The number of Muslim children under the age of 14 currently stands at 475,700, which is almost a quarter of the number of kids in the country.

The Palestinian territories are composed of two discontiguous regions, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, whose final status has yet to be determined. The territories, which were originally contained within the British Mandate of Palestine, were captured and occupied by Jordan and by Egypt in the late 1940s, and captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. "Palestinian territories" is one of a number of designations for these areas.

Following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, portions of the territories have been governed in varying degrees by the Palestinian Authority. They do not include the Golan Heights captured from Syria during the Six Day War, or the Sinai Peninsula, captured from Egypt at that time but later returned by Israel to Egypt after a peace accord was signed between the two countries in 1979. Israel does not consider East Jerusalem nor the former Israeli - Jordanian no man's land (the former annexed in 1980 and the latter in 1967) to be parts of the West Bank. Israel claims that both fall under full Israeli law and jurisdiction as opposed to the 58% of the Israeli-defined West Bank which is ruled by the Israeli 'Judea and Samaria Civil Administration', although this has not been recognized by any other country.

Name
There are differences of opinion as to what the Palestinian territories should be called.

The territories are referred to as the "Occupied Palestinian Territories" by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. Journalists also use the description to indicate lands outside the Green Line. The term is often used interchangeably with the term occupied territories, although this term is also applied to the Golan Heights, which is not claimed by the Palestinians. The confusion stems from the fact that all these territories were captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War and are treated by the United Nations as territory occupied by Israel.

Other terms used to describe these areas collectively include "the disputed territories", "Israeli-occupied territories", and "the occupied territories". Further terms include "Yesha" (Judea-Samaria-Gaza), "liberated territories", "administered territories", "territories of undetermined permanent status", "1967 territories", and simply "the territories".

Many Arab and Islamic leaders, including some Palestinians, use the designation "Palestine" and "occupied Palestine", to imply a Palestinian political or religious claim to sovereignty over the whole of the former territory of the British Mandate west of the Jordan, including all of Israel. Many of them view the land of Palestine as an Islamic Waqf (trust) for future Muslim generations. A parallel exists in the aspirations of some Zionists and Jewish religious leaders to establish Jewish sovereignty over all of Greater Israel in trust for the Jewish people.

Disregarding Palestinian claims to the whole of the former British Palestinian territories, many Israelis also object to the term "occupied Palestinian territories", and similar descriptions, because such designations disregard Israeli claims to parts of the territories or prejudice negotiations involving possible border changes to a boundary which was agreed and intended to be an armistice line following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Israeli right-wing politician Shmuel Katz, in a preliminary brief, whose arguments were analysed and dismissed later by the International Court of Justice to which it was directed, rejects the rulings of that Court and, with it, resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, asserting that the standard term in international law, "occupied Palestinian lands" is "the common language of Arab anti-Israel propaganda, a part of the Arabs' fictional history, which it has succeeded in disseminating throughout the whole wide world". Katz further claimed that "Impartial groups should not be blind to the fact that there are two sides to the dispute in Palestine, and that Israel rejects absolutely the notion that it is illegally holding 'Palestinian lands'." Similarly, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has written: "It would be far more accurate to describe the West Bank and Gaza Strip as "disputed territories" to which both Israelis and Palestinians have claims."

Political status

The political status of these territories has been the subject of negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and of numerous statements and resolutions by the United Nations. See List of United Nations resolutions concerning Israel for further details.

The current and future political status of the territories is highly controversial. Specific issues include the legality of Israeli policies allegedly encouraging settlement, whether it is legitimate for Israel to annex portions of the territories, whether Israel is legally an occupying power according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and whether an independent Arab state will be created in the territories.

Since 1994, the autonomous Palestinian Authority has exercised various degrees of control in large parts of the territories, pursuant to the entry into force of the Declaration of Principles contained in the Oslo Accords.

Since the Battle of Gaza (2007), the territories have split into two administrative entities, with Hamas leading the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian National Authority (with Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah in leadership) continuing to administer the West Bank despite the election (in January, 2006) of Hamas to the majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. Neither group recognize the other one as the official Palestinian leadership.

Boundaries

The Palestinian territories consist of two (or perhaps three) distinct areas — the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Israel regards East Jerusalem not to be a part of the West Bank, but regards it is as part of a unified Jerusalem, which is Israel's capital. The eastern limit of the West Bank is the border with Jordan. The Israel-Jordan peace treaty defined that border as the international border, and Jordan renounced all claims to territory west of it. The southern limit of the Gaza Strip is the border with Egypt. Egypt renounced all claims to land north of the international border, including the Gaza Strip, in the Israel-Egypt peace treaty. The Palestinians were not parties to either agreement.

In any event, the natural geographic boundaries for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively.The boundaries between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and the State of Israel came to be known as the Green Line, and were the result of the 1949 Armistice Agreements, which brought an end to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Green Line was expressly declared in the Armistice Agreements to be an armistice line, and not international borders.

Between the Armistice of 1949 and the Six-Day War of 1967, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied and annexed by Jordan and the Gaza Strip was occupied (but not annexed) by Egypt. The term "Palestinian" began to be applied exclusively to the Arab population of these areas only after Israel's victory in the 1967 War, and consequently the terms "Palestinian territories" and "occupied Palestinian territories" also gained wide usage. The Palestinians had until the start of serious negotiations for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian issues (the Peace Process) refrained from defining the boundaries of what they called "the occupied territories", and which some even called "occupied Palestine", which implied a potential Palestinian claim to the whole of Israel. It was in the context of the negotiations that the term "1967 borders" came to be used, as a basis for negotiation. "The 1967 borders" are in fact the 1949 armistice lines (which is the Green Line), which all Arab countries and Palestinians at the time insisted were to be temporary and with no other legal status. The Palestinian negotiators claim a return to those lines as the boundary for a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians also claim that East Jerusalem is a part of the occupied West Bank within the boundaries of the "1967 borders".

History

In 1922 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire that ruled Palestine for four centuries (1517–1917), the British Mandate for Palestine was established. Large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe took place during the British Mandate. The future of Palestine was hotly disputed between Arabs and Jews. In 1947, the total Jewish ownership of land in Palestine was 1,850,000 dunams or 1,850 square kilometers, which is 7.04% of the total land of Palestine.Public property or "crown lands", the bulk of which was in the Negev, belonging to the government of Palestine may have made up as much as 70% of the total land; with the Arabs, Christians and others owning the rest.

The 1947 United Nations Partition Plan proposed a division of the mandated territory between an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem and the surrounding area to be a corpus separatum under a special international regime. The regions allotted to the proposed Arab state included what would become the Gaza Strip and almost all of what would become the West Bank, as well as other areas.

The Partition Plan was passed by the UN General Assembly on November 1947. Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, one day before the expiration of the British Mandate for Palestine. US President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel de facto the following day, and the United States recognized it de jure on January 31, 1949. The Arab countries responded by declaring war on the newly formed State of Israel, which ended in Israel's victory.

After the war, Israel controlled many of the areas designated for the Arab state, and the negotiated agreements established Armistice Demarcation Lines (ADLs), which did not have the status of recognised international borders.

Thus the areas held by Jordanian and Iraqi forces (with minor adjustments) came under Jordanian control, and became known as the West Bank (of the Jordan River, by contrast with the East Bank, or Jordan proper); the area held by Egyptian forces, along the Mediterranean coast in the vicinity of the city of Gaza and south to the international border, remained under Egyptian control and became known as the Gaza Strip.

For nineteen years following the 1949 Armistice Agreements until the 1967 Six Day War, Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and no Arab state was created. In 1950, Jordan annexed the territories it occupied; this annexation was officially recognized only by the United Kingdom.

Article 24 of the Palestinian National Charter of 1964 stated: "This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area."

Israel captured both territories in the 1967 Six-Day War; since then they have been under Israeli control. Immediately after the war, on June 19, 1967, the Israeli government offered to return the Golan Heights to Syria, the Sinai to Egypt and most of the West Bank to Jordan in exchange for peace. At the Khartoum Summit in September, the Arabs responded to this overture by declaring "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel and no negotiations with Israel."

UN Security Council Resolution 242 introduced the "Land for Peace" formula for normalizing relations between Israel and its neighbors. This formula was used when Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1979 in exchange for a peace treaty. While that treaty mentioned a "linkage" between Israeli-Egyptian peace and Palestinian autonomy, the formerly Egyptian-occupied territory in Gaza was excluded from the agreement, and remained under Israeli control.

The Oslo Accords of the early 1990s between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority. This was an interim organization created to administer a limited form of Palestinian self-governance in the territories for a period of five years during which final-status negotiations would take place. The Palestinian Authority carried civil responsibility in some rural areas, as well as security responsibility in the major cities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Although the five-year interim period expired in 1999, the final status agreement has yet to be concluded despite attempts such as the 2000 Camp David Summit, the Taba summit, and the unofficial Geneva Accords.

In 2005, Israeli forces withdrew from the Gaza Strip, ceding full effective internal control of the territory to the Palestinian Authority.

Since the Battle of Gaza (2007) the two separate territories, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, are divided into a Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip and a Fatah civil leadership in the autonomous areas of the West Bank. Each sees itself as the administrator of all Palestinian territories and does not acknowledge the other one as the official government of the territories. The Palestinian territories have therefore de facto split into two entities.


Legal status

The final status of the "Palestinian territories" as becoming (wholly or largely) an independent state for "Arabs" is supported by the countries that back the Quartet's "Road map for peace". The government of Israel also accepted the road map but with 14 reservations.

Although Israeli settlements were not part of the Oslo Accords negotiations, the Arab position is that the creation and the presence of Israeli settlements in those areas is a violation of international law. This has also been affirmed by a majority of members of the Geneva convention: "12. The participating High Contracting Parties call upon the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention. They reaffirm the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof. They recall the need to safeguard and guarantee the rights and access of all inhabitants to the Holy Places."

Israel contends that the settlements are not illegal and the occupation is not illegal, and views the territory as being the subject of legitimate diplomatic dispute and negotiation under international law.

East Jerusalem, captured in 1967, was unilaterally annexed by Israel. The UN Security Council Resolution 478 condemned the Jerusalem Law as "a violation of international law". This annexation has not been recognized by other nations, although the United States Congress has declared its intention to recognize the annexation (a proposal that has been condemned by other states and organizations). Because of the question of Jerusalem's status, some states refuse to accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and treat Tel Aviv as the capital, basing their diplomatic missions there. Israel asserts that these territories are not currently claimed by any other state, and that Israel has the right to control them.

Israel's position has not been officially accepted by most countries and international bodies. The West Bank, and the Gaza Strip have been referred to as occupied territories (with Israel as the occupying power) by Palestinian Arabs, the rest of the Arab bloc, the UK, the EU, (usually) the USA), both the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the Israeli Supreme Court (see Israeli West Bank barrier).

Some countries and international figures have accorded some credibility to Israel's position. U.S. President George W. Bush has stated that he does not expect Israel to return entirely to pre-1967 borders, due to "new realities on the ground."

Both U.S. President Bill Clinton and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who played notable roles in attempts at mediation, noted the need for some territorial and diplomatic compromise on this issue, based on the validity of some of the claims of both sides. One compromise offered by Clinton would have allowed Israel to keep some settlements in the West Bank, especially those which were in large blocs near the pre-1967 borders of Israel. In return, Palestinians would have received some concessions of land in other parts of the country.

The United Nations did not declare any change in the status of the territories as of the creation of the Palestinian National Authority between 1993 and 2000. Although a 1999 U.N. document implied that the chance for a change in that status was slim at that period, most observers agreed that the Palestinian territories' classification as occupied was losing substantiality, and would be withdrawn after the signing of a permanent peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians (see also Proposals for a Palestinian state).

During the period between the 1993 Oslo Accords and the Second Intifada beginning in 2000, Israeli officials claimed that the term "occupation" did not accurately reflect the state of affairs in the territories. During this time, the Palestinian population in large parts of the territories had a large degree of autonomy and only limited exposure to the IDF except when seeking to move between different areas. Following the events of the Second Intifada, and in particular, Operation Defensive Shield, most territories, including Palestinian cities (Area A), are back under effective Israeli military control, so the discussion along those lines is largely moot.

In the summer of 2005, Israel implemented its unilateral disengagement plan; about 8500 Israeli citizens living in the Gaza Strip were forcibly removed from the territory; some received alternative homes and a sum of money. The Israel Defense Forces vacated Gaza in 2005, but invaded it again in 2006 in response to rocket attacks and the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas.

The Palestinian territories have been assigned a country code of PS in ISO 3166-1 alpha-2, and accordingly, the Palestinian Authority was granted control of the corresponding Internet country code top-level domain .ps.


United Nations Security Council Resolution 242

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 (S/RES/242), one of the most commonly referenced UN resolutions in Middle Eastern politics, was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967 in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter, and was reaffirmed by UN Security Council Resolution 338, adopted after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

The resolution calls for the "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" (there has been some disagreement about whether this means all the territories: see UN Security Council Resolution 242: semantic dispute) and the "termination of all claims or states of belligerency". It also calls for the mutual recognition by the belligerent parties (Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan) of each other's established states and calls for the establishment of secure and recognized boundaries for all parties.

                                                                                

Al-Aqsa Mosque, Al-Qods / Jerusalem

The Real al-Aqsa Mosque and A-Sakhra Mosque in Palestine A-Sakhra Mosque (The Dome of the Rock), Al-Qods

 

Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) which in Arabic we called him as ‘Sulaiman', built a mosque, a long, long time ago, on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem.He dedicated it to the worship of Allah s.w.t. the One True God. Like his father, Prophet David(Dawood in Arabic) (peace be upon him) , he was a prophet and a messenger, calling all humanity to the worship of Allah s.w.t. and to establish piety on the earth.
Now, all these years later and its nowadays, there is some confusion about the site of the real al-Aqsa mosque. In the eastern part of Jerusalem is the Old city, a quadrangular area built on two hills. Within the wall there are four quarters. The Muslim quarter, on the east, contains the Haram al-Sharif, within which are the ‘Dome of the Rock' and the ‘Mosque of al Aqsa'. Both places are sacred sites for Muslims. However it is around the Mosque of Al Aqsa that the confusion lies.

Whenever mention is made in the local or international media pertaining to Al Aqsa, a picture of the ‘Dome of the rock' will appear. These two mosques lie within a rather close proximity to each other but they bear little resemblance. All over the world, we can find pictures of the ‘Dome of the rock' under the heading ‘Al Aqsa' , to the point that people aren't really sure anymore, which is which.

The difference however, is clear and simple. The ‘Dome of the rock' bears the sacred rock that Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) stood on when he went on the ascension to the Sidratul Muntaha, while Al Aqsa mosque lies on the site of the original mosque of Prophet Solomon (Sulaiman) (peace be upon him). Islam reveres both Jewish and Christian traditions, as these two religions belong to its traditions.

Actually Al Aqsa Mosque was the original qiblat (The direction ofMuslim prayers), which was later changed during the time of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) to the Ka'ba at Mecca al Mukarramah.

The reason for the deliberate dispersion of false information is also clear and simple. By focusing attention on the ‘Dome of the rock' under the label of Al Aqsa, all the Muslim people all over the world will not know when the real Al Aqsa mosque finally disappears.

 

West Bank

The West Bank (Arabic: الضفة الغربية‎, aḍ-Ḍiffä l-Ġarbīyä, Hebrew: הגדה המערבית‎, Hagadah Hamaaravit), also referred to in Israel as "Judea and Samaria", is a landlocked territory on the west bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East. To the west, north, and south the West Bank shares borders with the mainland Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the country of Jordan. The West Bank also contains a significant coast line along the western bank of the Dead Sea. Since 1967 most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation.

Prior to the First World War, the area now known as the West Bank was under Ottoman rule as part of the province of Syria. In the 1920 San Remo conference, the victorious Allied powers allocated the area to the British Mandate of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War saw the establishment of Israel in parts of the former Mandate, while the West Bank was captured and annexed by Jordan, who destroyed any existing Jewish villages. The 1949 Armistice Agreements defined its interim boundary. From 1948 until 1967, the area was under Jordanian rule, and Jordan did not officially relinquish its claim to the area until 1988. Jordan's claim was never recognized by the international community, with the exception of the United Kingdom and Pakistan. The West Bank was captured by Israel  during the Six-Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel. Most of the residents are Arabs, although a large number of Israeli settlements have been built in the region since 1967.


Bethlehem


Origin of the name


West Bank

The region did not have a separate existence until 1948–9, when it was defined by the Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan. The name "West Bank" was apparently first used by Jordanians at the time of their annexation of the region, and has become the most common name used in English and related languages. The term literally means 'the West bank of the river Jordan'; the Kingdom of Jordan being on the 'East bank' of this same River Jordan.


Cisjordan

The neo-Latin name Cisjordan or Cis-Jordan (literally "on this side of the River Jordan") is the usual name in the Romance languages and Hungarian. The analogous Transjordan has historically been used to designate the region now comprising the state of Jordan which lies on the "other side" of the River Jordan. In English, the name Cisjordan is also occasionally used to designate the entire region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in the historical context of the British Mandate and earlier times. The use of Cisjordan to refer to the smaller region discussed in this article is rare in English; the name West Bank is standard usage for this geo-political entity. For the low-lying area immediately west of the Jordan, the name Jordan Valley is used instead.


Political terminology

Israelis refer to the region either as a unit: "The West Bank" (Hebrew: "ha-Gada ha-Ma'aravit" "הגדה המערבית"), or as two units: Judea and Samaria (Hebrew: "Yehuda" "יהודה", "Shomron" "שומרון"), after the two biblical kingdoms (the southern Kingdom of Judah and the northern Kingdom of Israel — the capital of which was, for a time, in the town of Samaria). The geographic terms Judea and Samaria have been in continual use by Jews since biblical times. Arab geography also refers to the northern part of the West Bank as ‘’as-Samara’’. However, the name has become somewhat obsolete among Arabs due its politicised use by the Israeli settler movement.

The Arab world and especially the Palestinians strongly object to the term Judea and Samaria, the use of which they deem to reflect Israeli expansionist aims. Instead, they refer to the area as "the occupied West Bank of the Jordan River", emphasizing that the area is under Israeli military control and jurisdiction (see "occupied Palestinian territories").

History
The territory now known as the West Bank was a part of the British Mandate of Palestine entrusted to the United Kingdom by the League of Nations after World War I. The terms of the Mandate called for the creation in Palestine of a Jewish national home without prejudicing the civil and religious rights of the non-Jewish population of Palestine. The current border of the West Bank was not a dividing line of any sort during the Mandate period, but rather the armistice line between the forces of the neighboring kingdom of Jordan and those of Israel at the close of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. When the United Nations General Assembly voted in 1947 to partition Palestine into a Jewish State, an Arab State, and an internationally-administered enclave of Jerusalem, a more broad region of the modern-day West Bank was assigned to the Arab State. The West Bank was controlled by Iraqi and Jordanian forces at the end of the 1948 War and the area was annexed by Jordan in 1950 but this annexation was recognized only by the United Kingdom (Pakistan is often, but apparently falsely, assumed to have recognized it also).

During the 1950s, there was a significant influx of Palestinian refugees and violence together with Israeli reprisal raids across the Green Line.

In May 1967 Egypt ordered out U.N. peacekeeping troops and re-militarized the Sinai peninsula, and blockaded the straits of Tiran. Fearing an Egyptian attack, the government of Levi Eshkol attempted to restrict any confrontation to Egypt alone. In particular it did whatever it could to avoid fighting Jordan. However, "carried along by a powerful current of Arab nationalism", on May 30, 1967 King Hussein flew to Egypt and signed a mutual defense treaty in which the two countries agreed to consider "any armed attack on either state or its forces as an attack on both". Fearing an imminent Egyptian attack, on June 5, the Israel Defense Forces launched a pre-emptive attack on Egypt which began what came to be known as the Six Day War.

Jordan soon began shelling targets in west Jerusalem, Netanya, and the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Despite this, Israel sent a message promising not to initiate any action against Jordan if it stayed out of the war. Hussein replied that it was too late, "the die was cast". On the evening of June 5 the Israeli cabinet convened to decide what to do; Yigal Allon and Menahem Begin argued that this was an opportunity to take the Old City of Jerusalem, but Eshkol decided to defer any decision until Moshe Dayan and Yitzhak Rabin could be consulted. Uzi Narkis made a number of proposals for military action, including the capture of Latrun, but the cabinet turned him down. The Israeli military only commenced action after Government House was captured, which was seen as a threat to the security of Jerusalem.On June 6 Dayan encircled the city, but, fearing damage to holy places and having to fight in built-up areas, he ordered his troops not to go in. However, upon hearing that the U.N. was about to declare a ceasefire, he changed his mind, and without cabinet clearance, decided to take the city.After fierce fighting with Jordanian troops in and around the Jerusalem area, Israel captured the Old City on June 7.

No specific decision had been made to capture any other territories controlled by Jordan. After the Old City was captured, Dayan told his troops to dig in to hold it. When an armored brigade commander entered the West Bank on his own initiative, and stated that he could see Jericho, Dayan ordered him back. However, when intelligence reports indicated that Hussein had withdrawn his forces across the Jordan river, Dayan ordered his troops to capture the West Bank. Over the next two days, the IDF swiftly captured the rest of the West Bank and blew up the Abdullah and Hussein Bridges over the Jordan, thereby severing the West Bank from the East. According to Narkis:

First, the Israeli government had no intention of capturing the West Bank. On the contrary, it was opposed to it. Second, there was not any provocation on the part of the IDF. Third, the rein was only loosened when a real threat to Jerusalem's security emerged. This is truly how things happened on June 5, although it is difficult to believe. The end result was something that no one had planned.

The Arab League's Khartoum conference in September declared continuing belligerency and was seen as a rejection of negotiation. In November, 1967, UN Security Council Resolution 242 was unanimously adopted, calling for "the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" to be achieved by "the application of both the following principles:" "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict" (see semantic dispute) and: "Termination of all claims or states of belligerency" and respect for the right of every state in the area to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries. Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon entered into consultations with the UN Special representative over the implementation of 242. The text specifically did not refer to the PLO or to any Palestinian representative because none was recognized at that time.

In 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank to the Palestine Liberation Organization, as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."

Administration

The 1993 Oslo Accords declared the final status of the West Bank to be subject to a forthcoming settlement between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. Following these interim accords, Israel withdrew its military rule from some parts of the West Bank, which was divided into three areas:
 

Area

Control

Administration

% of WB
land

% of WB
Palestinians

A

Palestinian

Palestinian

17%

55%

B

Israeli

Palestinian

24%

41%

C

Israeli

Israeli

59%

4%

Area A comprises Palestinian towns, and some rural areas away from Israeli population centers in the north (between Jenin, Nablus, Tubas, and Tulkarm), the south (around Hebron), and one in the center south of Salfit. Area B adds other populated rural areas, many closer to the center of the West Bank. Area C contains all the Israeli settlements, roads used to access the settlements, buffer zones (near settlements, roads, strategic areas, and Israel), and almost all of the Jordan Valley and Judean Desert.

Areas A and B are themselves divided among 227 separate areas (199 of which are smaller than 2 square kilometres (1 sq mi)) that are separated from one another by Israeli-controlled Area C.  Areas A, B, and C cross the 11 Governorates used as administrative divisions by the Palestinian National Authority and named after major cities.

While the vast majority of the Palestinian population lives in areas A and B, the vacant land available for construction in dozens of villages and towns across the West Bank is situated on the margins of the communities and defined as area C.

The Palestinian Authority has full civil control in area A, area B is characterized by joint-administration between the PA and Israel, while area C is under full Israeli control. Israel maintains overall control over Israeli settlements, roads, water, airspace, "external" security and borders for the entire territory


Demographics

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimated that approximately 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank (including Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem) at the end of 2006. Though a recent study by the American-Israel Demographic Research Group disputes these figures (see #Recent developments). In December 2007, an official Census conducted by the Palestinian Authority found that the Palestinian population of the West Bank (including Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem) was 2,345,000.

There are over 275,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank, as well as around 200,000 Israeli Jews living in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem. There are also small ethnic groups, such as the Samaritans living in and around Nablus, numbering in the hundreds or low thousands. Interactions between the two societies have generally declined following the Palestinian Intifadas, though an economic relationship often exists between adjacent Israeli and Palestinian Arab villages.
As of October 2007, around 23,000 Palestinians in the West Bank work in Israel every day with another 9,200 working in Israeli settlements. In addition, around 10,000 Palestinian traders from the West Bank are allowed to travel every day into Israel.

Approximately 30% of Palestinians living in the West Bank are refugees or descendants of refugees from villages and towns located in what became Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War (see Palestinian exodus).

The most densely populated part of the region is a mountainous spine, running north-south, where the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Abu Dis, Bethlehem, Hebron and Yattah are located as well as the Israeli settlements of Ariel, Ma'ale Adumim and Betar Illit. Ramallah, although relatively small in population compared to other major cities, serves as an economic and political center for the Palestinians. Jenin in the extreme north of the West Bank is on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Modi'in Illit, Qalqilyah and Tulkarm are in the low foothills adjacent to the Israeli Coastal Plain, and Jericho and Tubas are situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea.


Transportation and communication
 Recent developments

A 2005 study concluded that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) had overestimated the growth of the Palestinian population. According to the study, successive PCBS projections were extrapolated from flawed 1997 census data that counted residents living abroad, double counted residents of Jerusalem, and overestimated birth rates and net migration rate. The study placed the Arab population of the West Bank at only 1.41 Million, not including approximately 220,000 residents of East Jerusalem counted in Israel's census. Sergio DellaPergola, a demographer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, criticized the authors of the study for misunderstanding basic principles of demography and of making multiple methodological errors that invalidated the results.

Significant population centers

The most densely populated part of the region is a mountainous spine, running north-south, where the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Abu Dis, Bethlehem, Hebron and Yattah are located as well as the Israeli settlements of Ariel, Ma'ale Adumim and Betar Illit. Ramallah, although relatively small in population compared to other major cities, serves as an economic and political center for the Palestinians. Jenin in the extreme north of the West Bank is on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley. Modi'in Illit, Qalqilyah and Tulkarm are in the low foothills adjacent to the Israeli Coastal Plain, and Jericho and Tubas are situated in the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea.

Center

Population

Al-Bireh

40,000

Betar Illit

29,355

Bethlehem

30,000

Gush Etzion

40,000

Hebron (al-Khalil)

120,000

Jericho (Ariha)

25,000

Jenin

47,000

Ma'ale Adummim

33,259

Modi'in Illit

34,514

Nablus

135,000

Qalqilyah

40,000

Ramallah

23,000

Tulkarm

75,000

Yattah

42,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transportation and communication

Roads
The West Bank has 4,500 km (2,796 mi) of roads, of which 2,700 km (1,678 mi) are paved. In response to shootings by Palestinians, some highways, especially those leading to Israeli settlements, are completely inaccessible to cars with Palestinian license plates, while many other roads are restricted only to public transportation and to Palestinians who have special permits from Israeli authorities. Due to numerous shooting assaults targeting Israeli vehicles, the IDF bars Israelis from using most of the original roads in the West Bank. Israel's longstanding policy of separation-to-prevent-friction dictates the development of alternative highway systems for Israelis and Palestinian traffic.

Israel maintains about 500 checkpoints or roadblocks in the region.  As such, movement restrictions are also placed on main roads traditionally used by Palestinians to travel between cities, and such restrictions have been blamed for poverty and economic depression in the West Bank . Since the beginning of 2005, there has been some amelioration of these restrictions. According to recent human rights reports, "Israel has made efforts to improve transport contiguity for Palestinians travelling in the West Bank. It has done this by constructing underpasses and bridges (28 of which have been constructed and 16 of which are planned) that link Palestinian areas separated from each other by Israeli settlements and bypass roads" and by removal of checkpoints and physical obstacles, or by not reacting to Palestinian removal or natural erosion of other obstacles. "The impact (of these actions) is most felt by the easing of movement between villages and between villages and the urban centres"

However, the obstacles encircling major Palestinian urban hubs, particularly Nablus and Hebron, have remained. In addition, the IDF prohibits Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian-controlled land (Area A).

As of August 2007, a divided highway is currently under construction that will pass through the West Bank. The highway has a concrete wall dividing the two sides, one designated for Israeli vehicles, the other for Palestinian. The wall is designed to allow Palestinians to freely pass north-south through Israeli-held land.


Airports
The West Bank has three paved airports which are currently for military use only. Palestinians were previously able to use Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport with permission; however, Israel has discontinued issuing such permits, and Palestinians wishing to travel must cross the land border to either Jordan (via the Allenby Bridge) or Egypt in order to use airports located in these countries

Telecom

As transportation between the Palestinian cities became very difficult, due to hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints on Palestinian roads, telephone and internet play a more important role in the Palestinian daily life for communication.

The Israeli Bezeq and Palestinian PalTel Group telecommunication companies provide communication services in the West Bank. The Palestinian mobile market was until 2007 monopolized by Jawwal. As the number of internet users is increasing rapidly (year 2005 160.000 users Numerous Palestine wide websites are growing to helping the Palestinians communicate and trade through the internet like:
News Agencies
Ma'an News
PNN
WAFA
Bethlehem News
Market
Sayarti for Used Cars in Palestine
Palestine Shop for Traditional Products
Tatreez for Palestinian Embroidery


Radio and television

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts from an AM station in Ramallah on 675 kHz; numerous local privately owned stations are also in operation. Most Palestinian households have a radio and TV, and satellite dishes for receiving international coverage are widespread. Recently, PalTel announced and has begun implementing an initiative to provide ADSL broadband internet service to all households and businesses.

Israel's cable television company 'HOT', satellite television provider (DBS) 'Yes', AM & FM radio broadcast stations and public television broadcast stations all operate. Broadband internet service by Bezeq's ADSL and by the cable company are available as well.


Higher education

Before 1967 there were no universities in the West Bank (except for the Hebrew University in Jerusalem - see below). There were a few lesser institutions of higher education; for example, An-Najah, which started as an elementary school in 1918 and became a community college in 1963. As the Jordanian government did not allow the establishment of such universities in the West Bank, Palestinians could obtain degrees only by travelling abroad to places such as Jordan, Lebanon, or Europe.

After the region was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War, several educational institutions began offering undergraduate courses, while others opened up as entirely new universities. In total, seven Universities have been commissioned in the West Bank since 1967:

Bethlehem University, a Roman Catholic institution partially funded by the Vatican, opened its doors in 1973.
In 1975, Birzeit College (located in the town of Bir Zeit north of Ramallah) became Birzeit University after adding third- and fourth-year college-level programs.
An-Najah College in Nablus likewise became An-Najah National University in 1977. The Hebron University was established in 1980
Al-Quds University, whose founders had yearned to establish a university in Jerusalem since the early days of Jordanian rule, finally realized their goal in 1995.
Also in 1995, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, the Arab American University—the only private university in the West Bank—was founded right outside of Zababdeh, with the purpose of providing courses according to the American system of education.
In 2005, the Israeli government recommended to upgrade the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel to become a full fledged university . This move to create a university within an Israeli settlement has angered some Palestinians, although no official response was made by the Palestinian authority.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, established in 1918, is one of Israel's oldest, largest, and most important institutes of higher learning and research. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the leader of the Palestinian forces in Jerusalem, Abdul Kader Husseini, threatened that the Hadassah Hospital and the Hebrew University would be captured or destroyed "if the Jews continued to use them as bases for attacks".Medical convoys between the Yishuv-controlled section of Jerusalem and Mount Scopus were attacked since December 1947. After the Hadassah medical convoy massacre in 1948, which also included university staff, the Mount Scopus campus was cut off from the Jewish part of Jerusalem. After the War, the University was forced to relocate to a new campus in Givat Ram in western Jerusalem. After Israel captured East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of June 1967, the University returned to its original campus in Mount Scopus.
Most universities in the West Bank have politically active student bodies, and elections of student council officers are normally along party affiliations. Although the establishment of the universities was initially allowed by the Israeli authorities, some were sporadically ordered closed by the Israeli Civil Administration during the 1970s and 1980s to prevent political activities and violence against the IDF. Some universities remained closed by military order for extended periods during years immediately preceding and following the first Palestinian Intifada, but have largely remained open since the signing of the Oslo Accords despite the advent of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000.

The founding of Palestinian universities has greatly increased education levels among the population in the West Bank. According to a Birzeit University study, the percentage of Palestinians choosing local universities as opposed to foreign institutions has been steadily increasing; as of 1997, 41% of Palestinians with bachelor degrees had obtained them from Palestinian institutions . According to UNESCO, Palestinians are one of the most highly educated groups in the Middle East "despite often difficult circumstances" . The literacy rate among Palestinians in the West Bank (and Gaza) (89%) is third highest in the region after Israel (95%) and Jordan (90%).


Legal status

The West Bank is currently considered under international law to be, de jure, a territory not part of any state. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Court of Justice, and the International Committee of the Red Cross refer to it as occupied by Israel.

According to Alan Dowty, legally the status of the West Bank falls under the international law of belligerent occupation, as distinguished from nonbelligerent occupation that follows an armistice. This assumes the possibility of renewed fighting, and affords the occupier "broad leeway". The West Bank has a unique status in two respects; first, there is no precedent for a belligerent occupation lasting for more than a brief period, and second, that the West Bank was not part of a sovereign country before occupation — thus, in legal terms, there is no "reversioner" for the West Bank. This means that sovereignty of the West Bank is currently suspended, and, according to some, Israel, as the only successor state to the Palestine Mandate, has a status that "goes beyond that of military occupier alone."

The current status arises from the facts (see above reference) that Great Britain surrendered its mandate in 1948 and Jordan relinquished its claim in 1988. Since the area has never in modern times been an independent state, there is no "legitimate" claimant to the area other than the present occupier, which currently happens to be Israel. This argument however is not accepted by the international community and international lawmaking bodies, virtually all of whom regard Israel's activities in the West Bank and Gaza as an occupation that denies the fundamental principle of self-determination found in the Article One of the United Nations Charter, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Further, UN Security Council Resolution 242 notes the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war" regardless of whether the war in which the territory was acquired was offensive or defensive. Prominent Israeli human rights organizations such as B'tselem also refer to the Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza as an occupation.] John Quigley has noted that "...a state that uses force in self-defense may not retain territory it takes while repelling an attack. If Israel had acted in self-defense, that would not justify its retention of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Under the UN Charter there can lawfully be no territorial gains from war, even by a state acting in self-defense. The response of other states to Israel's occupation shows a virtually unanimous opinion that even if Israel's action was defensive, its retention of the West Bank and Gaza Strip was not."
 Political positions

The future status of the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean shore, has been the subject of negotiation between the Palestinians and Israelis, although the current Road Map for Peace, proposed by the "Quartet" comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations, envisions an independent Palestinian state in these territories living side by side with Israel (see also proposals for a Palestinian state). However, the "Road Map" states that in the first phase, Palestinians must end all terror and attacks on Israel, whereas Israel must dismantle outposts. Since neither condition has been met since the Road Map was "accepted," by all sides, final negotiations have not yet begun on major political differences.

The Palestinian Authority believes that the West Bank ought to be a part of their sovereign nation, and that the presence of Israeli military control is a violation of their right to Palestinian Authority rule. The United Nations calls the West Bank and Gaza Strip Israeli-occupied (see Israeli-occupied territories). The United States State Department also refers to the territories as occupied. Many Israelis and their supporters prefer the term disputed territories, because they claim part of the territory for themselves, and state the land has not, in 2000 years, been sovereign.

Israel argues that its presence is justified because:


Israel's eastern border has never been defined by anyone;
The disputed territories have not been part of any state (Jordanian annexation was never officially recognized) since the time of the Ottoman Empire;
According to the Camp David Accords (1978) with Egypt, the 1994 agreement with Jordan and the Oslo Accords with the PLO, the final status of the territories would be fixed only when there was a permanent agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinian public opinion opposes Israeli military and settler presence on the West Bank as a violation of their right to statehood and sovereignty. Israeli opinion is split into a number of views:

Complete or partial withdrawal from the West Bank in hopes of peaceful coexistence in separate states (sometimes called the "land for peace" position); (According to a 2003 poll 76% of Israelis support a peace agreement based on that principle).
Maintenance of a military presence in the West Bank to reduce Palestinian terrorism by deterrence or by armed intervention, while relinquishing some degree of political control;
Annexation of the West Bank while considering the Palestinian population as (for instance) citizens of Jordan with Israeli residence permit as per the Elon Peace Plan;
Annexation of the West Bank and assimilation of the Palestinian population to fully fledged Israeli citizens;
Transfer of the East Jerusalem Palestinian population (a 2002 poll at the height of the Al Aqsa intifada found 46% of Israelis favoring Palestinian transfer of Jerusalem residents; in 2005 two polls using a different methodology put the number at approximately 30%).

Accession of West Bank to Jordan
There has been a proposal of the West Bank's accession to Jordan by the people of Jordan, Palestine and even Israel. It is also supported by Pakistan, Turkey and Syria.

Annexation
Israel annexed the territory of East Jerusalem, and its Palestinian residents (if they should decline Israeli citizenship) have legal permanent residency status. Although permanent residents are permitted, if they wish, to receive Israeli citizenship if they meet certain conditions including swearing allegiance to the State and renouncing any other citizenship, most Palestinians did not apply for Israeli citizenship for political reasons. There are various possible reasons as to why the West Bank had not been annexed to Israel after its capture in 1967. The government of Israel has not formally confirmed an official reason, however, historians and analysts have established a variety of such, most of them demographic. Among the most agreed upon:

Reluctance to award its citizenship to an overwhelming number of a potentially hostile population whose allies were sworn to the destruction of Israel. Fear that the population of non-Zionist Arabs would outnumber the Israelis, appeal to different political interests, and vote Israel out of existence; thus failing to maintain the concept and safety of a Jewish state. To ultimately exchange land for peace with neighbouring states

Settlements and international law


Israeli settlements on the West Bank beyond the Green Line border are considered by some legal scholars to be illegal under international law.] Other legal scholars including Julius Stone, have argued that the settlements are legal under international law, on a number of different grounds. The Independent reported in March 2006 that immediately after the 1967 war Theodor Meron, legal counsel of Israel's Foreign Ministry advised Israeli ministers in a "top secret" memo that any policy of building settlements across occupied territories violated international law and would "contravene the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention". A contrasting opinion was held by Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of the Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in the administration of U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, who wrote in 1991 that Israel has a right to have settlements in the West Bank under 1967's UN Security Council Resolution 242.The European Union and the Arab League consider the settlements to be illegal. Israel also recognizes that some small settlements are "illegal" in the sense of being in violation of Israeli law.

Although Israel has formally pledged to stop settlement efforts in the West Bank as part of internationally-backed peace efforts, it has failed to honor the commitment and construction has continued to grow. Israel has also stopped monitoring new construction at the settlements.

In 2005 the United States ambassador to Israel, Dan Kurtzer, expressed U.S. support "for the retention by Israel of major Israeli population centres [in the West Bank] as an outcome of negotiations", reflecting President Bush's statement a year earlier that a permanent peace treaty would have to reflect "demographic realities" on the West Bank.

The UN Security Council has issued several non-binding resolutions addressing the issue of the settlements. Typical of these is UN Security Council resolution 446 which states [the] practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 have no legal validity, and it calls on Israel as the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention held in Geneva on 5 December, 2001 called upon "the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and to refrain from perpetrating any violation of the Convention." The High Contracting Parties reaffirmed "the illegality of the settlements in the said territories and of the extension thereof."
On December 30, 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued an order requiring approval by both the Israeli Prime Minister and Israeli Defense Minister of all settlement activities (including planning) in the West Bank.

West Bank barrier

The Israeli West Bank barrier is a physical barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 metres (197 ft) wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 metres (26 ft) high concrete walls (10%) (although in most areas the wall is not nearly that high). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or "Green Line" between the West Bank and Israel. As of April 2006 the length of the barrier as approved by the Israeli government is 703 kilometers (436 miles) long. Approximately 58.4% has been constructed, 8.96% is under construction, and construction has not yet begun on 33% of the barrier. The space between the barrier and the green line is a closed military zone known as the Seam Zone, cutting off 8.5% of the West Bank and encompassing tens of villages and tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The barrier generally runs along or near the 1949 Jordanian-Israeli armistice/Green Line, but diverges in many places to include on the Israeli side several of the highly populated areas of Jewish settlements in the West Bank such as East Jerusalem, Ariel, Gush Etzion, Emmanuel, Karnei Shomron, Givat Ze'ev, Oranit, and Maale Adumim.

The barrier is a very controversial project. Supporters claim the barrier is a necessary tool protecting Israeli civilians from the Palestinian attacks that increased significantly during the al-Aqsa Intifada; it has helped reduce incidents of terrorism by 90% from 2002 to 2005; over a 96% reduction in terror attacks in the six years ending in 2007, though Israel's State Comptroller has acknowledged that most of the suicide bombers crossed into Israel through existing checkpoints . Its supporters claim that the onus is now on the Palestinian Authority to fight terrorism.

Opponents claim the barrier is an illegal attempt to annex Palestinian land under the guise of security, violates international law, has the intent or effect to pre-empt final status negotiations, and severely restricts Palestinians who live nearby, particularly their ability to travel freely within the West Bank and to access work in Israel, thereby undermining their economy. According to a 2007 World Bank report, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank has destroyed the Palestinian economy, in violation of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access. All major roads (with a total length of 700 km) are basically off-limits to Palestinians, making it impossible to do normal business. Economic recovery would reduce Palestinian dependence on international aid by one billion dollars per year.

Pro-settler opponents claim that the barrier is a sly attempt to artificially create a border that excludes the settlers, creating "facts on the ground" that justify the mass dismantlement of hundreds of settlements and displacement of over 100,000 Jews from the land they claim as their biblical homeland.
 

Gaza Strip


The Gaza Strip (Arabic: قطاع غزة‎ transliteration: Qitˁɑ' Ġazzah/Qita' Ghazzah, Hebrew: רצועת עזה‎ Retzu'at 'Azza) is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt on the south-west and Israel on the north and east. It is about 41 kilometers (25 mi) long, and between 6 and 12 kilometers (4–7.5 mi) wide, with a total area of 360 square kilometers (139 sq mi).

The territory takes its name from Gaza, its main city. It has about 1.4 million Palestinian Arab (or Gazan) residents.

Governance

The Gaza Strip is not recognized internationally as part of any sovereign country. It is claimed by the Palestinian National Authority as part of the Palestinian territories, though following the June 2007 battle of Gaza, actual control of the area is in the hands of the de facto government dominated by Hamas. Israel, which governed the Gaza Strip from 1967-2005, still controls the strip's airspace, territorial water and offshore maritime access, as well as its side of the Gaza-Israeli border. Egypt, which governed the Gaza Strip from 1948-1967 controls the southern border between the Gaza strip and the Sinai desert.

History



Ancient history until mid 16th century (15th century BC-1517)

The first recorded mention of the city of Gaza was a reference by Pharaoh Thutmose II (18th dynasty; 15th century BC), though the actual habitation no doubt predates that official record. It is also mentioned in the Amarna letters, an archive of clay tablets with diplomatic and administrative correspondence between the Egyptian administration and its representatives in Canaan and Amurru in the New Kingdom. The first mention of Gaza in the Bible is in Joshua 10:41, which took place around 1451 B.C. according to Ussher's chronology.

Because of its strategic position on the ancient trade route of Via Maris, linking Egypt with the northern empires of Syria, Anatolia and Mesopotamia, Gaza experienced little peace in antiquity. Throughout its history it was a prosperous trade center, sitting as it does on the ancient Sea Road.

The area was under Egyptian occupation for over 300 years when the Philistines took control and settled the city and surrounding area. Gaza became an important Philistine trading center and part of the Pentapolis (league of five cities).

The Bible makes a reference to Gaza as the place where Samson was delivered into bondage by Delilah and where he died while toppling the temple of the god Dagon. King Saul's head was displayed in a temple of Dagon by the Philistines in 1 Chronicles 10:8-10. The Philistines occupied the five cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron, and Gath, along the coastal strip of south-western Canaan, that belonged to Egypt up to the closing days of the Nineteenth Dynasty (ended 1185 BCE). According to the bible the coastal city of Gath fell to the Israelite King David circa 1000 BC. (1 Chronicles 18, 1.) Gath as part of Judah fell to Hazael, King of Aram Damascus in the 9th century BCE when the Syrian King forced the tribes of Judah to become refugees. (II Kings 13, 5)

The area fell to the Assyrians in 732 BC, to the Egyptians, to the Babylonians in 586 BC, Persians in 525 BC, and the Macedonians. Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great met stiff resistance there in 332 BC. After conquering it, he sold its inhabitants into slavery.

In 145 BC the Gaza strip was conquered by Jonathan the Hasmonean (Brother of Judah the Maccabee). Alexander Balas granted the victorious Jonathan Maccabaeus the city of Ekron along with its outlying territory after the siege of Jaffa under Apollonius Taos, governor of Coele-Syria. Ashkelon submitted voluntarily while Gaza was forcibly taken]. In Hellenistic and Roman times the harbour, about 3 miles (5 km) from the city proper, was called Neapolis (Greek: “New City”).

It was conquered by Arabs in the 630s after a siege during which the Jewish population of the city defended it alongside the Byzantine garrison. Believed to be the site where Muhammad's great grandfather was buried, the city became an important Islamic center. In the 12th century, Gaza was taken by Christian Crusaders; it fell to Ayyubid control in 1187.


Ottoman and British control (1517-1948)

In 1517 Gaza fell to the Ottomans and was part of the Ottoman Empire until the First World War.

Starting in the early 19th century, Gaza was culturally dominated by neighboring Egypt. Though part of the Ottoman Empire, a large number of its residents were Egyptians (and their descendants) who had fled political turmoil.

The region served as a battlefield during the First World War (1914-18). The Gaza Strip was taken by the British in the Third Battle of Gaza on 7 November 1917.

Following World War I, Gaza became part of the British Mandate of Palestine under the authority of the League of Nations.

Jews were present in Gaza until 1929, when revisionist Zionist Betar mobs at the wailing wall incited violence, the Mufti Haj Amin El Husseini spoke out this led to riots, killing 67 Jews, and over 200 Arab Palestinians and forced the Gaza Jews to leave the area.] After that the British prohibited Jews from living in the Gaza area, though some Jews returned and, in 1946, established kibbutz Kfar Darom near the Egyptian border.

British rule of Palestine ended with the Israeli War of Independence in 1948.


Egyptian occupation (1948-67)

Main article: Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Egypt
According to the terms of the 1947 United Nations partition plan, the Gaza area was to become part of a new Arab state. Following the dissolution of the British mandate of Palestine and 1947-1948 Civil War in Palestine, Israel declared its independence in May 1948. The Egyptian army invaded the area from the south, starting the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

The Gaza Strip as it is known today was the product of the subsequent 1949 Armistice Agreements between Egypt and Israel, often referred to as the Green Line. Egypt occupied the Strip from 1949 (except for four months of Israeli occupation during the 1956 Suez Crisis) until 1967. The Strip's population was greatly augmented by an influx of Palestinian Arab refugees who fled or were expelled from Israel during the fighting.

Towards the end of the war, the All-Palestine Government (Arabic: حكومة عموم فلسطين hukumat 'umum Filastin) was proclaimed in Gaza City on 22 September 1948 by the Arab League. It was conceived partly as an Arab League attempt to limit the influence of Transjordan over the Palestinian issue. The government was not recognized by Transjordan or any non-Arab country. It was little more than a façade under Egyptian control, had negligible influence or funding, and subsequently moved to Cairo. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip or Egypt were issued All-Palestine passports until 1959, when Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt, annulled the All-Palestine government by decree.

Egypt never annexed the Gaza Strip, but instead treated it as a controlled territory and administered it through a military governor.[ The refugees were never offered Egyptian citizenship.

During the Sinai campaign of November 1956, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula were overrun by Israeli troops. International pressure soon forced Israel to withdraw.


Israeli occupation (1967-1994)

Israel occupied the Gaza Strip again in June 1967 during the Six-Day War. The military occupation lasted for 27 years, until 1994. However, according to the Oslo Accords, Israel retains control of air space, territorial waters, offshore maritime access, the population registry, entry of foreigners, imports and exports as well as the tax system.
During the period of Israeli occupation, Israel created a settlement bloc, Gush Katif in the south west corner of the Strip near Rafah and the Egyptian border. In total Israel created 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip, comprising some 20% of the total territory. Besides ideological reasons for being there, these settlements also served Israel's security concerns. The Gaza Strip remained under Israeli military administration until 1994. During that period the military administration was also responsible for the maintenance of civil facilities and services.

In March 1979 Israel and Egypt signed the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. Among other things, the treaty provided for the withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula which Israel had captured during the Six-Day War. The final status of the Gaza Strip as with relations between Israel and Palestinians was not dealt with in the treaty. The treaty did settle the international border between Gaza Strip and Egypt. Egypt renounced all territorial claims to the region beyond the international border.

In May 1994, following the Palestinian-Israeli agreements known as the Oslo Accords, a phased transfer of governmental authority to the Palestinians took place. Much of the Strip (except for the settlement blocs and military areas) came under Palestinian control. The Israeli forces left Gaza City and other urban areas, leaving the new Palestinian Authority to administer and police the Strip. The Palestinian Authority, led by Yasser Arafat, chose Gaza City as its first provincial headquarters. In September 1995, Israel and the PLO signed a second peace agreement extending the Palestinian Authority to most West Bank towns. The agreement also established an elected 88-member Palestinian National Council, which held its inaugural session in Gaza in March 1996.

The PA rule of the Gaza Strip and West Bank under leadership of Arafat suffered from serious mismanagement and corruption. Exorbitant bribes were demanded for allowing goods to pass in and out of the Gaza Strip, while heads of the Preventive Security Service apparatus profited from their involvement in the gravel import and cement and construction industries, like the Great Arab Company for Investment and Development, the al-Motawaset Company and the al-Sheik Zayid construction project.

The Second Intifada broke out in September 2000. In February 2005, the Israeli government voted to implement a unilateral disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip. The plan began to be implemented on 15 August 2005 (the day after Tisha B'av) and was completed on 12 September 2005. Under the plan, all Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip (and four in the West Bank) and the nearby Erez bloc were dismantled with the removal of all 9,000 Israeli settlers (most of them in the Gush Katif settlement area in the Strip's southwest) and military bases. On 12 September 2005 the Israeli cabinet formally declared an end to Israeli military rule in the Gaza Strip. To avoid any allegation that it was still in occupation of any part of the Gaza Strip, Israel also withdrew from the Philadelphi Route, which is a narrow strip adjacent to the Strip's border with Egypt, after Egypt's agreement to secure its side of the border. Under the Oslo Accords the Philadelphi Route was to remain under Israeli control, to prevent the smuggling of materials (such as ammunition) and people across the border with Egypt. With Egypt agreeing to patrol its side of the border, it was hoped that the objective would be achieved.


Palestinian Authority control (1994-2007)

In accordance with the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority took over the administrative authority of the Gaza Strip (other than the settlement blocs and military areas) in 1994. After the complete Israeli withdrawal of Israeli settlers and military from the Gaza Strip on 12 September 2005, the Palestinian Authority had complete administrative authority in the Gaza Strip.

Since the Israeli withdrawal the Rafah Border Crossing has been supervised by EU Border Assistance Mission Rafah under an Agreement finalised in November 2005.

Israel continues to assert control over activities that rely on transit through Israel, as well as air space over and sea access to ports in Gaza. Israel approves all immigration to and emigration from Gaza via Israel, as well as entry by foreigners via Israel, imports and exports via Israel, and collection and reimbursement of value-added tax in Israel.

Palestinians and others maintain that the Israeli occupation is not over because of this Israeli control – instead of a military occupation, they are now in a state of siege. The Israeli human rights organization B'tselem said in November 2006 that "the broad scope of Israeli control in the Gaza Strip creates a strong case for the claim that Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip continue." University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, law professor Iain Scobbie noted in 2006 that "Israel retains absolute authority over Gaza’s airspace and territorial sea. It is manifestly exercising governmental authority in these areas.... it is clear that Israeli withdrawal of land forces did not terminate occupation."And according to some Palestinians, Israel's occupation of the Gaza Strip continued. "They control the water, the sky and the passages. How can you say occupation is over?" said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in 2005. Similar viewpoints have been presented by many other Palestinian organizations and leaders.The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights also argues that the Gaza Strip remains occupied by Israel.

Prior to Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the United States considered the Gaza Strip to be an Israel-occupied territory. Following the withdrawal, no official US government statement has been made on the status of the Strip. However, the CIA World Factbook (an official U.S. government publication), which was last updated in 2007, continues to list the Gaza Strip as an Israeli-occupied territory.

Israel says that Gaza is no longer occupied as it does not exercise effective control or authority over any land or institutions in the Gaza Strip. In the fourth section of The Hague convention of 1907, article 42 states defines occupation: 'Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.' For some, it seems clear that Israel is in no such position regarding the Gaza Strip, as the IDF doesn't control any part of Gaza anymore. Israel doesn't administer any property belonging to Gazans (besides controlling all imports and exports) nor any means of transportation (except for the naval blockade). The Hague convention also implies that occupation is a condition applying between states. When the Israeli army left Gaza, an unclear legal situation was created, as Gaza does not belong to any sovereign state. Moreover, for some, the Hague convention obligations for the occupying state imply that, if Israel would still occupy Gaza, this would mean it has the right and even the duty to maintain law and order there.

Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. However, when a Hamas-controlled government was formed, continuing to refuse to recognize Israel, renounce violence and agree to honour agreements previously made by the PLO, Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union froze all funds to the Hamas-controlled government. They view Hamas as a terrorist organization.

In December 2006, news reports indicated that a number of Palestinians were leaving the Gaza Strip, due to political disorder and economic stagnation there.
In January 2007, fighting continued between Hamas and Fatah, without any progress towards resolution or reconciliation. The deadliest clashes occurred in the northern Gaza Strip, where General Muhammed Gharib, a senior commander of the Fatah-dominated Preventative Security Force, died when a rocket hit his home. Gharib's two daughters and two bodyguards were also killed in the attack, which was carried out by Hamas gunmen.
At the end of January 2007, it appeared that a newly-negotiated truce between Fatah and Hamas was starting to take hold . However, after a few days, new fighting broke out. Fatah fighters stormed a Hamas-affiliated university in the Gaza Strip. Officers from Abbas' presidential guard battled Hamas gunmen guarding the Hamas-led Interior Ministry.

In May 2007, the deal between Hamas and Fatah appeared to be weaker, as new fighting broke out between the factions. This was considered a major setback. Interior Minister Hani Qawasmi, who had been considered a moderate civil servant acceptable to both factions, resigned due to what he termed harmful behavior by both factions.

Fighting spread in the Gaza Strip with both factions attacking vehicles and facilities of the other side. In response to constant attacks by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Israel launched an air strike which destroyed a building used by Hamas. Some Palestinians said the violence could bring the end of the Fatah-Hamas coalition government, and possibly the end of the Palestinian authority.

Hamas spokeman Moussa Abu Marzouk placed the blame for the worsening situation in the Strip upon Israel, stating that the constant pressure of economic sanctions upon Gaza resulted in the "real explosion". Expressions of concerns were received from many Arab leaders, with many offering to try to help by doing some diplomatic work between the two factions.One journalist wrote an eyewitness account stating:

Today I have seen people shot before my eyes, I heard the screams of terrified women and children in a burning building, and I argued with gunmen who wanted to take over my home. I have seen a lot in my years as a journalist in Gaza, but this is the worst it's been.

Hamas control (2007-present)

In June 2007, the Palestinian Civil War between Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) and Fatah (Palestine Liberation Movement) intensified. Hamas routed Fatah after winning the democratic election, and by 14 June 2007, the Gaza Strip was completely overrun by Hamas, which now effectively controlled the Gaza Strip and proclaimed itself to be the legitimate government of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded by declaring a state of emergency, dissolving the unity government and forming a new government without Hamas participation. PNA security forces in the West Bank arrested a number of Hamas members and closed some Hamas offices.

After Hamas' victory in June, it started ousting Fatah-linked officials from positions of power and authority in the Strip (such as government positions, security services, universities, newspapers etc) and strove to enforce law in the Strip by progressively removing guns from the hands of peripheral militias, clans, and criminal groups, and gaining control of smuggling tunnels. According to Amnesty International, under Hamas rule, newspapers have been closed down and journalists have been harassed. Fatah demonstrations have been forbidden or suppressed, as in the case of a large demonstration on the anniversary of Yasser Arafat's death, which resulted in the deaths of seven people by Hamas, after protesters hurled stones at Hamas security forces.

Christians are being threatened and assaulted in the Gaza Strip. The owner of a Christian bookshop was abducted and murdered,, and on February 15, 2008, the Christian Youth Organization's library in Gaza City was bombed. Hamas condemns these attacks.

Since the refusal by Israel and its allies to recognize the democratic election of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the EU Border Monitors at the Rafah Crossing have not been able to perform their functions under the Agreement, citing security concerns, resulting in the Rafah Crossing being mostly closed. The only land access into the Strip to Israel is via the Erez and Karni crossings. Meanwhile Israeli and Egyptian security reports claim that Hamas continued smuggling in large quantities of explosives and arms from Egypt through tunnels. Egyptian security forces uncovered 60 tunnels in 2007.

While clamping down on lawlessness in the Strip, Hamas and other armed groups have continued to fire Qassam rockets from the Strip across the border into Israel, targeting nearby Israeli localities. According to Israel, since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip until the end of January 2008, 697 rockets and 822 mortar bombs have been fired at Israeli towns. In response, Israel targeted Qassam launchers and military targets and on September 19, 2007, declared the Gaza Strip a hostile entity, to make it possible to cut fuel and electricity supplies. In January 2008 the situation escalated and Israel curtailed travel from Gaza and entry of goods, and decided to cut fuel supplies to the Strip on January 19, resulting in power shortages. This brought charges that Israel was inflicting collective punishment on the Gaza population, leading to international condemnation. Despite multiple reports from within the Strip that food and other essentials were in extremely short supply, Israel countered that Gaza had enough food and energy supplies for weeks. In early March 2008, air strikes and ground incursions into the Strip by the IDF led to the deaths of over 110 Palestinians – mostly civilians, and extensive damage to Jabalia.


Current situation

Abbas' government has won widespread international support. Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia said in late June 2007 that the West Bank-based Cabinet formed by Abbas was the sole legitimate Palestinian government, and Egypt moved its embassy from Gaza to the West Bank.. The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip faces international diplomatic and economic isolation.

However, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt support reconciliation and the forming of a new unity government, and press Abbas to start serious talks with Hamas. Abbas has always conditioned this on Hamas ceding control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is supported by Syria and Iran, and is believed to have brought in large sums of money from the latter. Hamas fighters are also believed to have received training in Iran. Hamas has been invited to and has visited a number of countries, including Russia, and in the USA and EU countries, opposition parties and politicians have called for a dialogue with Hamas and an end to the economic sanctions.

On January 23, 2008, after months of preparation during which the steel reinforcement of the border barrier was weakened, Hamas destroyed several parts of the wall dividing Gaza and Egypt in the town of Rafah. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans crossed the border into Egypt seeking food and supplies. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered his troops to allow the Palestinians in, due to the crisis, but to verify that they did not bring weapons back. Egypt arrested and later released several armed Hamas militants in the Sinai who presumably wanted to infiltrate into Israel. At the same time, Israel increased its state of alert along the length of the Israel-Egypt Sinai border, and warned its citizens to leave Sinai "without delay". The EU Border Monitors have indicated their readiness to return to monitor the border, should Hamas guarantee their safety; while the Palestinian Authority has demanded that Egypt deal only with the Authority in negotiations relating to borders. Israel has eased up some influx of goods and medical supplies to the strip, but it has curtailed electricity by 5% in one of its ten lines, while Hamas and Egypt have shored up some of the gaping holes between the two areas. The first attempts by Egypt to reclose the border were met by violent clashes with Gaza gunmen, but after 12 days the borders were sealed again. In mid-February there had still been no agreement reached between the parties on conditions for reopening the Rafah crossing. In February 2008 an Haaretz poll indicated that 64% of Israelis favour their government holding direct talks with Hamas in Gaza about a cease-fire and to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was abducted in a cross border raid by Palestinian militants on 25 June 2006 and has been held hostage since.

In February 2008, Israeli-Palestinian fighting intensified with rockets launched at Israeli cities and Israel attacking Palestinian militants. An increase in rocket attacks lead to a heavy Israeli military action on March 1, resulting in over 100 Palestinians being killed according to BBC News, as well as 2 Israeli soldiers. Israeli human rights group B'Tselem estimated that 45 of those killed were not involved in hostilities, and 15 were minors.

After a round of tit for tat arrests between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza strip and West Bank, the Hilles clan from Gaza were relocated to Jericho on 4 August 2008.

Geography
The Gaza Strip is located in the Middle East (at 31°25′N 34°20′E / 31.417, 34.333Coordinates: 31°25′N 34°20′E / 31.417, 34.333). It has a 51 kilometers (32 mi) border with Israel, and an 11 km border with Egypt, near the city of Rafah. Khan Yunis is located 7 kilometers (4 mi) northeast of Rafah, and several towns around Deir el-Balah are located along the coast between it and Gaza City. Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun are located to the north and northeast of Gaza City, respectively. The Gush Katif bloc of Israeli localities used to exist on the sand dunes adjacent to Rafah and Khan Yunis, along the southwestern edge of the 40 kilometers (25 mi) Mediterranean coastline.

Gaza strip has a temperate climate, with mild winters, and dry, hot summers subject to drought. The terrain is flat or rolling, with dunes near the coast. The highest point is Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Auda), at 105 meters (344 ft) above sea level. Natural resources include arable land (about a third of the strip is irrigated), and recently discovered natural gas. Environmental issues include desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; and depletion and contamination of underground water resources.

The Strip currently holds the oldest known remains of a man-made bonfire, and some of the world's oldest dated human skeletons. It occupies territory similar to that of ancient Philistia, and is occasionally known by that name.

Demographics

In 2007 approximately 1.4 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, of whom almost 1.0 million are UN-registered refugees. The majority of the Palestinians are descendants of refugees who fled from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Strip's population has continued to increase since that time, one of the main reasons being a total fertility rate of more than 5 children per woman. In a ranking by total fertility rate, this places Gaza 19th of 222 regions.

The vast majority of the population are Sunni Muslims, with an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Christians.The Christian population has been shrinking since Hamas' takeover, due to tensions with the Muslim community and economic sanctions imposed by Israel. In December 2007, Israel has permitted 400 Gaza Christians to travel through Israel to Bethlehem for Christmas. While they are strictly travel permits, many Christian families are taking the opportunity to settle in the West Bank, despite the illegality.

One of the largest foreign communities in the Gaza Strip was the approximately 500 women from the former Soviet Union. During the Soviet era, the Communist Party subsidized university studies for thousands of students from Yemen, Egypt, Syria and the territories. Some of them got married during their studies and brought their Russian and Ukrainian wives back home. However, over half of them were able to leave the Strip via the Erez crossing to Amman within days of Hamas's takeover. From there they have flown back to Eastern Europe.


Economy
Economic output in the Gaza Strip declined by about one-third between 1992 and 1996. This downturn has been variously attributed to corruption and mismanagement by Yasser Arafat, and to Israeli closure policies—the imposition of generalized border closures which disrupted previously established labor and commodity market relationships between Israel and the Strip. A serious negative social effect of this downturn was the emergence of high unemployment.

Israel's use of comprehensive closures decreased during the next few years and, in 1998, Israel implemented new policies to reduce the impact of closures and other security procedures on the movement of Palestinian goods and labor into Israel. These changes fueled an almost three-year-long economic recovery in the Gaza Strip. Recovery ended with the outbreak of the al-Aqsa Intifada in the last quarter of 2000. The al-Aqsa Intifada triggered tight IDF closures of the border with Israel, as well as frequent curbs on traffic in Palestinian self-rule areas, severely disrupting trade and labor movements. In 2001, and even more severely in early 2002, internal turmoil and Israeli military measures in Palestinian Authority areas resulted in the destruction of capital plant and administrative structure, widespread business closures, and a sharp drop in GDP. Another major factor has been the decline of income earned due to reduction in the number of Gazans permitted entry to work in Israel. After the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the flow of a limited number of workers into Israel again resumed, although Israel has stated its intention to reduce or end such permits due to the victory of Hamas in the 2006 parliamentary elections.

The Israeli settlers of Gush Katif built greenhouses and experimented with new forms of agriculture. These greenhouses also provided employment for many hundred Gazan Palestinians. When Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the Summer of 2005, the greenhouses were purchased with money raised by former World Bank president James Wolfensohn, and given to the Palestinian people to jump-start their economy. However, the effort faltered due to limited water supply, inability to export produce due to Israeli border restrictions, and corruption in the Palestinian Authority. Most of the greenhouses were subsequently looted or destroyed.

According to the CIA World Factbook, GDP in 2001 declined 35% to a per capita income of $625 a year, and 60% of the population is now below the poverty line. Gaza Strip industries are generally small family businesses that produce textiles, soap, olive-wood carvings, and mother-of-pearl souvenirs; the Israelis have established some small-scale modern industries in an industrial center. Israel supplies the Gaza Strip with electricity. The main agricultural products are olives, citrus, vegetables, Halal beef, and dairy products. Primary exports are citrus and cut flowers, while primary imports are food, consumer goods, and construction materials. The main trade partners of the Gaza Strip are Israel, Egypt, and the West Bank.

Before the second Palestinian uprising broke out in September 2000, around 25,000 workers from the Gaza Strip used to work in Israel every day.

Israel, the United States, Canada, and the European Union have frozen all funds to the Palestinian government after the formation of a Hamas-controlled government after its victory in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. They view the group as a terrorist organization, and have pressured Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and agree to past agreements. Since Israel's withdrawal and its subsequent blockade, the gross domestic product of the Gaza Strip has been crippled. The enterprise and industry of the former Jewish villages has been impaired, and the previously established work relationships between Israel and the Gaza Strip have been disrupted. Job opportunities in Israel for Gaza Palestinians have been largely lost. Prior to disengagement, 120,000 Palestinians from Gaza were employed in Israel or in joint projects. Only about 20,000 have been able to keep these jobs.

After the seizure by Hamas militias of the Gaza Strip on 14 June 2007, all contact between the outside world and the Strip has been severed. The only goods permitted into the Strip through the land crossings are goods of a humanitarian nature.


Health

A study carried out by Johns Hopkins University (USA) and Al-Quds University (in Jerusalem) for CARE International in late 2002 revealed very high levels of dietary deficiency among the Palestinian population. The study found that 17.5% of children aged 6–59 months suffered from chronic malnutrition. 53% of women of reproductive age and 44% of children were found to be anemic. In the aftermath of the Israeli withdrawal of August and September 2005, the healthcare system in Gaza continues to face severe challenges.After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and the subsequent Israeli declaration of Gaza Strip as a "hostile entity", the health conditions in Gaza Strip faces new challenges exacerbated by the intensified Israeli closure. The WHO expressed its concerns about the consequences of the Palestinian internal political fragmentation; the socioeconomic decline; military actions; and the Physical, psychological and economic isolation on the health of the population in Gaza.

Gazans requiring medical care in Israeli hospitals have to apply for a medical permit. In 2007, Israel granted 7176 permits and denied 1627. Two women who had received permits were arrested at the crossing when it was found they had plans to blow themselves up in the Israeli hospital.


Transport and communication
The Gaza Strip is located in the Middle East (at 31°25′N 34°20′E / 31.417, 34.333Coordinates: 31°25′N 34°20′E / 31.417, 34.333). It has a 51 kilometers (32 mi) border with Israel, and an 11 km border with Egypt, near the city of Rafah. Khan Yunis is located 7 kilometers (4 mi) northeast of Rafah, and several towns around Deir el-Balah are located along the coast between it and Gaza City. Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun are located to the north and northeast of Gaza City, respectively. The Gush Katif bloc of Israeli localities used to exist on the sand dunes adjacent to Rafah and Khan Yunis, along the southwestern edge of the 40 kilometers (25 mi) Mediterranean coastline.

Gaza strip has a temperate climate, with mild winters, and dry, hot summers subject to drought. The terrain is flat or rolling, with dunes near the coast. The highest point is Abu 'Awdah (Joz Abu 'Auda), at 105 meters (344 ft) above sea level. Natural resources include arable land (about a third of the strip is irrigated), and recently discovered natural gas. Environmental issues include desertification; salination of fresh water; sewage treatment; water-borne disease; soil degradation; and depletion and contamination of underground water resources.

The Strip currently holds the oldest known remains of a man-made bonfire, and some of the world's oldest dated human skeletons. It occupies territory similar to that of ancient Philistia, and is occasionally known by that name.

 

 

The Western Wall And Omar Mosque Jerusalem Israel

 

The El-Jazar Mosque, which is known in Arabic as Jama el Basha (the Mosque of the Pacha), is the main mosque in Acre. It is also the largest and most magnificent mosques in Israel outside Jerusalem.

 

Al-Aqsa Mosque from the northeast

Dome and rooftop of Al-Aqsa

West exterior and fragments on display

 

   Interior of the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Arch mosaics and beautiful ceiling

 

History and Importance of Masjidul Aqsa 

FOCUS ON FILASTEEN (PALESTINE)

Glorified and exalted be He above all they associate with Him, Who took His slave (Muhammad ) for a Journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (in Makkah) to Masjid Al-Aqsaa (in Al-Quds), the neighborhood whereof We have blessed in order that We might show him (Muhammad) our aayaat. Verily He is the All-Hearer, All-Seer (Soorah Al-Israa' Aayah 1)

In the following special feature article we offer to you the religious significance, history and importance of Masjid Al-Aqsaa, Baitul-Maqdis and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) for our readers. It is somewhat lengthy but unfortunately it is evident that the significance of this holy place known as the "First of the Two Qiblahs and the third of the Two Masjids" (i.e. Masjid al-Haraam in Makkah and Masjidun-Nabawiyy in Al-Madeenah) is lost on a large number of Muslims. This lack of awareness only assists in underestimating and not understanding its importance and our obligations towards it as Muslims. We therefore pray that this small efforts assists you to increase your knowledge of this third of the holiest sites in Islam, ameen. - Ed.


THE RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE OF BAYTUL-MAQDIS

From The Biography Of Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) Change of the Qiblah (Direction in prayer) The Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) as well as the Muslims had been facing towards Jerusalem while worshipping, that is, they regarded it as housing the Qiblah. Such practice was followed for one year and four months after migrating to Madinah. It was the Prophet’s (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) desire that the K’abah be made the Qiblah for prayers as did the other Arab converts to Islam, for they had been holding the sanctuary at Makkah in a reverential regard since time immemorial. To them the house of worship built by Ibrahim and Ismail ('alaihima salaam) was the holiest of the holy ones, incomparable in sanctity to any other sanctum or shrine. They were put to a severe test by being asked to face Jerusalem instead of the K’abah and they withstood this trial by dutifully obeying the divine command. Such was their devotion to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) that they always replied, whether they found anything to their liking or not.


“We hear, and we obey,” [Qur'aan 24:51] and "We believe therein: The whole is from our Lord,”[Qur'aan 3:7] Thus, after the faith of the earliest Muslims had been brought to a test and they had defied it successfully, the Qiblah for the prayer was changed to the K'abah.

“Thus We have appointed you a middle nation, that ye may be witness against mankind and that the messenger may be witness against you. And We appointed the Qiblah which you formerly observed only that We might know him who followeth the messenger, from him who turneth on his heels. In truth it was a hard (test) save for those whom Allah guided.” [Qur'aan 2:143]

The Muslims changed their direction promptly in prayer, in compliance with divine command, towards the K’abah which was henceforth selected as the Qiblah for all the believers, living in any part of the World, for all times to come. (See Sihah Sittah and the Qur’anic verses relating to the change of the Qiblah).

Al-Israa'
It was during this period that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) found himself transported at night to the Ka'bah and from there to the place of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, where Masjid-ul-Aqsa now stands. Then he was borne to the celestial regions where he witnessed the seven heavens, met the prophets of yore and saw the remarkable signs of divine majesty about which the Qur'aan says: “The eye turned not aside nor yet was overbold, verily he saw one of the greater revelations of his Lord.” [Qur'aan 53:17-18]

Occurrence of the event at that time was meant to confer dignity upon the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam); it signified something like viands of higher regale in order to console and alleviate the feelings of distress caused to him by the persecution of the pagans at Ta’if. After the Ascension incident, the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) told the people about his nocturnal journey, but the Quraysh mocked him and shook their heads stating that it was inconceivable and beyond the bounds of reason. When Abu Bakr (radiallahu 'anhu) saw the Quraysh accusing the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) of falsehood he said, “What makes you wonder about it? If he said this, then it must be true. By Allah, he tells me that the revelation descends upon him from Heaven in a flash or in an instant during the day or night and I testify for him. This is even more unimaginable and difficult than what seems to astound you." (Ibn Katheer, Vol. II, p. 96, Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, p. 399)

Real Significance of Israa'
The ascension did not occur in a routine or ordinary run of things only to demonstrate the profound phenomena of Allah's Kingdom in the Heavens and the earth to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) of Islam. More than that, such a prophetic journey of tremendous importance alludes to a number of other significant and complex realities of far-reaching concern to humanity. The two Surahs of Israa' and An-Najm revealed in connection with this heavenly journey indicate that Muhammad (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was charged with the office of prophethood for both the Houses of Allah, those in Jerusalem and Makkah, and was sent as the leader of the east and the west or the entire human race ‘til the end of time. As the inheritor of all the prophets of old, he represented the fulfillment and consummation of mankind’s religious development. His nightly journey from Makkah to Jerusalem expresses, in a figurative way, that his personality conformed and alluded to the oneness of Bait-ul-Haraam (K’aba at Makkah) and Masjidul-Aqsa. That all the prophets arrayed themselves behind him in Masjidul-Aqsa shows that the doctrine of Islam, preached by him, was final, universal and all comprehensive - meant for every class and section of human society throughout the ages.
The event is, at the same time, indicative of the comprehensiveness of the Prophet’s (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) prophethood, the place accorded to his followers in the great task of humanity’s guidance and the distinctive character of his message.

Frankly speaking, the ascension of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) represents a demarcation line between the regional, limited and variable rules of divine guidance entrusted to the prophets of old and the global, comprehensive and abiding principles of faith conferred to the universal leader of human race. Had the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) been a sectional or regional guide, a national leader, the savior of any particular race or the restorer of the glory of any particular people, there would have been no need to honor him with ascension to the heavens nor would he have been required to perceive the hidden phenomena of the Heavens and the earth. Nor would it have been necessary to create a new link between the celestial and the earthly surface of the Divine Kingdom; in that case the confines of his own land, his surroundings environs and the times would have been sufficient enough and there would have been no need for him to divert his attention to any other land or country. Neither his ascension to the most sublime regions of the Heavens and to the “Lote-Tree of the Farthest Limit” (19) nor even the nocturnal journey to the far away Jerusalem, then in the grip of the powerful Christian Empire of Byzantium, would have been necessary at all.

The ascension of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was a divine proclamation that he had nothing to do with the category of national or political leaders whosendeavorsrs are limited to their own country and nation. For they serve the nations and races to which they belong and are a product of their time, they serve the need of a particular juncture. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) of Islam, on the contrary, belonged to the luminous line of the Messengers of Allah ('alaihimus salaam) who communicate the inspired message of Heaven to the earth. They are links between Allah and His creatures. Their messages transcend the limitations of time and space, race and color and country or nation, for they are meant for the exaltation of man irrespective of color, race or country.

Obligatory Salaah

On this occasion, Allah made fifty prayers a day obligatory for the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and his followers. The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) constantly implored God for the reduction of the burden of prayers until the Lord was also pleased to limit these to only five times daily. The Lord was also pleased to declare that whoever properly performs these five times daily prayers would be recompensed for all the fifty daily prayers enjoined earlier. (Al-Bukhaari, Kitab-us-Salat) Within the Miracle of Israa’ and Miraj are many potent salient points. However, only two of them will be mentioned here:

First, inherent within the miracle is the parallelism of the problems of Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, which is the farthest mosque and the area surrounding it, Palestine, to the problems of the Islamic world as a whole. Although Makkah became the center of the Islamic world after the message of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) was revealed, with Makkah serving as the focal point in the unity of its goals, the defense of Palestine is the defense of Islam itself and is the duty of every Muslim in the world. Being negligent with respect to defending and liberating Palestine means being negligent towards an aspect of Islam, a sin for which Allah may punish every believer in Allah and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam).


Second, the miracle symbolizes the loftiness of the Muslims and the obligation upon them to rise above worldly lusts and desires. They must distinguish themselves from other human beings by living up to the nobility of their role. They must always be of noble goals and purposes.


THE CONTINUING ISLAMIC HISTORY OF PALESTINE

Fall of Jerusalem Under The Khilaafah of Umar Ibnul-Khattaab (radiallaahu 'anhu)

Amr bin As was layinsiegege to Jerusalem. After the fall of Antioch, Abu Obaida, Khalid and other Muslim generals also joined Amr. The Christians had little hope of help from Byzantium. So they decided to give in. However, the Christians had some fears. They knew that other cities had given in before. In each case the victors had respected the life and property of the defeated. They had left alone their places of worship. They had allowed them to follow their own religion. But about Jerusalem the Christians were not very sure. It was as sacred to the Muslims as it was to them. Before giving in they wanted to make very sure that they would be treated well.
So the Christians put their proposal before Abu Obaida. "We are ready to give in," they said, "but your Caliph must come here in person and sign the treaty of peace."
The Muslim generals met in counsel and thought over the proposal. At last they decided to accept it. "Why spill human blood" they said, "if things can be straightened out without it?"
So the Christian proposal was conveyed to the Caliph. Jerusalem could be taken without shedding a drop of blood. But for that Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) had to come all the way from Medina to Jerusalem. To this Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) readily agreed.


Umar in Jerusalem

The Caliph left Ali (radiallaahu 'anhu) in Medina as his deputy and himself left for Jerusalem. He had only one attendant with him and only one camel to ride. Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) and the attendant rode the camel by turns. It happened to be the servant's turn to ride on the day when they were to reach Jerusalem. "Commander of the Faithful," said the attendant, "I give up my turn. It will look awkward, in the eyes of the people, if I ride and you lead the camel." "Oh no," replied Omar, "I am not going to be unjust. The honor of Islam is enough for us all."

Abu Obaid, Khalid, Yazid and other officers of the army went some distance to receive the Caliph. All of them were wearing silk cloaks. This made Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) angry. He took some pebbles and threw them at his generals, saying, "Have you changed so much in just two years? What dress is this? Even if you had done this two hundred years from now, I would have dismissed you."
The officers replied, "Commander of the Faithful, we are in a land where the quality of clothes worn tells the rank of a man. If we wear ordinary clothes, we will command little respect among the people. However, we are wearing our arms underneath the silken robes." This answer cooled down the anger of the Caliph. Next the Caliph signed the treaty of peace. It ran as follows:
"From the servant of Allah and the Commander of the Faithful, Umar: The inhabitants of Jerusalem are granted security of life and property. Their churches and crosses shall be secure. This treaty applies to all people of the city. Their places of worship shall remain intact. These shall neither be taken over nor pulled down. People shall be quite free to follow their religion. They shall not be put to any trouble..."

The gates of the city were now opened. Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) went straight to the Temple of David (Masjidul-Aqsa). Here he said his prayer under David's Arch. Next he visited the biggest Christian church of the city. He was in the church when the time for the afternoon prayer came. "You may say your prayers in the church," said the Bishop. "No," replied Omar, "if I do so, the Muslims may one day make this an excuse for taking over the church from you."
So he said his prayers on the steps of the church. Even then, he gave the Bishop a writing. It said that the steps were never to be used for congregational prayers nor was Athaan [call to prayer] to be said there.

Umar's Mosque

Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) wanted to build a mosque in Jerusalem. He asked the Bishop which place would be suitable for the purpose. The Bishop suggested the "Sakhra," or the rock on which Allah had talked to Prophet Jacob. Here the Christians had heaped garbage to tease the Jews. ImmImmediatelye Sakhra was cleared of the garbage. Umar (radiallaahu 'anhu) himself worked like a laborer with the rest of his men. JerJerusalemhe city of David and of Christ, witwitnessede equality of Islam. When the Sakhra had been cleared of every trace of dirt, a mosque was built on the site. The mosque stands to this day and is known as Umar's Mosque.
Since the second Abbasid period, which commenced after the mid of the third Hijri century, the Islamic Caliphate State was progressively in weakening till it was broken down into three Caliphates instead of one. The Abbasid Caliphate was established in the East; the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt, parts of North Africa and Syria, and the Umayyad Caliphate in Andalus. The Crusades took place under these circumstances.

The political map of the region before the Crusades

Forty years before the Crusades, the Turkish Saljuks had succeeded in dominating Baghdad and took over the rule under the nominal Abbasid Caliphate. The Saljuks had managed to dominate over larger parts of Persia, northern Iraq, Armenia and Asia Minor around 1040 CE. The Saljuk ruler, Toghrol Bic, dominated over Bain 1055 CE.

The Saljuks spread their rule over the Byzantines in Asia Minor. On 19 August 1071 CE, the Malathkard battle, under the command of the Saljuk ruler Alb Arsalan, took place, and a catastrophe befell the Byzantines till the end of the eleventh century CE.
In 1071 CE, the Saljuks seized most of Palestine except for Arsout, and dismissed the Fatimid dominion from it. The Saljuks expanded their dominion to include most of Syria.

In 1092 CE (485 H [Hijra]), the Saljuk Sultan Malikshah passed away, thereby breaking down the Saljuks' dominion and launching many long and severe battles among them over the dominion and power. In 1096 CE, their rule was divided into five kingdoms: Sultanate of Persia (under the ruler Birkiyarouq), Kingdom of Khurasan and beyond the River (under the ruler Singer), Kingdom of Aleppo (under the ruler Radwan), Kingdom of Damascus (under the ruler Daqaq) and the Roman Saljuks Sultanate (under the ruler Qalj Arsalan). Most of the regions in Palestine were subjected to the Damascus regime, and during the weakness of the two rulers of Syria (Radwan and Daqaq), a lot of private rulers emerged, none of which dominated more than one city.

The Crusaders commenced their military campaign of 1098 CE (491 H) while Muslim regions in Syria, Iraq and others were torn apart because of their differences and bloody conflicts. The two brothers, Radwan and Daqaq, sons of Titish, launched a war against each other in 490 H. Many battles broke out between Mohammed Ibn Malikshah Birkiyarouq because of their conflict over the power in which they exchanged victories and sermons in the Caliphate court during the period 492-497 H.

First Crusader military campaign and its results

During Pope Urban the Second's time (1088-1988 CE), the Europeans focused on the Holy Land. The Pope called on the Claremont Council on 26 November 1095 CE to restore the Holy Land by taking it back from the Muslims.

Many councils were held in Limoux, Angariz, Man, Tours, Bouwatieeh, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Neim, in which he called for launching the Crusades during the period 1095-1096 CE. He promised that any volunteer who would participate in the Crusades would be forgiven his sins. He also promised that any crusader's property would be kept under the auspices of the Church during their absence. He required that each warrior should wear a cloth cross on his tunic.

The Crusades were launched as public campaigns or callers' campaigns. They were poor in arms and in order. One of these campaigns was the campaign of Peter the Hermit, who was an eloquent person known for riding on a lame donkey barefoot and with tattered clothes. He gathered about 15,000 volunteers in France. En route to their destination, they committed the massacre of 4,000 individuals because of a dispute over rations. The bands of Walter the Penniless assembled with them in Constantinople, and they all entered the Asian seashore. A battle with the Saljuks took place and the Saljuks defeated them and killed 22,000 Crusaders. Only 3,000 Crusaders survived. As to the Volkmar and Ameikh campaigns, they began by massacring the Jews along their route. Thereafter, the two campaigns perished in Hungary!

The first Crusade campaign took place in which professional European barons and knights participated. The campaign started to overcome the Muslim regions beginning in the summer of the year 1097 CE. In March 1098 CE, the Crusades formed Al-Raha State under the leadership of the Pole Baldwin. The Crusaders besieged Antioch for nine months. The ruler of Antioch, Baggissian, had shown courage, good opinion and took precautions more than anyone else. Thus, the Crusades perished. However, if their crowds had survived, they would have dominated over the Muslim countries. One of the Armenians who was guarding the walls of the city contacted the Crusaders. They gave him money and property for opening the door of the tower he was guarding. Because of this, the Crusaders occupied the city and formed their second State on 3 September 1098 CE (491 H) under Bohemond of Normandy.

While the Saljuks were defending themselves against the Crusaders along the north of Syria, the Fatimids took the opportunity to invade and occupy Tyre in 1097 CE. They dominated over Jerusalem in February 1098 CE, while the Crusaders were besieging Antioch. In Tripoli, the Judge Ibn Ammar, one of the followers of the Fatimids, declared his independence. The Fatimids sent to the Crusaders, during their besieging of Antioch, a mission so as to join in alliance. They proposed to fight against the Saljuks provided that they should capture Palestine while the northern region (Syria) would be under the dominion of the Crusaders. The Crusaders sent a delegation to Egypt to manifest their "good intention".

While the Saljuks were engaged with the Crusades, the Fatimids were engaged in expanding their dominion in Palestine over the Saljuk's State till their borders reached Al-Kalb River north of the Jordan River in the east!

Treacheries and betrayals of the States of the cities, which were so eager to gain the Crusaders' friendship during their expansion, were manifested. This happened when the ruler of the Sheezar region contacted the Crusaders and agreed not to encounter them and to provide them with what they needed, such as food and rations. He even sent two guides with them to help them find the right routes. The city of Homos also gave them gifts. The city of Mosyaf concluded a treaty with them. Tripoli paid to them taxes and provided them with guides. Beirut paid them money and proposed to be subjugated to them in case they managed to seize Jerusalem.

Raymond of Toulouse (Prince of Province and Toulouse in France) continued to lead the rest of the Crusaders' march to Jerusalem. Their number was only 1,000 knights and 5,000 infantry. In the springtime of the year 1099 CE, they entered Palestine. They passed by Acre, whose ruler provided the Crusaders with supplies, then by Qeisarya and Arsouf. After that, they captured Al-Ramleh, Lod and Bethlehem. On 7 September 1099 CE, the besiege of Jerusalem started. Iftikhar Al-Dawalah, who was appointed by the Fatimids, ruled it. The city was captured on 15 July 1099 (23 Sha'aban 492 H). The Crusaders continued killing the Muslims for one week. They killed more than 70,000 inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, including many groups of Muslim chiefs, scholars and worshippers. Both the Fatimid and the Abbasid States did not do anything to help but rather kept silent regarding these events. Jerusalem was ruled by the leader of the Crusades, Godfry of Bouillon, who was called humbly the "Jerusalem defender". Nablus and Hebron surrendered to the Crusaders..

It is narrated that only 300 knights and 2,000 infantry of the Crusaders remained for this reason, they could not expand their dominion over more territories because most of them returned home after Jerusalem was conquered. Therefore, the kingdoms of the Crusaders became like islands surrounded by enemies. Nevertheless, these kingdoms continued to survive for 200 years where after the last one perished because of lack of supplies and expeditions. The Muslims were weak because they split into groups, making their numbers very small. They did not take advantage of the opportunity to overcome the Crusaders during their periods of spreading out over large areas in limited numbers. The Muslims lagged till ot was too late. The Crusaders became strong during the Muslim period of weakness and it was no longer an easy task to drive the Crusaders out.

The Crusaders continued to capture more cities in Palestine. Jaffa was captured during the besieging of Jerusalem by Genoan ships (in the Mediterranean Sea) on 15 September 1099 CE. They also captured the eastern area of Lake Tiberias (Al-Sawad area) in May of 1100 CE. The Crusaders also captured Haifa by force during the month of Shawwal 94 H (August 1100 CE) with the help of a great fleet from Venice. They dominated over Arsouq peacefully and drove its inhabitants out. They captured Qeisarya by force on 17 May 1109 CE. They killed its inhabitants and robbed their property on 17 May 1101 CE. Thus, the Crusaders imposed their dominion over Palestine except Ashkelon owing to the Egyptians (the Fatimid) supplying it with ammunition, men and funds every year. Although the Crusaders used to besiege Ashkelon every year, they failed to capture it until the year 1153 CE (548 H). In that year, Ashkelon's inhabitants managed to drive the Crusaders back. But, when they got desperate and were about to retreat, they received tidings that Ashkelon's people were in dispute. So, the Crusaders waited with patience. The reason for the dispute between the parties of Ashkelon was because of a power struggle; each party alleged that they alone achieved the victory. However, the dispute increased in size till one person from one of the two parties was killed. This led to a much worse situation and, consequently, war broke out between them and many of them were killed. The Crusaders were hoping for this window of opportunity and shortly thereafter, they advanced to Ashkelon and easily occupied it.

Although the Crusaders were small in number, they managed to maintain great control by building fortified castles that were built like islands in many areas in Sham. And as the struggle continued between the Muslims themselves, some of them resorted to getting help from the Crusaders to overpower their foes. The Muslims at large were weaker, and the Crusaders became more powerful and dominant, to such a degree that they played the role of a guardian policing the region.

The struggle between Baktash and Tagatken over Damascus continued, and Baktash sought help from the king of the Crusaders in 498 H and from all those "who wanted corruption." However, the king's only help was to push Baktash for further corruption, which ultimately led to his downfall and the triumph of Tagatken. At the battle between the Fatimids and the Crusaders in 498 H, in an area between Ashkelon and Jaffa, the Fatimids were supported by a force of more than 300 knights from Damascus, and the Crusaders were helped by a group of Muslims led by Baktash Bin Tatash. When the Sultan's army, under the leadership of Barsaq Bin Barsaq, came from Iraq in 509 H to Damascus for the sake of fighting the Crusaders, the rulers of Halab and Damascus feared for their own interests and power. They collaborated, under the leadership of Tagatken, with the Antakya Crusader troops to oppose the Sultan's army. Tagatken fought the Crusaders of Bayt Al-Maqdis and won back the city of Rafnya after the Crusaders captured it.

Generally, however, the Muslim struggle (Jihad) against the Crusaders continued, though it actually lacked a strategic plan or organization. Some of the other reasons for the continuation of the struggle include the fact that there were many Muslim leaders, who appeared and disappeared frequently, which led to a lack of stable leadership. Also, the conflict with the Crusaders was distributed on many fronts simultaneously in Belad El-Sham. Furthermore, Muslims did not have a powerful centre that could be used as a launching base for their assaults on the Crusaders. More often than not, the battles were mainly in the form of a single Muslim city or castle trying to defend itself, or expand, against the Crusaders.

The wars continued between the Muslims and the Crusaders. Sometimes the Muslims triumphed, and in other times the Crusaders achieved the victory. It was not difficult for Muslims to get into the middle of Palestine and fight the Crusaders at Ramleh or Jaffa, for instance, but the Crusaders continued to have great control over the areas they occupied.

As a result, many new Muslim leaders appeared, but they were not strong enough to unite the Muslim forces for the fight against the Crusaders. Nonetheless, these leaders kept the spirit of resisting the Crusaders alive, and they inflicted them with many casualties and damages. They deprived the Crusaders from the security they were after, and managed to kill and capture many of their prominent leaders. For example, when Mu'een Al-Dawlah Saqman was fighting a war with Shams Al-Dawlah Jakramesh, and Harran was surrounded by the Crusader forces in 497 H, they started to contact each other and pledged a solemn oath for sacrificing themselves for the sake of God and His retribution. They gathered near Al-Khabour area in an army composed of more than 10,000 men from various nationalities, among who were Turks, Arabs and Kurds. They met with the Crusaders at Al-Bleekh River and defeated them. The Muslims captured the Crusader leader Burdawel and traded him for 35 dinars. They were also able to reclaim 160 Muslim prisoners of war that had previously been captured by the Crusaders. In this battle, however, more than 12,000 Crusader soldiers were killed.

'Imad ud-Din Zanki carries Al-Jihad banner

The long era of Al-Jihad against the Crusaders entered a new phase with the appearance of 'Imad ud-Din Zanki Bin Aqsnaqr, who founded the Zanki State at Mousel and Halab. Zanki was appointed as a ruler of Mousel in 521 H after he had shown great skill and efficiency in ruling the States of Basra and Waset in Iraq. During the holy month of Muharram in the year 522 H, he managed to gain control over Halab. Zanki started to fight the Crusaders, and he defeated them in many battles.

Zanki's efforts for uniting the Muslims against the Crusaders were relentless. He recaptured the cities of Hama, Hams, Ba'albek, Sarji, Dara, Ma'rra, Kafr Taleb, Al-Akrad, Shahrazour, Al-Hadeetha and many other cities, as well as Al-Soor castle in the Abu Bakr area, Al-Hameediya castle, Ba'reen's castle and Al-Ashhab's castle from the Hakarian Kurds.

In the year 534 H, Zanki tried to capture Damascus twice, but his effort was in vain. Damascus was really the key to getting Palestine back. Unfortunately, Mu'een El-Deen Anz, the ruler at the time, contacted the Crusaders and made an alliance with them against Zanki and promised them the city of Banias and they agreed. But Zanki went after them before they came to Damascus and they decided to back off. Nonetheless, Mu'een El-Deen kept his promise of giving up Banias, not to the Crusaders, but to the Muslims!
The most famous triumph ever made by Zanki, however, is his conquering the city of Al-Raha, and his destroying the kingdom of the Crusaders that was established there. He besieged the city for four weeks, and opened it perforce on the sixth of Jamadi Al Akhera in the year 539 H. He also captured all the cities that were under the province of the previous kingdom in the Peninsula. He also liberated the city of Surooj, and all the cities that were captured by the Crusaders adjacent to the east side of the Euphrates, except the city of Beerah.

After a life of Jihad that lasted for 20 years, Imad El-Deen Zanki was martyred in the middle of September in the year 1146 CE (5 Rabee' Al-Awwal 541 H). This was accomplished by an act of treason by some of his followers while he was besieging Ja'beer's castle at the age of 60 or so. According to Ibn El-Katheer, Zanki was an able politician and was highly respected and esteemed by his military and civil subordinates. Before he came to power, the country was a wasteland full of corruption and alliances with the Crusaders by the previous rulers. When he came into power, all of that was changed, and he set the country right and brought its prosperity back to it. "Zanki was the best of kings in form and manners. He was courageous and powerful and managed to take control over all the other kings at the time. He was very kind with women, and very generous with all his subordinates." After his untimely death, Zanki was later known as the Martyr.

Zanki worked in the most difficult circumstances of conflict between the rulers and princes of the Salajiqa dynasty on the one hand, and between them and the Abbasid dynasty on the other. In addition to that, he suffered from the atmosphere imposed by the inheritance ruling traditions and the greed of princes and rulers to obtain any city or a castle that they could reach. Moreover, the Crusaders were very powerful and strong during his time. Despite that, he managed to substantiate a firm base of Jihad against the Crusaders to the north of Irand Syria. He also defeated the Crusaders and humiliated them more than once. Zanki made it possible to fight for regaining the lost land, and he was a model leader under the banner of Islam who brought back the hope of liberating the occupied holy grounds of the Muslims all over the world.

After he passed away, his State was divided between his two sons according to the inheritance tradition; Noor ud-Din Mahmoud took the State of Halab and its subordinates, and Sayf El-Deen Ghazi took the State of Mousel and its subordinates.

Noor ud-Din Mahmoud was born 20 years after the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Crusaders on 17 Shawwal in 511 H (February 1118 CE). He was tall, good-looking with dark complexion and a light beard. He married the daughter of Mu'een El-Deen Anz in the year 541 H and had a girl and two sons.

Under his rule, a new great phase for Jihad started in Belad El-Sham. During his reign, which lasted for 28 years, Nour ud-Din Mahmoud had one goal...uniting Muslims and liberating their occupied lands.
He left no stone unturned for the sake of uniting Muslims and elevating them in all the aspects of life within an integrated Islamic pattern to regain the Islamic glory and expel the unjust occupation of the Crusaders.
To accomplish this purpose, Noor ud-Din Mahmoud initiated an Islamic renaissance that stressed the need for the Islamic solution. Ibn Katheer describes him, saying, "Of all the kings I read about in pre-Islamic periods, and in the Islamic period as well, I never saw a king more just and kind to his subordinates among the Rashideen caliphs and Umar Bin Abdul Aziz than Nour ud-Din Mahmoud. He was very clever and witty, and was well aware of his time." He never valued men for their social status and wealth. He only esteemed those who were honest and hard working.

He was also known for his piety and love of Allah. He was very keen to perform all the prayers and celebrate the ceremonies of Islam. He performed the Isha' prayer (the evening prayer), and then after midnight would awake to start praying till it was time for the dawn prayer. He also fasted a lot.
He was known for his sound erudite knowledge. He was well versed with the Hanafiah tenet and was given license to relate the Prophet's talks and speeches. He wrote a book on the concept of Jihad. He was a sedate person and was bestowed with a great deal of charisma. "He was fearful though lenient and merciful. And in his court there was only science and religion and consulting on Jihad. In all his life he never uttered a bad word in anger or pleasure. He was a grave, silent man."

He was disinterested and modest "to such a degree that his expenses were not different from the poorest and neediest of his subordinates." When his wife complained from the hardships of the difficult life he put her in, he gave her three shops he owned in Hams city and told her, "That is all that I have. And do not expect me to lay a finger on the money of the Muslims I am entrusted with because I fear the wrath of Allah."

The great Sheik Al-Naysabouri told him once: "I beg you, do not jeopardize yourself and Islam. If you were killed in a battle, the Muslims will all be killed."

The continuation of Jihad against the Crusaders

The Crusaders whose cities and castles were conquered gathered in the city of Sour. Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi was very lenient with them and allowed them to go to that city freely. So they started to send calls for help and received back up and support till they were strong again. Furthermore, Salahuddin Al-Ayoubi set free the king Jae in the year 584 H on the condition that he should go to France. Rather, Jae headed to Sour and took the leadership of the Crusaders with the help of the fleet of Biza the Italian. On that occasion, Ibn Katheer says, "It was all done because of the mistake by Salahuddin to let all those he captured go free. Thereafter, he was full of remorse for what he had done."

The Crusaders attacked the city of Akka from Sour in the year 585 H (1189 CE), and they waited there till they got the support they needed from the third campaign of the Crusaders, which was called upon by Pope Urban the Second to regain Jerusalem. Three European kings led the campaign - the Emperor of Germany Fredrick Barbarosa, whose most men died on the trip, Richard "the Lionhearted" king of England, who came by sea, and Philip Augustus, the king of France. King Richard was a remarkable man. He "had the evil of the Crusaders and their hatred for Muslims. He was courageous, smart and patient. He was a great source of trouble for Muslims." These three forces besieged the city of Akka (on Rabee' Ath-Thaani / Jumaada Al-Oolaa 587 H [September 1191 CE]), and it fell into their hands on 17 Jumadaa Al-Oolaa 587 (12 July 1191 CE). With this occupation, the Crusaders managed to create a base for themselves in Palestine again. The Muslims hit back, and there were many battles between both sides. However, the Crusaders continued their march and expanded their territories on the south coast by occupying the cities of Haifa and Jaffa.

It is important to note that the struggle was a bitter and bloody one between the two sides. Ibn Katheer noted that Salahuddin defended Akka very bravely, and he and his forces fought for it for 37 months and killed more than 50,000 soldiers from the Crusaders. The third campaign of the Crusaders ended when Salahuddin made the Ramleh treaty with Richard the Lionhearted on 21 Sha'aban 588 H (1 September 1192 CE). The treaty was held for three years and three months, during which time the Crusaders took control of the coast from Jaffa to Akka and were allowed to visit Jerusalem and to carry out their commercial activities with either of the two sides. It is of extreme importance to elaborate here on some of the clauses of the treaty, which, unfortunately, some of those defeatists who live among us now take against Salahuddin as a man who wasted the rights of Islam and Muslims and turned to making up with the Jews:

1. Salahuddin was not in favour of the treaty. When he gathered the consulting princes to discuss the issue, his opinion was to refuse the treaty. According to Al-Imad Al-Asfahani, Salahuddin said, "Thanks to Allah we are great in force, and our victory is approaching. We are used to Jihad, so it is difficult for us to live without it, and we have nothing to do more than fighting the Crusaders. I see that I should leave everything regarding the treaty behind. We should opt for Jihad instead, and Allah is with us, and upon His Grace and Care we depend." However, his counselors agreed to the treaty on the pretext that the country was about to be totally destroyed; the soldiers were very tired and fatigued, and food supplies were scarce. If there were no treaty, the Crusaders would insist on fighting, which would be very bad for the Muslims. If there was a treaty, the country would take a rest and restore its prosperity, and the soldiers would rest as well and be able to prepare for retaliation. They all agreed that the Crusaders were not of the kind that abide by their word of promise, so they advised Salahuddin to make the treaty so that the forces of the Crusaders would dismantle and divert. They kept pushing and pressuring him till he finally agreed to the treaty.

2. This treaty was a short, temporary truce. It was not intended to last as a permanent solution. The Islamic shariah (the Muslim code of religious law) authorizes the making of temporary truces with the enemy for the general good of the Muslims. The history of Islam is full of such treaties. However, the battles continued immediately after the treaty.

3. This treaty did not contain any admittance on the part of the Muslims for the Crusaders to have any legal right in Palestine. The treaty simply stated that there should be no fighting over the lands they had occupied for a certain period of time. What a great difference there is between this treaty, of which Muslims had made many over their history, and the peace agreement made now with the Zionist entity in our contemporary time. Salahuddin died shortly afterward, may Allah rest his soul, on 27 Safar 589 H (4 March 1193 CE), i.e., only six months after the treaty.


The Ayoubis and their struggle with the Crusaders

After his death, Salahuddin's successors were fiercely fighting each other, a thing that weakened the Muslims and strengthened the kingdom of the Crusaders in Akka, which was expanding at the expense of the Muslims. The love of power and pleasure, even at the expense of principles and values, was the basic characteristic of some of the Sultans of the Ayoubi State. They made alliances more than once with the Crusaders to help them against their rivals. Sometimes they even offered Jerusalem city to the Crusaders in exchange for help against the Sultan of Sham or Egypt and vice versa! The Crusaders were very happy with the role they played, but their greed was centred on everyone and everything. But their spring did not last very long.

The fourth campaign sent by the Crusaders to the west in 601 H (1204 CE) ended in Constantinople and did not reach as far as Sham or Egypt. As to the fifth campaign, it was launched from Akka under the leadership of its own king, Johanna Bareen, to the city of Demiat in Egypt between 615-618 H (1218-1221 CE). When the Ayoubian Sultan Al-Kamel Mohammed Bin Mohammed Bin Ayoub realized the gravity of the situation, he offered peace to the Crusaders in exchange for the surrender of Jerusalem and most of Salah El-Deen's liberated cities. They refused and asked for the southeast of Jordan, too, i.e. the cities of Karak and Shoubak. As a result, the great king Issa Bin Ahmed Bin Ayoub, the ruler of Damascus, ruined and sabotaged the walls of Jerusalem in 616 H (1219 CE) so that they could be of no use to the Crusaders should they invade the Holy City. But the Ayoubis finally gathered their forces and managed to defeat the Crusaders, who returned, humiliated, to Akka after they had missed a great opportunity.

The discord between Al-Kamel Mohammed and the great Issa led to the former going to seek help from Fredrik the Second, the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, who became regent on the throne of the kingdom of the Crusaders in Akka. Al-Kamel promised the emperor the city of Jerusalem if he helped him against his brother the great Issa. Fredrik the Second led the sixth campaign of the Crusaders and reached Akka in the year 625 H (1228 CE). Even though the great Issa died and his brothers Al-Kamel and Al-Ashraf took his State and gave his son Al-Nassir Dawoud the cities of Karak, Balqa, Agwar, Salt and Shoubak, and Al-Kamel was not in need for Fredrik the Second any more, he gave him Jerusalem just to fulfill the promise he made to him! Fredrik, at the time, did not have the power to force Muslims to surrender Jerusalem. He even begged, at certain stages of his negotiation with Al-Kamel, for it. Fredrik was quoted as saying to Al-Kamel, "I am your subordinate and faithful slave. If your Highness granted me the honour to take the country, it would be a great gift that would make me proud of myself amongst all the kings of the sea." Al-Kamel responded, and made the Jaffa treaty with Fredrik in 626 H (18 February 1229 CE). The treaty was meant to last for 10 years. It stated that the Crusaders would take the Holy City of Jerusalem, Bayt Laham, Tabneen, Honeen, Sayda and a strip of Jerusalem land that went through Al-Lad and ended at Jaffa, in addition to the cities of Nassira and the west of Al-Jaleel. The treaty also stated that the holy shrine of Al-Sakhra dome and its mosque should be left to the Muslims.

Thereafter, Jerusalem was returned to the control of the Crusaders. "The Muslim people were very saddened by the loss of Jerusalem; they were crying and performing obsequies everywhere. The scholars and preachers repeatedly said that this incident was a shame on the Muslim kings, and the people of Damascus started to hate Al-Kamel and resent him for what he did." And Ibn Katheer is quoted as saying, "It was a great shock for Muslims, and the whole nation was weakened and self disappointed (131)."

The struggle between the successors of Salahuddin continued. Al Nassir Dawoud, the monarch of Jordan, seized the opportunity of the termination of the Jaffa treaty and the fortification of Jerusalem by the Crusaders. In violation of the stipulations of the treaty, he took back Jerusalem and expelled the Crusaders from it on 6 Jamadi El Aoula 637 H (7 December 1239 CE). However, Al-Salah Isma'il, the monarch of Damascus, gave it back to the Crusaders in the year 638 H (1240 CE)! He did it in exchange for their help to him against the ruler of Egypt, Al Salah Najm El-Deen Ayoub. Not only that, but he also gave them the cities of Ashkelon, Sayda, Tabarriyya and the rest of the coastal cities, as well as Alshaqeef castle, Al-Mojeb river, Safad castle and Amel mountain. This behaviour increased the resentment and malcontent of the Muslims, "who were very angry at Al-Saleh Isma'il." Once again, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Crusaders.

When Al-Salah Isma'il mobilized his forces to join the Crusaders against Al-Salah Ayoub in Gaza, most of his soldiers refused to join the Crusaders against their fellow Muslims. Instead, they took the side of the Egyptian soldiers and defeated the Crusaders bitterly. But Al-Salah Ayoub made another treaty with the Crusaders in 638 H (1240 CE), and they regained their control over Jerusalem and the other territories under their rule.

Again, the Ayoubis started to fight amongst themselves for power, and Jerusalem was the prize, manipulated to achieve their greed for power and control. Al-Salah Isma'il once again offered the Crusaders an alliance in Akka in exchange for permanent control over Jerusalem and the holy places, including the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Nassir Dawoud joined him with this proposal. Meanwhile, Al Salah Najm El-Deen Ayoub, the monarch of Egypt, offered the Crusaders the same thing.

The Crusaders chose Al-Salah Isma'il for the alliance. He invaded Egypt with the assistance of Al-Nassir Dawoud, and Al-Mansour Ibrahim, the king of Hams. On the other hand, Najm El-Deen sought help from the Khawarezmia, who came to him with an army comprised of more than 10,000 soldiers, and occupied Tabbarriya and Nablus. These forces entered Jerusalem on 17 July 642 H (1244 CE) and restored the city entirely to the Muslims. With that, Jerusalem was finally under control by the Muslims. They kept its Islamic identity until 10 December 1917 CE, when the English occupied it.
Then the Khawarezmia helped Al-Salah Ayoub against Al-Salah Isma'il and his allies, and the second Gaza battle took place (near the city of Gaza in a place called Herbia) in 642 H (1244 CE). Al-Salah Isma'il and the Crusaders were severely defeated, and the casualties of the Crusaders were estimated to be more than 30,000 soldiers and more than 800 prisoners were taken to Egypt. This battle was the strongest blow to the Crusaders after the battle of Hitteen and is considered one of the most crucial battles in the history of Palestine because the Crusaders never were able to regain their strength even though they tried to keep what they already had.

Then Al-Salah Ayoub took control over the cities Jerusalem, Hebron, Bayt Jabreen, Al-Agwar and Damascus in the year 642 H (1245 CE). He punished the Crusaders and occupied Tabbarriya castle and Ashkelon. Because of this, the kingdom of the Crusaders was limited to the gates of Jaffa in the year 644 H (1247 CE). Egypt was later attacked by the seventh campaign by the Crusaders, headed by Louise the Ninth, the king of France, in the year 646 H (1249 CE). The campaign failed, and the king was taken prisoner and later was set free to go to Akka. One year later the Ayoubi dynasty was terminated in Egypt, and the Mamaleek dynasty took over in the year 647 H (1250 CE). Thereafter, a new phase of Jihad against the Mongolians and the Crusaders began.


Al-Mamaleek and their confrontation with the Tartars

In the seventh expatriation century, the thirteenth century, the Mongolian (TTartar threat to the Islamic State started to emerge. The Mongolian tribes were all united under the lleadership ofGhengis Khan and started a huge campaign of expansion. They controlled Manchuria, China and Korea, and they destroyed the army of the Khawarezmia Muslim State in 1221 CE. The Khawarezmia army was the strongest hurdle against the Mongolian expansion to the Islamic world, which had previously triumphed over the Mongolians more than once.
Ghengis Khan died in the year 624 H (1227 CE), but the Mongolians continued their march and entered Middle Asia and Russia and controlled Moscow and the Ukraine. They attacked Poland and defeated the German and Scandinavian armies and went deeply into Europe. They also headed to the Islamic world and took Turkestan, Afghanistan, India and Persia.

The Mongolians were very ruthless and merciless with the countries they occupied. The whole world was afraid of their savagery and barbarism. They were winning the battles not only by their force and efficiency, but also by the psychological fear they inflicted in the minds of their opponents. The Mongolians invested the thunderbolt tactics in their wars, which were dependent upon swift movement. They also depended on the psychological war tactics by letting their opponents know about their horrible austerities before they even met them.

The Muslim State at the time was suffering from disjunction and weakness, so it was easy for the Mongolians to sweep entire Islamic armies and take over their kingdoms. The Muslim leaders were so weak then that one of them sent a pair of slippers on which his face was drawn so that the feet of Holako could honour him if he wore the slippers!

Thereafter, the Mongolians took Iraq. They besieged Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid dynasty, which was suffering from great weakness, the cause of which was the conspiracy of the minister Ibn Al-Alqami with the Mongolians to topple the Caliph. In addition, he demobilized the majority of the official army, which was once composed of more than 100,000 soldiers; it was reduced to only 10,000. Baghdad fell at the hands of the Mongolians in the year of 656 H (1258 CE). For 40 days, the Mongolians massacred the people of Baghdad. Ibn Katheer states that there were more than 800,000 dead and some say as many as 2,000,000. It is said that the Caliph Al-Mu'tassem Bi'llah was put in a bag and killed by kicking.

The Mongolians invaded the rest of the cities and took over Harran, Al Raha and Deyar Bakr, then they crossed the Euphrates and took Halab in the year 658 H (1260 CE). The Ayoubi rulers in Sham were very coward and defeatists; Al-Nassir Yousef Al-Ayoubi, the ruler of Halab, announced his submission to the Mongolians who, despite that, entered Halab and massacred the citizens to the degree that there were streams of Muslim blood throughout the city. Al-Mansour Bin Al-Modhaffar, the ruler of Hama, took his sons and women and escaped to Egypt, leaving Hama and its people behind him to meet there doomed fate. Al-Nassir Yousef went from Damascus to Gaza so that he could go to Egypt. He deserted Damascus and its people. Thus the Ayoubi dynasty was terminated in Belad El-Sham very quickly.

The Mongolians reached Damascus and took it without force in the year 1260 CE, and then betrayed its people. During the spring, they occupied Nablus and Karak and headed to Gaza without facing any resistance whatsoever. Thus, Palestine was divided between the kingdom of Akka ruled by the Crusaders and the Tartarian Mongolians. Palestine was once more under the onus of the blasphemers.


The Crusaders and the Tartars

Europe was very happy with the Mongolian invasion of the Islamic State and tried to coordinate with them against their common enemy. They also tried to spread Christianity amongst the Tartarians themselves. They partially succeeded at first, for it was known that the Mongolian leader Holako had an inclination towards the Nastorian Christians, and his court was full of many of them. His wife was a Christian, too. She played a major role, of which the Church was very proud, in diverting the Mongolian march from Europe. Instead, the march was directed at the Islamic State. Moreover, the Mongolian leader of the Ayn Jalout battle, Katbaga, was a Christian. The Christian influence was so great on the Mongolians that one priest described the Tartarian invasion as "a Crusader campaign in the full sense of the word--a full Nastorian Christianity." The West even hoped that Holako and his leader Katbaga would eliminate the Muslims entirely. Hatoon the First, the king of Armenia, and Bohemond the Sixth, the prince of Tripoli, along with the Crusader princes in Sour, Akka and Cyprus, made an alliance with the Mongolians that stressed the elimination of Muslims in Asia and the return of Jerusalem to the Crusaders.

At that time, Egypt, under the Mamaleek dynasty, was ruled by the Sultan Al-Modhaffar Qutz in 657 H (1259 CE). He was a leader known for his piety and love of Allah and Islam. He was the student of the greatest scholar at the time, Al-Aziz Bin Abdul Salaam. Ibn Katheer said that Qutz was "a courageous hero who loved doing the good and following Islam; people loved him very much and kept making invocations for him."

After a few months of his ascension to power, he faced the problem of the Tartarian invasion and received a threatening letter from Holako, before he left Syria, telling him to surrender Egypt. The letter read, "Look what we have done with the others and take a lesson from them; surrender, because we show no mercy to begging or crying. Where do you think you could escape from us? Who can protect you from our swords? Neither your forts nor men nor invocation can save you from us."

But Qutz, the Muslim leader who only feared Allah, knew that victory comes from Allah, and if he prepared well for the battle and made everything connected to Allah, victory would be achieved. He decided to announce the holy Jihad and to confront the Crusader invasion. After reading the letter, he gave orders to kill the messengers and divide them into two halves, and their heads were to be hung over one of the gates of Cairo (The Gate of Zuweela), as a sign of an unflinching determination to fight and challenge the Tartarian invasion.

Furthermore, Qutz decided to seize the initiative and attack the Tartarian forces to boost the morale of the Muslims and to emphasize the spirit of Jihad that fosters the concept of martyrdom for the sake of Allah. Further, he would be defending the Muslim land of Egypt and would liberate the occupied Muslim land in Belad El-Sham, including Palestine and the holy Al Aqsa Mosque. This would send the Tartarians a message that he was a new kind of man they had never encountered before, because the best way to defend is to attack.

In the holy month of Ramadhan in the year 658 H (1260 CE), the Muslim army, under the leadership of Qutz, crossed the borders and liberated Gaza, where he stayed for one day. Then they headed north to meet the Tartarian forces. The two armies met at the Ayn Jalout area to the northeast of Palestine.

Ayn Jalout Battle

Ayn Jalout witnessed one of the most crucial battles in history on Friday, 25 Ramadhan 658 H (6 September 1260 CE). The Tartars had the logistic and scientific potential to win the fight against the Muslim army. Their advantages included:
· Efficiency and experience gained from the great number of wars they witnessed.
· High morale because they were never defeated.
· They had a large number of fighters and more weaponry.
· The efficiency of their cavalry who knew many advanced fighting techniques such as the thunderbolt method, which was a distinctive feature of the Tartarians.
· They were able to manage well because they were close to the bases of their supplies and support.
· The strategic locations of their army were better than those of the Muslim army.

Despite the overwhelming superiority of the Tartarian army, the Muslim army scored a momentous, exceptional victory. The Qutz army was characterized by the fact that it was an "Islamic" army aimed at consolidating Islam and protecting its Holy Land. The great scholars and religious men of Egypt joined this army making it was a sacred army constructed and built for the sole purpose of prioritizing the word of Allah and supporting its religion, Islam, in the land. Moreover, the army was further characterized by having a faithful leadership who cherished a true "will to fight", the crucial factor in winning any battle.

Qutz told his army to wait until they finished the Friday prayers: "Do not fight them till it is sunset and the shadows appear and the winds stir, and the preachers and people start to implore Allah for us in their prayers", and thereafter the fighting began.
Jullanar, the wife of Qutz, was killed during the battle. He rushed towards her saying, "Oh my beloved one". She told him while uttering her last breath, "Do not say that, and care more for Islam." Her soul ascended to Allah after telling her husband that the Jihad for the sake of Allah and Islam is more important than love and personal relations. Qutz stood up saying "Islamah…Islamah". The whole army repeated that word after him until they achieved their victory.

During the battle, the horse of Qutz was also killed, and he stepped down and started to fight on the ground till they brought him another horse. He refused taking the horse of the other princes who volunteered their horses to him saying that he did not want to impede them from their holy duty, rescuing himself instead. He was asked why he did not ride on a horse and why he jeopardized himself and Islam. He answered, "If I was killed, I would have gone to Heaven, and as to Islam, Almighty Allah is well capable of protecting it." After the battle was over and the victory was achieved for the Muslims, Qutz stepped down from his horse and smeared his face with the dust of the battleground and kneeled to Allah in thankfulness and gratitude.

The Muslims immediately started to chase the Mongolians, and Qutz entered Damascus five days after Ayn Jalout battle. The chase continued to Halab, and when the Mongolians felt the approach of the Muslims, they left behind the Muslim prisoners, and suffered a great deal. In one month's time, the Muslims were able to restore Belad El-Sham entirely from the hands of the Tartars and the Mongolians.

This battle is considered to be one of the greatest battles in history in which the Mongolian invasion was put to an end. It was the beginning of the end of the Mongolians, who were forced to retreat. This liberated Belad El-Sham from their occupation. As for the Mongolians who stayed in the Muslim State, they embraced Islam in great numbers and that was another victory for the religion of Allah.

Al-Mamaleek and their elimination of the Crusaders

Although the Tartarian Mongolians were expelled from Palestine and the Muslims crushed them at Ayn Jalout, the kingdom of the Crusaders in Akka kept its control over the coastal area that stretched from Jaffa to Akka. The Sultans of the Mamaleek dynasty took the responsibility of liberating the rest of Palestine till they managed to expel the last Crusader from the Holy Land 30 years after the Ayn Jalout battle.
Al-Dhaher Bebars succeeded the Sultan Qutz, whose reign lasted for about one year. Bebars played a major role in fighting the Crusaders in Belad El-Sham, for he was constantly assaulting their bases there. Sometimes he resorted to making treaties with them if he felt there was a need. The custom was that the treaty should last for 10 years and 10 months and 10 days and 10 hours. After finishing with the internal problems in his State, he turned to fight the Crusaders. In the year 662 H (1263 CE), he went to Palestine. When he arrived at Akka, the Crusaders came to ask him for renewing the treaty saying that they would release the Muslim prisoners and keep the promises they made. But Bebars did not consider their demands and went on to attack their various bases, especially Akka, so that he would know their level of strength and exhaust their resources and strike them at the right time and place.

He once again headed to Palestine in the year 664 H (1265 CE) and took control over Qaysarryat El-Mahsana and destroyed its walls. A part of his army attacked Akka and Haifa. He conquered Arsouf in the same year.

The next year, he went to Palestine again and besieged the city of Safad and conquered it. He then came back to Palestine in the year 666 H (1267 CE), and the Crusaders asked him for a treaty. He used to follow the policy of divide-and-rule with the Crusaders so that their forces would not be united against him all at once. This policy helped him conquer the city of Antakya in the year 667 H (1268 CE). This is considered the greatest victory the Muslims ever achieved over the Crusaders since Salahuddin liberated Jerusalem in the year 583 H (1187 CE). Bebars agreed, after conquering Antakya, to make a treaty with Akka that lasted for 10 years on the condition that he should rule half of Akka, and he should control the heights surrounding Sayda.

The Sultan Al-Mansour Sayf El-Deen Qalawoun continued liberating Belad El-Sham from the Crusaders after Al-Dhaher Bebars died. At his time an alliance against the Muslims was formed among the Crusaders, the Tartarians and Sanqur Al-Ashqar, the deputy of Damascus, who turned on the Muslims. But their alliance failed and Qalawoun started to tighten his grip on the Crusaders and occupied Al-Marqab Fort in the year 684 H (1285 CE). He conquered Al-Ladeqyya in the year 686 H (1287 CE) and Tripoli in the year 688 H (1289 CE). Qalawoun took advantage of the unstable state of the Crusaders in Akka in particular and in Belad El-Sham in general because of the ongoing struggle over power. He was very strong and powerful and could eliminate the presence of the Crusaders in the eastern Arabic region. On the Shami coast, the Crusaders were in control of only Akka, Sour, Sayda and Etleet.
Qalawoun found that it was time for the total elimination of the Crusaders in Palestine. He used the incidence of the Crusaders attacking and killing some Muslim pilgrims as an excuse to announce Jihad against the Crusaders. He summoned his forces from Egypt and Sham. He stayed out of Cairo waiting for the arrival of the assistance forces, but he suddenly fell ill and died in the year 689 H (1290 CE). His son Ashraf Salahuddin Khaleel succeeded him. The Crusaders wanted to take advantage of the situation and offered Ashraf another treaty, but he refused and took his forces and besieged Akka and liberated it in the year 1291 CE. The king of Akka, Henry the Second, escaped to Cyprus. After conquering Akka, Ashraf took Sayda , Sour, Haifa and Etleet. He gave orders to destroy all the fortifications in those cities. Thus, the last base of the Crusaders was destroyed at the hands of Al-Mamaleek dynasty, and the existence of the Crusaders in Palestine and Sham was finally terminated after two centuries (492 - 690 H [1099-1291]). With this accomplishment, Palestine was back under Islamic rule again till the British forces occupied it.

Significant Dates in the History of Al Haram Al Sharif

636 CE: Jerusalem was conquered by Omar Bin Al Khattab, the second Rightly-guided Caliph, and he built his well-known mosque.
685 CE: The Umayyad Caliph Abdel Malek Bin Marwan began to build the Dome of the Rock.
691 CE: The building of the Dome of the Rock was completed.
693 CE: The Umayyad Caliph Abdel Malek Bin Marwan began to build Al Aqsa Mosque, which was completed by his son Al Waleed.
705 CE: Al Aqsa Mosque was completed.
15 July 1099: The Crusaders invaded Jerusalem and changed the Dome of the Rock to a church and Al Aqsa to a stable and they hoisted a cross over them.
2 October 1187: Saladin liberated the city and cleaned the dirt and filth off of Al Haram.
9 February 1924: The British General Allenby occupied the city and Al Haram was ruled by the British Mandate.
16 August 1929: The Revolution of Al Buraq broke out when the Palestinians defended the Wall against the Jews.
16 July 1948: The Israeli fighters raided Al Haram by dropping 65 bombs and hitting the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa.
7 September 1967: The Israeli forces occupied the city and Al Haram has been under the Israeli occupation ever since.
11 September 1967: The excavations were started under Al Haram Al Sharif.
15 August 1967: The chief rabbi of the Israeli army and his followers performed prayers in Al Haram Al Sharif.
21 August 1969: An Australian tourist by the name of Michael Rohan burned Al Aqsa urged by the extremist terrorist parties in the Israeli government.

Disturbing Yet Revealing Information That Every Muslim Should Know

Occupied Jerusalem: After having come back from his visit to the United States on 26 February 1997, the Israeli Premier Benyamin Netanyahu took a serious decision to build a new settlement on Abu Ghneim hill in Jerusalem, which action was described by the late King Hussein of Jordan as the last of its kind as told to him by the Israeli premier. This settlement is one in a continuing series of colonies built since the Israeli aggression began on 5 September 1967 and meant to encircle the city in an effort on their part to Judaize Jerusalem. Through this plan, Israel seeks to reinforce its capture of the city and isolate it from the other cities in order to impose new geographical and demographic facts to change the cultural and demographic features of the holy city.
The reinforcement of these procedures in the city must not make us forget the serious excavations under the Holy Mosque of Al-Aqsa, which came dangerously close to collapsing, especially with the continued Israeli attempts to rebuild their so-called third Temple (al-Haykal) on the ruins of Al-Aqsa. The following revealed hints and implications indicating this plan should not be forgotten:

The gift presented to the head of the Greek Church, Archbishop Maxim Soloum, on 29 December 1996, which was a silver statue of Jerusalem minus Al-Aqsa and replaced by the Temple.

Israeli TV broadcast a documentary showing that Al-Aqsa would soon collapse as the result of an earthquake which will strike the area within two years. Moreover, the excavations will help in this process, having already weakened its foundations, and because geologists have confirmed that the area is one of the most active for earthquakes to take place.

The publication of a new book in occupied Palestine entitled, The Daydreams, in which Israeli writers presented four hypotheses to destroy Al-Aqsa and rebuild their Temple.

Some extremist Israelis indicated that the birth of the Red Cow, as it was described in the Bible, in a colony near Haifa, was a Heavenly sign that the rebuilding of the third Temple in Jerusalem has come nearer. Although they consider it a miracle, they have to wait until the Cow becomes three years old, then they will start to build their Temple.

Sheikh Ra’ed Salah, the mayor of Um Al-Fahem, revealed that a Jewish attempt to enter Al-Marwani Mosque, located in the eastern basement of Al-Aqsa, was stopped through a gate in the south wall of Al-Aqsa in the last week of Ramadan.

In another escalation, the office of the premier allowed the Jews to pray in Al-Aqsa under the pretext that this has never been prohibited. In addition, this move was synchronized with the building of the new settlement on Abu Ghneim and the continued excavations under Al-Aqsa, which began with the Israeli occupation in 1967. In this context, a video prepared by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah and Najeh Bkeirat, the chief of the Islamic Heritage Committee, showed that several tunnels under Al-Aqsa were threatening to collapse its foundations. One of these tunnels starts in the southwest of Al-Aqsa along with the west wall, 4 metres away, at a height of 6-9 metres and a distance of 30 metres. It ends with small stones which have been recently built and could be removed easily.

Consequently, it will be quite easy to enter the heart of the holy mosque. The largest tunnel lies under the so-called Single Door (al-Mefred), while the other two tunnels lie under the Double Door. Both of them lead to the eastern basement under Al-Aqsa. Therefore, the excavations on the western and southern sides of Al-Aqsa and Bab Al-Rahma Cemetery have led to the following:

The removal of more than 100 tombs and shrines of the Prophet’s Companions and Followers in the cemetery located west of Al-Aqsa.
There were several cracks and collapses in the walls of Al-Aqsa, especially on the south wall, which the documentary tape revealed that the Jews were using it as a place to store their papers, including their hymns and carols, as part of their rituals. This means that they have started using it the same way they do the Wailing Wall (Al-Buraq), and they intend to change it into a place for their prayers as occurred with Al-Buraq wall previously.
Changing the features of the area around the Mosque, in addition to the intensive building boom, which could be considered as part of building the third Temple. Moreover, the Israeli Archeology Authority is building a rest house (a bar) near the windows of Al-Aqsa Holy Mosque, and this bar could be a place for lovers and displaying vices openly.


Jewish Scenarios to Destroy Al-Aqsa and Build the Temple

A book entitled, The Daydreams, has been recently published in Palestine in which the writers adopted four possible scenarios concerning the future of Al-Aqsa. The first scenario calls for the building of 10 columns representing the Ten Commandments near the west wall of Al-Aqsa and its height would reach the yard of the Dome of the Rock.

The second scenario is quite similar to the first in that it calls for rebuilding the third Temple vertically near the west wall of the Mosque so it will be higher than the Mosque itself and will be connected to the internal yard of Al-Aqsa.

The third adopts the notion of architectural transfer, which suggests digging a very deep spiral path around the Dome of the Rock which could be transferred outside the city in order to build the third Temple on its location.
Finally, the fourth scenario appeals for rebuilding the third Temple on the ruins of Al-Aqsa in general, and this scenario has a lot of future imaginary concepts.

We have mentioned in an article published in August of 1995 that there are seven various organizations preparing for the rebuilding of the third Temple. The first one has already prepared the geometric and architectural designs, the second has already prepared the special stones, the third has prepared the décor and interior designs, the fourth will prepare the special costumes to be worn in the Temple, and the fifth is collecting funds to finance the building. Meanwhile, Sheikh Ekremeh Sabri, one of the preachers of Al-Aqsa, mentioned in one of his orations on the second Friday of Ramadan that a Jewish organization had warned him that Al-Aqsa would soon be pulled down in order to build the third Temple.


The Declaration Concerning the Path Under Al-Aqsa

The Israeli daily paper, Yediot Ahrenout, revealed in its 21 March 1997 issue that the Israeli forces had carried out new excavations under Al-Aqsa in order to find a path which had been the main entrance for the Temple 2,000 years ago. The Israeli sources indicated that this ancient path was discovered accidentally one week before during the excavations carried out by the city municipality under Al-Buraq yard near the western and southern walls of Al-Aqsa under the pretext of working on sewage networks.

Consequently, the municipality stopped the excavations at a depth of 4 metres and called some experts from the archeology department whose general director Amir Dury claimed that the underground discovered path belonged to the era of the second Temple, and it was one of the main roads crossing Jerusalem north-south adjacent to the west wall of Al-Aqsa.


The Birth of a Red Cow is Celebrated as a Sign of Rebuilding the Temple

The extremist Jews received the birth of a red cow as a holy sign that the rebuilding of the third Temple is imminent. This was confirmed by a group of Jewish rabbis when a red cow was born six months ago in a kibbutz for the extremists near Haifa because the cow has the characteristics of the holy cow mentioned in the Bible. According to the Old Testament, the red cow without any spots is essential for the purity of the Jewish rituals and so this cow will be slaughtered and burned, then its ashes will be turned to liquid to be used in a religious ceremony which should take place before the rebuilding of the third Temple in the place of Al-Aqsa. The extremists claimed that no red cow has been born since the second Temple was destroyed by the Romans, so the birth of the red cow has been considered a miracle which will enable them to enter the holy shrine in Jerusalem. However, they have to wait until this cow becomes three years old, at which time they can start rebuilding the third Temple. Yahuda Atzion, a member of the gang which attempted to blow up the Dome of the Rock in 1985, said that they had been waiting for this miracle from God for 2,000 years but they have already been granted a red cow by God.


Permission for the Jews to Pray in Al-Aqsa

In a reply letter which was sent recently by Sham’oun Stien, the legal consultant of the Israeli premier, to Yesrael Medad, the chief of the Temple Mount Group, he wrote that as far as he knows the Jews have the right to pray in the Temple Mount, Al-Aqsa Mosque, and they have never been forbidden to do so. Consequently, he addressed the chief of the city police forces, Major-General Ya’eir Yetshaky, to allow the Jews to perform prayers and rituals quietly and peacefully with the full coordination with the police forces in Jerusalem, as reported by Haretz.


Did you know ? ... About Palestine?

1 - THAT, when the Palestine Problem was created by Britain in 1917, more than 90% of the population of Palestine were Arabs, and that there were at that time no more than 56,000 Jews in Palestine?

2 - THAT, more than half of the Jews living in Palestine at that time were recent immigrants, who had come to Palestine in the preceding decades in order to escape persecution in Europe?... And that less than 5% of the population of Palestine were native Palestinian Jews?

3 - THAT, the Arabs of Palestine at that time owned 97.5% of the land, while Jews (native Palestinians and recent immigrants together) owned only 2.5% of the land?

4 - THAT, during the thirty years of British occupation and rule, the Zionists were able to purchase only 3.5% of the land of Palestine, in spite of the encouragement of the British Government?... And that much of this land was transferred to Zionist bodies by the British Government directly, and was not sold by Arab owners?

5 - THAT, therefore, when British passed the Palestine Problem to the United Nations in 1947, Zionists owned no more than 6% of the total land area of Palestine?

6 - THAT, notwithstanding these facts, the General Assembly of the United Nations recommended that a "Jewish State" be established in Palestine?... And that the Assembly granted that proposed "State" about 54% of the total area of the country?

7 - THAT, Israel immediately occupied (and still occupies) 80.48% of the total land area of Palestine?

8 - THAT, this territorial expansion took place, for the most part, before 15 May 1948: i.e., before the formal end of the British forces from Palestine, before the entry of Arab armies to protect Palestinian Arabs, and before the Arab-Israeli war?

9 - THAT, the 1947 recommendation of the General Assembly in favor of the creation of a "Jewish State" was outside the competence of the Assembly under the Charter of the United Nations?

10 - THAT, all attempts by the Arab States and other Asian countries to have the Assembly submit “the question of constitutionality" of its recommendation to the International Court of Justice for an "advisory opinion" by the Court were rejected or ignored by the Assembly?

11 - THAT, when the Assembly began to experience "second thoughts" over the matter and convened for its second special session in 1948, it failed to reaffirm the 1947 recommendation for the partition of Palestine-thus destroying whatever dubious legality that recommendation for the establishment of a "Jewish State" had had?

12 - THAT, that original 1947 recommendation to create a "Jewish State" in Palestine was approved, at the first vote, only by European, American and Australian States...for every Asian State, and every African State (with the exception of the Union of South Africa) voted against it?...And that, when the vote was cast in plenary session on 29 November 1947, urgent American pressures (which a member of the Truman cabinet described as "bordering onto scandal") had succeeded in prevailing only upon one African country (Liberia), both of which had special vulnerability to American pressures, to abandon their declared opposition?...And that, in other words, the "Jewish State" was planted at the point-of-intersection of Asia and Africa without the free approval of any Middle Eastern, Asian or African country except that Union of South Africa, itself ruled by an alien minority?

13 - THAT, Israel remained, ever since its inception, a total stranger in the emerging world of Afro-Asia; and that Israel has been refused admission to any inter-state conference of Asian, African, Afro-Asian, or Non-Aligned States ever held?

14 - THAT, since the General Armistice Agreements were signed in 1949, Israel has maintained an aggressive policy of waging military attacks across the Armistice Demarcation Lines, repeatedly invading the territories of the neighboring Arab States...And that Israel has been duly rebuked, censured, or condemned for these military attacks by the Security Council of the General Assembly of the United Nations on eleven occasions-five times by the Security Council and six times by the General Assembly?

15 - THAT, no other country in the world, whether member of the United Nations or non-member, has been so frequently condemned by the United Nations?

16 - THAT, no Arab State has ever been condemned by any organ of the United Nations for military attacks upon Israel?

17 - THAT, besides expelling the bulk of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine, and besides constantly attacking the neighboring Arab States, Israel has also consistently harassed the United Nations observers and other personnel stationed along the Armistice Demarcation Lines: It has assassinated the first United Nations Mediator and his military aide; it has detained some truce observers; it has militarily occupied and illegally searched the Headquarters of United Nations personnel; and it has boycotted meetings of the Mixed Armistice Commissions?...

18 - THAT, Israel has additionally imposed a system of apartheid upon the Arabs who stayed in their homeland? More than 90% of these Arabs live in "security zones;" they alone live under martial law, restricting their freedom to travel from village to village or from town to town; their children are denied equal opportunities for education; and they are denied decent opportunities for work, and the right to receive "equal pay for equal work?"

19 - THAT, notwithstanding the foregoing facts, Israel has always been, and still is, widely portrayed in the Western press as the "bastion of democracy" and the "champion of peace" in the Middle East?

20 - THAT, the Western Powers have persisted in declaring their determination to ensure a so-called "arms balance" in the area, as between Israel, on the one hand, and the one-hundred million inhabitants of the thirteen Arab States, on the other hand?... And this unilateral Western doctrine of so-called "arms balance" is no more reasonable than the suggestion that, in the Cuba-U.S.A conflict, there should be "arms balance" as between Cuba and the United States... or that the whole Continent of Africa should not be allowed to acquire more arms than South Africa... or that Mainland China should not be permitted to have more arms than Taiwan... or that the military allowed to acquire more arms than South Africa... and that only thus can peace be safeguarded in the Western Hemisphere, in Africa, in Asia, or in Europe?...

21 – THAT, Israel allots 85% of the water resources in the occupied territories for Jews and the remaining 15% is divided among all Palestinians in the territories? For example in Hebron, 85% of the water is given to about 500 settlers, while 15% must be divided among Hebron's 120,000 Palestinians?

22 – THAT, The United States awards Israel $3 billion in aid each year, more than to any other country in the world: US aid to Israel exceeds the aid the US grants to the whole sub-Sahara Africa?

23 – THAT, GDP, per capita, and consumption per capita in the Occupied Territories have dropped about 15 percent in the West Bank and Gaza since 1993 - that's even with large foreign assistance pouring in, from Europe, mostly?

24 – THAT, Up until 1993, the U.S. and Israel permitted humanitarian aid to come into the territories. UN humanitarian aid was permitted into the West Bank and Gaza. In 1993, that was restricted?

25 – THAT, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?

26 – THAT, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections from its sites?

27 – THAT, Israel currently occupies territories of two sovereign nations (Lebanon and Syria) in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions?

28 – THAT, High-ranking military officers in the Israeli Defense Forces have admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war were executed by the IDF?

29 – THAT, Israel refuses to prosecute its soldiers who have acknowledged executing prisoners of war?

30 – THAT, Israel routinely confiscates bank accounts, businesses, and land from Palestinians and refuses to pay compensation to those who suffer the confiscation?

31 – THAT, Israel stands in defiance of 69 United Nations Security Council Resolutions?

32 – THAT, Israel's current prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was found by an Israeli court to be "personally responsible" for the Sabra and Shatilla massacres in Lebanon in which thousands of unarmed Palestinian refugees were slaughtered in 1982?

33 – THAT, Today's Israel sits on the former sites of more than 400 destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the Israelis renamed almost every physical site in the country to cover up the traces?

34 – THAT, Ariel Sharon's coalition government includes a party -- Molodet -- which advocates expelling all [of the over two million] Palestinians from [their homes in] the occupied territories?

35 – THAT, Israel's illegal settlement-building in the Occupied Palestinian territories more than doubled doubled in the eight years since the Oslo agreements?

36 – THAT, Illegal settlement building under Prime Minister Barak doubled compared to settlement building under Prime Minister Netanyahu?

37 – THAT, More illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories were built under Prime Minister Barak than at any other time in the history of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land?

38 – THAT, Despite a ban on torture by Israel's High Court of Justice, torture has continued by Shin Bet interrogators on Palestinian prisoners?

39 – THAT, Palestinian refugees make up the largest refugee population in the world?

40 – THAT, Israeli military checkpoints surround every Palestinian population center in violation of the Oslo Accords?

41 – THAT, The right of self-determination is guaranteed to every human being under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December, 1948), yet Palestinians were/are expected to negotiate for this right under the Oslo Accords?

42 – THAT, Palestinians have the highest ratio of PhDs per capita in the world?

 

Did you Know?.. Facts surrounding the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

1. Did you know that non-Jewish Israelis cannot buy or lease land in Israel? A Jew from any country in the world is guaranteed citizenship in Israel, while the Palestinians who have been there for centuries are oppressed and persecuted.

2. Did you know that instead of sewing an insignia on clothing to distinguish race, Palestinian license plates in Israel are color coded to distinguish Jews from non-Jews?

3. Did you know that East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights are all considered by the entire world community, including the United States and the United Nations, to be occupied territory and NOT part of the State of Israel?

4. Did you know that Israel allots 85% of the water resources for Jews,and the remaining 15% is divided among all Palestinians in the territories? For example in Hebron, 85% of the water is set aside for about 400 Jewish settlers, while the remaining 15% is distributed among Hebron's 120,000 Palestinians?

5. Did you know that the United States awards Israel $5 billion in aid each year from American tax dollars?

6. Did you know that US aid to Israel ($1.8 billion annually in military aid alone) exceeds the aid the US grants to the entire African continent?
This aid is used both to buy American weaponry and to buy arms made in Israel.

7. Did you know that Israel is awaiting an additional $4 billion worth of American military hardware, including new F-16s and Apache and Blackhawk helicopters. As Israel's main ally and supporter internationally, the United States is committed to maintaining the Jewish state's "qualitative edge" in weapons over its neighbors.

8. Did you know that the U.S. administration has notified Congress on numerous occasions that Israel has violated the rules on how US-supplied weapons are used? (In 1978, 1979 and 1982 during fighting in Lebanon, and once after Israel's bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.)

9. Did you know that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and bars international inspections from its sites?

10. Did you know that high-ranking military officers in the Israeli Defense Forces have admitted publicly that unarmed prisoners of war have been summarily executed by the Israeli forces?

11. Did you know that Israel blew up an American diplomatic facility in Egypt and attacked a US warship in international waters (the USS Liberty), killing 33 and wounding 177 American sailors and the US did nothing about it? (Imagine if an Islamic country did this!)

12. Did you know that Israel stands in defiance of 69 United Nations
Security Council Resolutions?

13. Did you know that Israel is explicitly dedicated to the policy of maintaining a distinct Jewish character?

14. Did you know that Israel's current Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was found by an Israeli court to be "personally and directly responsible" for the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in Lebanon where more than a thousand innocent Palestinian men, women, and children were axed to death or lined up and shot in cold blood?

15. Did you know that on May 20, 1990, a group of unarmed Palestinian laborers were lined up and murdered by an Israeli solider as they sat waiting for transportation back to Gaza? The terrified laborers who gathered in an area of southern Israel known as Rishon Lezion (known to Palestinians by its Arabic name Oyon Qara) handed their ID cards to the Israeli soldier.The soldiers ordered the distressed laborers to kneel down and face the ground and unexpectedly showered them with a barrage of bullets, killing seven and wounding many others. Needless to say, the soldier was not charged with any crime.

16. Did you know that until as recently as 1988, Israelis were permitted to run "Jews Only" job ads?

17. Did you know that the Israeli Foreign Ministry pays six US public relations firms to promote a "positive image" of Israel to the American public?

18. Did you know that Sharon's coalition government includes a party--Molodet--which advocates ethnic cleansing by openly calling for the forced expulsion of all Palestinians from the occupied territories?

19. Did you know that recently-declassified documents indicate that David Ben-Gurion approved of the forced expulsion of Arabs from all Palestininan territory in 1948?

20. Did you know that the former chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, who is also a founder and spiritual leader of the religious Shas party (Israel's third largest political party) openly advocates a 'Final Solution' to annihilate the Palestinians? Speaking at the widely broadcast sermon marking the last Passover, he declared of the Palestinians: "The Lord shall return their deeds on their own heads, waste their seed and exterminate them, devastate them and vanish them from this world. It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable."

21. Did you know that Palestinian refugees make up the largest portion of the refugee population in the world?

22. Did you know that Palestinian Christians are considered the "living stones" of Christianity because they are the direct descendants of the disciples of Jesus Christ? And the Palestinian Christians stand united with their Muslim brethren in the struggle against the Israeli occupation.

23. Did you know that despite a ban on torture by Israel's High Court of Justice, torture has continued unabated by Shin Bet interrogators on Palestinian prisoners?

24. Did you know that despite every Israeli attempt to disrupt Palestinian education, Palestinians have the highest ratio of PhDs per capita in the world?

25. Did you know that the right of self-determination is guaranteed to every human being under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [December,1948], yet Palestinians were/are expected to negotiate for this right under the Oslo Accords?

26. Did you know that despite what is widely perpetuated and written in the history books that the Arabs attacked Israel in the 1967 war, it was Israel who attacked the Arab countries first, capturing Jerusalem and the West Bank, and called the attack a pre-emptive strike?

27. Did you know that, as an occupying power, Israel has a particular responsibility under the Geneva Conventions to protect Palestinian civilians?

28. Did you know that, despite Ariel Sharon's public call for a unilateral ceasefire, Israeli soldiers have not stopped shooting, killing or bulldozing Palestinian homes? The most recent example of this is the murder of three innocent women who were shot by an Israeli tank as they sat in their tent!

29. Did you know that the Zionists have been trying to destroy Masjid al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock for the last 50 years by digging underground tunnels beneath the sites to weaken its foundation causing it to collapse?

30. Did you know that the majority of Muslims have been sleeping for the past 50 years and have been unaware of most of the above facts?


NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!
 

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Al-Quds Club, Jerusalem Region
Phone: 6262607

Alcazar Hotel, Jerusalem Region


مدرسة دار الأرقم للبنين, Gaza, غزة التفاح
Phone: 0599332320

ميني ماركت البركة, TAIYIBI, الطيبة
Phone: 09-7996569

Palestine Acadimic NetWork Planet, Jerusalem Region
URL: www.planet.edu   Phone: 6261549

Eqraa Association, Umm al Fahm, Um al fahem
URL: www.eqraa.com   Phone: 972-46112377

The Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza, Gaza Strip
URL: www.iugaza.edu.ps   Phone: 970-82860700

ali bin abi talib, Jerusalem Region, qds
Phone: 02656243

Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society, West Bank
URL: www.birzeit.edu/crdps/index.html   Phone: 972-2-998-2975

Abu Khalil Mosque, Asira Ash Shamaliya, Palestine
 

Abrahim Mosque, Hebron
  Abu Bakr Mosque, Misilya
  Abu Khalil Mosque, Asira Ash Shamaliya
  AL - RAHMA MOSQUE, Nazareth
  Al Hoda, Sulam
  Al mojamaa alislamy Khan younis, Khan Yunis
  Al Noor mosque, Sulam
  Al Rebat mosk (مسجد الرباط), Qalansuwa
  Al-Anwar Islamic Center, Dura
  Al-Bayan, Jatt
  Al-Gharbi Mosque, Asira Ash Shamaliya
  Al-naby Younis mosque, Halhul
  Al-nour mosque, Kafar Manda
  Al-Nour Mosque, Kafr Manda
  Al-Quds Club, Jerusalem Region
  Al-Taqwa Mosque, Kafr Manda
  al3elm wal2eman mosque, TAIYIBI
  Ale'elm waleeman mosque, Taibe
  Alhuda mosque, Kafr Manda
  Ali ben abee taleb, Qallansawah
  ali bin abi talib, Jerusalem Region
  Ali bin Abi-Talib Masjid, Taiba
  Belal's Mosque, Qabatiya
  Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, Silat Al Harithiya
  Dar alQuran alkrem, Qabalan
  Deir Debwan Mosque, Deir Dibwan
  ettaqwa mosque, Ram Allah
  Faqqu'ah western mosque, Faqqu`ah
  Grand Mosque, Silat Al Harithiya
  kfar kama masjid, Kafer-Kama
  Khaled ebn elwaled mosque, Maythalun
  Khalid Abu Ras, Illut
  KHALID IBN ALWALEED, Taibe
  Masjed Abo baker el sadeq, Baq'a El Gharbia
  Masjed Abu Bakr Assediq,
  masjed Abu-Bakr Alsedeeq, Abu-Snan
  MASJED AL BAYADER, Sir
  Masjed alshekh mohamed al assd, Deir El Assad
  Masjed elbayada el-foqa, Khirbat el Baiyada
  Masjed Ibn Taymiah, Tel Shoqet
  Masjed Kefl Hares, Kefl Hares
  Masjed Othman, Urif
  masjed Salah-aldin, Qallansawah
  Masjed shaikh othman, Qabalan
  Masjed Uthman Iben Afan, Arraba
  MASJID ABDULLAH IBN AL-ZUBAIR, Beit Surik
  Masjid AL- Farouq, Zalafe
  Masjid Alnur, Kafr Qara`
  Masjid Berr Alwalidain, DAIR JAREER
 
Masjid Hamza ben Abd Almotaleb, Gaza

  Masjid Khalil Alrahman, Rafah
  Masjid Lot (peace be upon him), Bani Na`im
  Masjid Omar bin alkhatab, Tayibeh
  Masjid Raba, Raba
  Masjid Salah Al Din, Dabburiya
  mosque, Tel Aviv
  Mosque Omar_ebn_elkhtab, Musmus
  NEDAA AL-ISLAM, Taibe
  New Mosque, Bir Zeit
  old mosque, Tubas
  Omar Ben ALkhatab Mosque, Qalqilyah
  Omar bn alkhatab mosque, Taibe
  Omar bno Alkhatab mosque مسجد عمر بن الخطاب, Ar`arah
  Slah aldeen alayobee, Musmus
  The New Mosque, Deir Ghassana
  مركز ابن تيمية -مسجد المصلى, Yattah
  مركز حراء لتحفيظ القرآن, Jatt
  مسـجد الوحيـدي, Gaza
  مسجد النور, Lidd
  مسجد مرج الزهور, Gaza
  مسجد مصعب بن عمير, Gaza
  مسجد نداء الاسلام, Taiyba
  مسجد آمنة بنت وهب, Tulkarm
  مسجد أبو هريرة, Gaza
  مسجد أبو الخير, Gaza
  مسجد أبو بكر الصديق, Rafah
  مسجد أبو بكر الصديق, Abasan Al Kabir
  مسجد أبو بكر الصديق, Jaljulya
  مسجد أبو بكر الصديق, Gaza
  مسجد أبو عبيدة, Umm el Fahm
  مسجد أبي بكر الصديق, Iksal
  مسجد أبي عبيده, Qalqiliya
  مسجد أبي عبيدة بن الجراح, Iksal
  مسجد الفلاح, Gaza
  مسجد الفاروق, Khan Younis Camp
  مسجد الفاروق, Qallansawah
  مسجد القاسم, Hebron
  مسجد القاضي, Jenin
  مسجد القدس, Gaza
  مسجد المنطار, Gaza
  مسجد المتحابين في الله, Gaza
  مسجد المصطفى, Gaza
  مسجد النهضة, Maghar
  مسجد النور, Rafah
  مسجد النور, Gaza
  مسجد النور, Abasan el-Kabir
  مسجد النور Al-Noor Mosque, Dabburiya
  مسجد النبي, Araba
  مسجد النزلة الشرقية, Tulkarem
 
مسجد النزهة, Jaffa-Tel Aviv

مسجد النصر الكبير, Haifa
  مسجد الهدى, Tulkarem
  مسجد الهدى والإيمان, Gaza
  مسجد الهدى يبنا, Gaza
  مسجد الهدي, Khan Younes
  مسجد الوحدة, Gaza
  مسجد اليرموك, Gaza
  مسجد الآمان,
  مسجد الأنصار, Gaza
  مسجد الأنصار, Rafah
  مسجد الأبرار, Rafah
  مسجد الأبرار, Gaza
  مسجد الإمام الشهيد شهاب الدين, Nazareth
  مسجد الإسراء (الحصري) النصر, Gaza
  مسجد الإصلاح, Gaza
  مسجد الامين محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم, Gaza
  مسجد الامام الشافعي, Gaza
  مسجد الاستقلال, Haifa
  مسجد الاستقامة برفح, Gaza
  مسجد الاسراء, Gaza
  مسجد الاصلاح, Iksal
  مسجد البخاري, Jaljulia
  مسجد البخاري, Gaza
  مسجد البخاري, دير البلح
  مسجد البخاري, Jaljulyah
  مسجد البشير, Gaza
  مسجد البشرى, Abasan El-Kabir
  مسجد التقوى, Gaza
  مسجد التقوى, Tuba
  مسجد التوفيق, Gaza
  مسجد الحاج عبد الله, Haifa
  مسجد الخلفاء الراشدين, Gaza
  مسجد الخلافة, Qalqiliya
  مسجد الخضر, Quffin
  مسجد الدارقطني, Gaza
  مسجد الروضة, Tulkarm
  مسجد الرباط, Qalansuwa
  مسجد الرباط, Fa'ra
  مسجد الرباط -مشروع بيت لاهيا, Gaza Strip
  مسجد الرحمن, Gaza
  مسجد الرحمه, Yafa An-nasirah
  مسجد الرحمة, Tuba
  مسجد الرحمة, Khan Yunis
  مسجد الرحمة, Gaza
  مسجد الرحمة, Tamra
  مسجد الزعبي, Mukhmas
  مسجد السلف الصالح بحي التفاح, Gaza
  مسجد السلام, Nablus
  مسجد السلام, Nazareth
  مسجد السلام, Rafah
 

مسجد السلام, Gaza
  مسجد السلام, Tulkarm
  مسجد السلطان عبد الحميد الثاني, Sabastiyah
  مسجد السوق, Qalqiliya
  مسجد السيدة عائشة, Nablus
  مسجد الساهرة, Jerusalem Region
  مسجد الشهيد يحيى عياش, Gaza Strip
  مسجد الشهيد الدكتور عبد الله عزام, Gaza
  مسجد الشهيد عدنان الغول, Gaza Strip
  مسجد الشهيد عز الدين القسام, Gaza
  مسجد الشهيد عز الدين القسام 2, Gaza
  مسجد الشهداء, Nablus
  مسجد الشيخ رضوان, Gaza
  مسجد الشافعى, Khan Younis Camp
  مسجد الشافعي, Khan Younes
  مسجد الشافعي, Ara
  مسجد الصفاء, Gaza Strip
  مسجد الصالحين, Rafah
  مسجد الصالحين, Gaza
  مسجد الصادق الأمين, Yatta
  مسجد الصحابه, Nazareth
  مسجد العيص, Hebron
  مسجد العباس, Gaza
  مسجد اهل السنة / خان يونس, Gaza
  مسجد ابن قدامه, Jamma`in
  مسجد ابو بكر الصديق, Umm El Fahm
  مسجد ابو بكر الصديق, Fa'ra
  مسجد ابو بكر الصديق, Abasan El-Kabir
  مسجد ابو بكر الصديق, Umm Al Fahm
  مسجد ابو عبيده, Umm El Faham
  مسجد بلال, Rafah
  مسجد بلال, Nazareth
  مسجد بلال بن رباح, Gaza
  مسجد بلال خان يونس المعسكر, Khan Yunis
  مسجد حمزة بن ابي طالب, Gaza Strip
  مسجد حمزة بن عبد المطلب 2, Gaza
  مسجد حسن البنا, Khan Yunis
  مسجد حسن بك, Tel Aviv
  مسجد خليل الوزير, Gaza Strip
  مسجد خليل الرحمن, Gaza
  مسجد خليل الرحمن, Tulkarem
  مسجد خالد بن الوليد, Khan Younis Camp
  مسجد خالد بن الوليد, Meithalun
  مسجد خديجة بنت خويلد رضي الله عنها, Gaza
  مسجد ذنابة القديم, Tulkarem
  مسجد رابا القديم, رابا
  مسجد شيخ الإسلام إبن تيمية, Rafah
  مسجد صلاح الدين, Jatt
  مسجد صلاح الدين, Gaza
 
مسجد صلاح الدين, Rafah

  مسجد صلاح الدين الأيوبى الجرن, Jabalia
  مسجد طارق بن زياد, Gaza Strip
  مسجد علي بن أبي طالب, Rafah
  مسجد علي بن أبي طالب, Jatt
  مسجد عمار بن ياسر, Salim
  مسجد عمار بن ياسر, Gaza
  مسجد عمر ابن الخطاب, Beit Immar
  مسجد عمر ابن الخطاب, Dabburiya
  مسجد عمر بن الخطاب, Nazareth
  مسجد عمر بن الخطاب, Beit Lehem
  مسجد عمر بن الخطاب, Jisr Ez Zarqa
  مسجد عمر بن الخطاب, Qalqiliya
  مسجد عمر بن الخطاب, Ara
  مسجد عمر بن عبد العزيز, Abasan Al Kabir
  مسجد عمر بن عبد العزيز, Abasan El-Kabir
  مسجد عناتا الكبير, Anata
  مسجد عين ابراهيم, Umm El Fahm
  مسجد عبوين الكبير, Abwein
  مسجد عباد الرحمن, Khan Younes
  مسجد عباد الرحمن, Rafah
  مسجد عثمان بن عفان, Nablus
  مسجد عثمان بن عفان-القديم, Tulkarem
  مسجد عزبة شوفة, Tulkarem
  مسجدالنور, Nablus
  مسجدالإمام الشهيد حسن البنا, Gaza
  مصلى النور, Gaza
  Zaid Bin Haritha Mosque, Misilya
  المسجد القديم, Baq'a El Gharbia
  المسجد القديم, Jamma`in
  المسجد القديم, Dabburiya
  المسجد القديم, Dayr Al Balah
  المسجد القديم, Qalansuwa
  المسجد الكبير, Gaza
  المسجد الاقصى, Jerusalem Region
  المسجد الاقصى المبارك, Jerusalem District
  المسجد الابراهيمي -الخليل, Jerusalem Region
  المسجد العمري, Gaza
  المسجد العمري, Tarqumiya
  الجامع الابيض - السوق, Nazareth
  ابن تيمية, Gaza
  جامع سلمان الفارسي, Isfiya
 
دار القرآن الكريم, Tulkarm

al-ram zakat committe, Jerusalem Region
  Al-Shaheed Majed Islamic Center, Southern Region
  ALHARKA ELISLAMIA, Umm Al Fahm
  Bait Almaqdes Fondation, Tammun
  Center for Research and Documentation of Palestinian Society, West Bank
  Charity Association, Taiba
  Eqraa Association, Umm al Fahm
  Ibneb Baz Charitable Islamic center, Sammu`i
  Palestine Acadimic NetWork Planet, Jerusalem Region
  لجنة النور, Kafar Kama
  لجنة الزكاة, Qalqiliya
  لجنة الزكاة, Beit Ummar
  لجنة زكاة وصدقات جماعين, Jamma`in
  موقع فلسطينيو48, Umm El Fahm
  مؤسسة الصالح في بئر السبع لرعاية المسلمين, Beersheba
  مديرية التربية والتعليم, Qalqiliya
  مركز الاتقان الثقافي, Hebron
  مسجد الهدى, Rafah
  مسجد ابي بكر الصديق, Qalqiliya
  نبراس للإعلام و تكتولوجيا المعلومات, Gaza
  نداءات من بيت المقدس, Jerusalem Region
  إذاعة القرآن الكريم من فلسطين, Gaza
  إذاعة الإيمان, Gaza
  إذاعة صوت القدس, Gaza
  الكتلة الاسلامية في جامعة البولتكنك في فلسطين, Hebron
  المجمع الإسلامي, Gaza Strip
  المجمع الإسلامي, Gaza
  المركز الثقافي الاسلامي-باقة الغربية, Baqa Al Gharbiya
  الجمعيه الخيريه لرعاية اليتيم جنين, Jerusalem Region
  الجمعية الخيرية, Qalansuwa
  الجمعية الخيرية الإسلامية, Yatta
  الجمعية الخيرية الإسلامية, Hebron
  الرابطة الإسلامية, Kafr Kanna
  بلدية قلقيلية, Qalqiliya
  بلدية قبلان, Qabalan
  جمعية معالي للتنمية والتطوير المجتمعي, Gaza
  جمعية أهل السنة الخيرية, Jerusalem Region
  جمعية الهلال الأحمر, Araba
  جمعية الأقصى لرعاية المقدسات ألأسلاميه, Umm Al Fahm
  جمعية الارشاد الاسلامية, Jerusalem Region
  جمعية البلاغ للإعلام, Umm El Fahm
  جمعية البر الخيرية, Gaza Strip
  جمعية العودة الخيرية, Gaza
  جمعية دورا الخيرية لرعاية الأيتام, Dura
  جمعية دار الكتاب والسنة, Gaza
  جمعية دار اليتيم, Beit Ummar
  حركة الجهاد الاسلامي, Jerusalem Region
 
رابطة مساجد منطقة التفاح والدرج, Gaza

A center the two differences to the Koran memorization, Taibe
  The Islamic University of Gaza, Gaza
  كلية الشريعة, Baqa El Garbiyye
  كلية شريعة الإسلامية, Umm Al Fahm
  مدارس ورياض الأقصى النموذجية, Tulkarem
  مدارس الاسراء الاسلامية, Tulkarem
  مدرسة دار الأرقم للبنين, Gaza
  مركز نون للدراسات القرأنية, Jerusalem Region
  مركز الفارق لتحفيظ القرآن الكريم ـ سيريس, Jenin
  مركز الدعوة- بلال بن رباح, Nazzerat
  مركز حراء, Umm El Fahm
  اكاديمية القاسمي, Baka-el-Garbiya
  المدرسة الاسلامية الثانوية, Nablus
  المعهد الاسباني الفلسيطيني للتدريب العالي, Gaza Strip
  الجامعة الإسلامية بغزة, Gaza
  الجامعة الاسلامية, Qalqiliya
  الجامعة الاسلامية-غزة, Gaza Strip
  جمعية الرازي الطلابية, Tel Aviv
  جامعة القدس المفتوحة, Dura
  جامعة القدس المفتوحة, Salfit
  جامعة القدس المفتوحة, Qalqiliya
  جامعة الأقصى, Khan Younis Camp
  جامعة الخليل, Hebron
  جامعة بوليتكنك فلسطين, Hebron
  دار القرآن المسجدالجديد, Jenin
  دار القران الكريم في منطقة البر / نابلس, Nablus
  دار الشقاقي للقرآن الكريم, Aqraba
  دار تحفيظ القرآن الكريم, Fa'ra
 
روضة حراء الاسلامية, Sa Nur

   Muslim Owned Business

Abu Shakra, Umm Al Fahm
  Al-ekhlas medical center, Kafar Manda
  Alcazar Hotel, Jerusalem Region
  Atur al-Khattab Islamic Palestine, Jerusalem Region
  Balqis company, Hebron
  Imad's Halal Butcher shop, Deir Dibwan
  Othman Optics,بصريات عثمان, Jerusalem Region
  Programing Horisons, Gaza
  Thatonitaqain ذات النطاقين, RAMALLAH
  مكتبة الأقصى, Ram Allah
  ميني ماركت البركة, TAIYIBI
  ميني ماركت ص.ع خالد, Kufr Qasim
  ميغابايت للكمبيوتر والبرمة, Hebron
  مجموعة منير التجاريه, Gaza
  مركز طلال عواد التجاري, Gaza
  مستشفى الاقصى التخصصي, Qalqiliya
  مطاحن السلام, Gaza
  معرض شاهين للمفروشات, Jerusalem Region
  أبو محمد للصرافة, Gaza
  الاتقان للحج والعمرة, Jerusalem Region
  الحسنات لتكنولوجيا المعلومات, Gaza
  ابراهيم الحاج يحيى للادوات الكهربائيه, Taibe
  اجيال النور, Yafa An-nasirah
  بوابة طولكرم الخدماتية, Tulkarm
  دار الاستشفاء للعلاج الطبيعي, Nablus
  سوبرماركت الحسن, Qalqiliya
  شركه محمد الكويفي لتصميم المواقع, Gaza
  شركة نضال السلول وشركاؤه - شركة مساهمة محدودة,
  شركة الرملاوي للبلاستيك, Gaza
  شركة العرندس للمقاولات, Gaza
  شركة تطوير فلسطين م.خ.م., Gaza
  شركة خالد و وليد الكحلوت للصناعة والتجارة العامة, Gaza
  عالم الكمبيوتر, Nazareth

References
Islam in Palestine ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Palestine  , September, 2008).
Islam in Palestinian Territories ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_territories  , September, 2008).
Islam in West_Bank ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Bank  , September, 2008).
Islam in Gaza_Strip ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip  , September, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0776421.html  , September, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=palestine  , September, 2008).
Focus on Filasteen (Palestine) ( http://www.alharamain.org/english/newsletter/issue41_42/feature.htm  , September, 2008).
Israeli-Muslim population on the rise ( http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3197413,00.html  , September, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Palestine , September 2008.