As pressure continues to build for an international protection force to intervene over the Israeli escalation of attacks at Al-Aqsa Mosque, Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf has called for international intervention to quell the violence. In London last week promoting the new biographical film about him, ‘Ya Tair Ya Tayer‘ (in English, The Idol) Assaf, along with his new fiancée Palestinian television host Lina Qishawi, used the opportunity to appeal to the international community to “step in and take concrete action.”
French-Algerian journalist Nabila Ramdani of Middle East Monitor interviewed Mohammed Assaf: “Superstar Palestinian singer using biopic promotional tour to call for ‘end to the violence’ in his homeland and for ‘international community to intervene.”
‘The violence is horrendous, and we are both [Assaf and Qishawi] calling for it to stop,’ said Assaf. ‘We are urging the international community, including the United Nations (UN), to step in and take concrete action.
‘Words of condemnation are not enough. Illegal Israeli occupation is the primary reason for the regular fighting’, said the singer, who is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Palestine.
Assaf said he deplored all forms of violence, and particularly fatalities, but described the horrific spiral as the ‘result of oppressive policies and a blanket ban on all Palestinian dissent.’
‘People have reached breaking point because they’re subjugated. This is because of the apartheid regime, the continuous expansion of illegal settlements, the outlawed demolition of Palestinian homes and farms and the daily humiliation at checkpoints.
‘It’s also because of the constant military offensives, persecutions and lack of hope, and the routine extra-judicial killings and unauthorised detentions, including that of children,’ he said.
‘Palestinians are taking action because of these terrible injustices. This is not new, but things are getting worse, and increased repression, including collective punishment, only leads to more trouble. All Palestinians want is to be a free, independent people, and to live with dignity.’
…..‘Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and Palestinians won’t allow any attempt to turn it into a Jewish Temple and Judaise Jerusalem’, said Assaf.
In the last week, Palestinian leaders have called for an international protection force for the Al Aqsa mosque. The proposal has been rejected out of hand by Israel’s U.N. ambassador. Yet it has been reported that France will submit a Security Council resolution for such a force.
Assaf has continually used his celebrity to highlight Palestinian suffering. Plus he’s repeatedly addressed the Judaisation of the land because he’s “fighting for a cause“. However this was a particularly high profile and star studded event given it was his first public appearance with Qishawi and the film’s UK opening. (The film is directed by Hany Abu-Assad, who has twice been nominated for an Oscar.) Qishawi also addressed Palestinian conditions with reporter Ramdani:
She said she was ‘particularly distressed by the number of children being killed,’ and told of her horror at the story of Rahaf Hassan, a three-year-old girl who died alongside her pregnant mother, Noor, during an Israeli airstrike on Gaza last Sunday.
Calling Rahaf a ‘little angel’, Lina said she had been moved to tears by an online video that showed the child’s corpse being hugged and kissed by her inconsolable father.
Lina added that ‘footage of rubble and devastation in Gaza’ shown in The Idol ‘summed up the ongoing situation.’
There is one scene that evokes the haunting images of the four boys playing football on a beach last summer before being blown to pieces by Israeli ordnance.
It’s long past time our politicians and global leaders take a good look at the status quo at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem (video from 2013). Two years later – same thing. It’s been normalized thanks to the international community doing nothing. It’s the “new normal“. Since when is storming a place of worship and attacking worshipers in order to provide fanatical settlers a heavily armed police escort into the Noble Sanctuary an acceptable “status quo”?
Make no mistake, this has noting to do with “religious freedom for Jews” and everything to do with “Liberating the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation“. The status quo has already changed, everyone knows it, and yet our public officials are forced to publicly eat their words. Why? International intervention is long past overdue, and we need to demand it.