By Mohammad Abbas
Israelis occupation authority broke into 250 years old masjid AL-BAHR in Tiberias with an aim to turn it into a museum which will violate their agreement of 2002 with Palestinian authorities and community that guarantee maintenance of the mosque. This will not be the first time this agreement is violated. Many other mosques (A place of worship for Muslims ) in the ‘lost cities of Palestine’ were turned into museums, night clubs and bars by the Israeli authorities where 21% of the Israeli citizens are Muslim Palestinians or the so-called “Arab-Israelis” they also face institutionalized discrimination at the hands of the state.
Built in 1743, by a Muslim ruler of Teberias ‘Al-Zaher Oman’ in the city of Jaffa, the small mosque located in the northern side of the slope park, on the sea wall promenade in earlier times was used by the fisherman and sailors frequenting the port of Jaffa and by nearby habitants of surrounding area. Muslim sailors used to pray in the mosque before departing. It is said that the wives of sailors living in Jaffa used to come regularly to the mosque and pray for the safety of their beloved once .During the 1948 ethnic cleansing known as ‘Al Nakba’ which means ‘disaster’ occurred when more than 7,00,000 Palestinian Arabs- about half of prewar Palestine’s Arab population fled or were expelled from their homes. Overnight, Jaffa- The heart of Palestine stopped beating, which once serves as the cultural centers of Palestinian life. An entire way of life was lost.
Since, then the mosque Al-Bahr or ‘The sea mosque’ located on a sea shore in Jaffa city of old Palestine has been abandoned by the Israelis authority. No Muslims are allowed to enter in it even to clean it. The mosque was renovated in 1997, but is still not open to visitors.
Now the Israelis authority wants to convert it into a museum. Just like they have demolished hundreds of Palestinian mosque, cemeteries, and other religious sites by violating the agreement of 2002 with the Palestinian authority that allows the mosque to stay. Till now no action has been taken place against the Israelis authorities for continuously violating the agreement. If nothing has been done to protect the mosque and other holy places these acts of desecration of holy sites by Israelis authorities will erase every Palestinian symbols in the city and this is rarely reported by international media.