5/18/2023–|Last updated: 5/18/202305:50 PM (Mecca Time)
On Thursday, a former Israeli soldier returned the key to the Mughrabi Gate, one of the doors of the western wall of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, 56 years after it was stolen from occupied Jerusalem.
A video clip distributed by the Islamic Endowments Department in Jerusalem showed Yair Barak handing over the key to the Director General of the Department, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib.
He said, “I am Yair Barak, and I was a soldier in the 71st Division, Sector (C), that fought here in East Jerusalem. We were here to attack snipers, and a number of our soldiers were killed and a number of others were wounded.”
He added: “I arrived at the Mughrabi Gate, and it does not matter how that happened, and when I looked on the left side I saw a key, and I do not know why I put my hand on it and took it, I put the key in my pocket and since then it has remained in my possession.”
Barak went on to say: “After almost 40 or 50 years have passed, I began to feel uncomfortable that the key to the Mughrabi Gate is still with me, and this is not my right because in short I stole it, and I decided to return it to its owners.”
He added, “Now I am here, and I have returned the key that I stole.. It returned to the rightful owners, and this is what Israel must do by returning to the Palestinians the land, rights, respect, independence, freedom and security.”
The return of the key coincides with Israel’s celebration of the 56th anniversary of the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, according to the Hebrew calendar.
But Barak said, “The so-called Jerusalem Day is one of the most hated days of the year. I stopped celebrating this day a long time ago.. I was a partner in this day, but I did not want to do that, which is the occupation of Jerusalem.”
And he continued: “After I returned the key to its owners, I feel that I did the right wonderful job, after I thought (by doing) that for many years .. I hope that the results of what I did will leave a positive impact on people, and that they think about the reality we live in.”