Israeli occupation forces stopped Jerusalemite Afaf Qatani, 63, at the entrance of Bab Al-Silsilah while heading to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with her children carrying a cooker full of food before the sunset prayer.

The soldiers searched her and her children. They tried to pour food into the ground, but after a fight, discussion and skirmishes, Qatani, and her children along with their food which she prepared to break their fast, managed to get in.

They ended up in the courtyards of the Dome of the Rock, which was filled with Jerusalemites who made a wonderful decision to break their fast during the last days of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa instead of doing so at their houses in Wadi Al-Jawz, Silwan, Hara Al-Saadia, Ras Al Amud and Jabal Al-Mukaber neighborhoods of Jerusalem, to challenge the Israeli occupation and increase Palestinian presence at Al-Aqsa.

Their move stunned Israeli soldiers and special forces, who work day and night to keep Palestinians away from Al-Aqsa.

A majestic sight

Groups of hundreds of families including entire families of kids, parents and elders, sat on the ground and brought their hot meals to have their break fast during the last ten days of Ramadan at the courtyards of Al-Aqsa, despite the suffering they are subjected to when they bring their food and items into the backyards of the Mosque.

Next to the Qaitbay water taps north of the main gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque, a large family of over 30 people sat down to have their break fast, which drew the attention of people there.

Palestinian elder Hassna Abu Abbas, 72 years old, from the town of Silwan, was pleased to pour beans and meat in the dishes, as well as rice, which she distributed among her sons, daughters, grandchildren and in-laws.

I am inviting my four daughters, their husbands and children to break their fast today at Al-Aqsa, and this way we get more blessing and we challenge the Israeli enemy,” she said.

Um Mohammed told the PIC reporter: “Today, I have invited 32 people. I brought in the dishes and food from the Qatanine Gate, against the will of Israeli forces. I told my in-laws that it is a pre-condition to break our fast at the courtyards of Al-Aqsa, and all of them agreed and came.”

In the north-western corner of the Dome of the Rock, dozens of families were eating breakfast from Jabal Mukaber neighborhood, following an invitation from the local council, which urged people of the region to have their breakfast at Al-Aqsa.

A challenge

Hajj Hassan Abu Jabal, 66, from Jabal al-Mukaber, sat with his family on a mat and ate the traditional Palestinian dish Maqlouba.

His son, Jamil, carried a glass filled with tamarind, distributing it in plastic cups among people.

Jamil told a news agency: “This is a collective effort we made to support Al-Aqsa,” pointing out that the issue is not a matter of eating but is a new form of steadfastness and resistance at Al-Aqsa Mosque, as he put it.

Abu Jabal told a news agency: “The idea started individually, and then the village council met in Jabal al-Mukaber, and we discussed the idea and circulated it. We brought a bus and invited people of the region to go to break their fast at the yards of Al-Aqsa Mosque. “We had to bring a lot of buses due to the large number of people, the most important issue is supporting Al-Aqsa by having mass Iftar at its courtyards.”

Jerusalemites remain the spearhead in the battle for Al-Aqsa. They are the ones who defeated the Israeli occupation in the battle of the electronic gates. They are the ones who stand ready to foil the daily plans of occupation to Judaize Al-Aqsa.