Motorcyclists (illustration)
Motorcyclists (illustration)Thinkstock

Some 150 Arab bikers set out on Saturday night on a motorcycle journey to Jerusalem, as part of an initiative organized by a group calling itself "Youth for Al-Aqsa", which works to strengthen the link between the Muslim citizens of Israel and the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem.

The motorcycles left for the journey after a ceremony held in the city of Yafo (Jaffa), during which Sheikh Mohammed Ayash, imam of the Al-Bahar Mosque in the city, said, "The occupation prevented us from reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque in buses or by other means, and we will arrive in motorcycles to emphasize our support for Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the radical Islamic Movement, who in the past labeled Israeli leaders “terrorists” and “enemies of Allah”, congratulated the participants, saying that this is a journey of the free people who are clinging to and supporting the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

"We are the people who defend Al-Quds and Al-Aqsa, we are their human shields ... the occupation is null and void and it will disappear from the world," he declared.

Najah Bakhirat, a senior official with the Islamic Movement, told the Quds Press news agency, which reported extensively on the motorcycle journey, that "this is a clear signal to the occupation and a warning to it, that if it makes unilateral decisions regarding Al-Quds, then it should know that Al-Quds has supporters, and if it wants to make Al-Quds the united capital of the Jewish state, then we will tell it that Al-Quds will remain a Palestinian Arab capital.”

There have been several similar initiatives in the Arab world to stage a “global march” to Jerusalem as a means of provoking Israel and expressing solidarity with Palestinian Arabs.

A Global March to Jerusalem was planned in 2012. Counter-terror experts found that Iran was backing the event. The march drew only a few thousand people, far from the two million supporters organizers had hoped for.

The Palestinian Authority, with the backing of the Arab world, insists that all neighborhoods of Jerusalem that were conquered by Jordan in 1948 and retaken by Israel in the Six Day War 19 years later, are rightfully Arab and should become the capital of a new Arab state. The PA views Jewish residency in those parts of the city as an attempt to "Judaize Jerusalem."