Twenty years ago, with the protection of two thousand heavily armed soldiers, the leader of the Israeli opposition at the time, Ariel Sharon, stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the mosque was filled with unarmed worshipers, who used shoes, chairs and stones to repel the provocative incursion, and the price was a third massacre in Al-Aqsa, sparking a Palestinian uprising that lasted 5 years. And it spread to the whole of occupied Palestine.
The uprising was called the second Al-Aqsa Intifada, and it resulted in the death of 4,412 Palestinians and the injury of more than 48,000. As for the massacre that occurred in Al-Aqsa Mosque on September 28, 2000, the third massacre was called Al-Aqsa after the first massacre in 1990, and the second (Heba Al-Tunq) in 1996.
They left their school and went to Al-Aqsa
The massacre took place on Friday, and the storming of Sharon preceded it with a day and paved the way for it. Al-Maqdisi Nafez al-Jaba recalls what happened that day, telling Al-Jazeera Net, “Sharon’s storming was at 7:30 in the morning, and this coincided with my presence in my school, the orphanage in the Old City, so the school students decided to close classes and go to defend Al-Aqsa.”
About 100 students entered Bab Al-Nazer – one of the western gates of Al-Aqsa – and headed towards the roof of the Dome of the Rock, down from the steps of the southwestern arcade, and saw the quiver, sound and gas bombs and rubber bullets that hit unarmed worshipers and school students, and a rubber bullet fell 12 meters away. He lost his consciousness and was transferred to Al-Maqasid Hospital in Jerusalem.
Sharon stayed for 45 minutes in Al-Aqsa before his soldiers secured his withdrawal from the Mughrabi Gate, but the confrontations continued until the noon prayer, after which the occupation closed the mosque for a short time and the worshipers forced it to open it in the afternoon, while the confrontations continued in the Jerusalem neighborhoods near Al-Aqsa.
He was injured and returned the next day
Al-Jaaba was 15 years old, and despite his injury, he insisted on praying in the Al-Aqsa Mosque the next day – the day of the massacre – and says that the occupation forces began firing bombs at random worshipers shortly before the end of Friday prayers, and adds, “Blood was filling the mosque squares, and they were deliberately Soldiers killed worshipers and wounded them in the upper parts of their bodies, and those who were not hit by bullets poured batons on him. “
7 martyrs were killed in the massacre, and 250 others were wounded, among them was al-Maqdisi Abdullah Maarouf, who was a young man at the time, and he tells Al-Jazeera Net how dozens of soldiers beat him severely until he lost consciousness and hit his head and leg.
A sermon on the Battle of Badr preceded the massacre
Maarouf recalls, saying, “I went to Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the Friday prayer, and I saw soldiers fortified with shields near the Mughrabi Gate. I saw them like this for the first time. I prayed at the time in the Al-Qibli prayer hall after a very short sermon by the preacher Sheikh Hayan Al-Idrisi about the Great Battle of Badr. And bullets filled the chapel outside. “
Maarouf went out of the prayer hall quickly, to see the wounded and the martyrs falling in front of him, and he was able to identify the types of bullets from the change in his sounds, as the rubber bullets were louder, then the noise subsided, followed by the sharpened live bullets. He saw the martyr Haitham Al-Skafi (45 years) be hit by a bullet above his right eye and bleeding badly.
The worshipers were running to escape from the deadly random bullets, and Maarouf ran to take cover in the Al-Qibli prayer hall, to be treated by a soldier and hit him with a club that dropped him to the ground.
Maarouf says, “His face was covered except for his eyes. I remember them well to this day. He hit me and then the rest of the soldiers rained down on me. I lost consciousness and woke up near the terrace of flowers, and the young Misbah Abu Subaih – who was killed later in 2016 – brought me to the clinic of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and from there to Al-Maqasid Hospital.” .
Flag raised twice
Al-Maqdisi Ibrahim Rizk’s memories of the Al-Aqsa massacre were different. He met his close friend Amjad Akawi that day near the Dome of the Rock and decided to raise the Palestinian flag over it. They were 15 years old, but they were courageous, and they went up to the dome using the restoration equipment at the time, and they fixed the flag with ropes in The southern part of the dome.
Rizk recounts those moments to Al-Jazeera Net, saying, “Seconds after we installed the flag, and with bullets coming from Israeli snipers above the door of the chain, my friend Amjad was hit by a bullet in the neck and another below the heart, and then he fell to the ground. I went crazy at that time and I started to seek urgent help to rescue him. I walked with him towards the door of the tribes and they are They spoil him in the belief that he was martyred. “
Akawi was transferred to Al-Mutala ‘Hospital in Jerusalem in a serious condition. As for Rizk, he decided to return to Al-Aqsa, where the massacre has not stopped yet, but he did not know that his return would cost him a bullet in his head.
Rizk quickly descended the stairs of the southeastern arcade and saw a martyr who had been hit in the head and the back of his brain, and proceeded to the scene of the confrontations between the Mughrabi Gate and the Al-Qibli prayer hall, then he turned his head to see that a young man was hit behind him, and if a rubber bullet hit his head from behind and lost consciousness, then he was treated to the French Hospital in Jerusalem .
Rizk says that his injury removed fear from his heart, so he returned again in 2001 and raised the Palestinian flag over the Al-Qibli prayer hall, accompanied by the young Tamer Kashour, who was wounded in Al-Aqsa several times and died after that in 2003.
Rizk looks at the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the scene of his memories, and concludes, “I will not hesitate to raise the flag again, I did not benefit Al-Aqsa on my own. My friends Majdi Al-Maslamani and Osama Jeddah were martyred in the massacre, and my friends Muhammad Al-Amoudi and Sameh Al-Daas were injured. There are other friends who were arrested by the occupation and subjected to physical burning in prisons. Like Ayman Al-Zarba and Khader Jwayhan, the massacre generation paid a high price. “