Mosques are especially suited for this purpose, since if Israel hits one of them, the Jewish state is immediately charged with recklessly targeting civilian areas, endangering civilians, etc. The fact is, however, that nowhere but in Gaza is the poem that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan notoriously quoted more true: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers….”
“Palestinian Mosques: Arsenals or Houses of God?,” by Danielle Avel, Breitbart News, July 26, 2014:
While salvaging Qurans from the rubble of the Al-Farouq Mosque in Gaza, junior imam Muhammad Hamad told the New York Times, “This is a house of God” – as though this proved the mosque is a peaceful place of worship. He said this after Al-Farouq had been targeted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on July 12.Read it all.
According to IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, intelligence indicated the mosque was used as “a Hamas rocket cache and gathering point for militants.” According to Hamad, “That charge is baseless.”
This debate conjures striking visuals – the military against the mosque, the Qurans amidst the rubble, and the young imam invoking the term “house of God.” Media outlets eagerly perpetuate this narrative however incomplete or inaccurate. The problem, however, starts at the very root of the story, with the mosque. Let’s explore what a “house of God” might look like to an average person living in a Palestinian-controlled neighborhood.
Caliph Abu Bakr Mosque in Aida. Photo credit: Danielle Avel
The above picture shows the Caliph Abu Bakr Mosque in Aida in “Area A” on the West Bank. Area A means Israel maintains control over external security, so Palestinians there are limited in the weapons they can amass, unlike in Hamas-controlled Gaza where Israel relinquished control of the border. Though Israel prevents missiles from entering the West Bank, Area A is otherwise similar to Gaza in that Palestinians are responsible for their own neighborhoods – central to those neighborhoods are mosques.
The Aida mosque entryway is festooned with violent messaging that celebrates terrorists, that show all of Israel gone from the map, and advertisements for conferences that promote the caliphate (i.e., radical Islam taking over the world)….
Further, Palestinians have a documented history of using mosques as bases for terrorism. A few examples:
- In 2003, Israeli police thwarted a suicide attack and located the explosives belt in a mosque in Taibeh.
- In 2003, Hamas terrorists in Hebron used their mosque’s football team as cover while they carried out a series of suicide attacks that killed 34 Israelis.
- In 2003, Ra’ed Misk, an imam of a mosque in Hebron, carried out a suicide attack that killed 23 civilians. He was dressed in the explosives belt at a mosque in eastern Jerusalem.
- In 2008, the IDF bombed a mosque in Gaza City that was used to store missiles and explosives and was used as a launching ground for rocket attacks.
- In 2009, during Operation Cast Lead, IDF forces uncovered weapons caches in mosques throughout Gaza including ones in Jabaliya, Al-Atatra, and the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza City….