A Palestinian bakery in the heart of Old Jerusalem has been forced to close by Israeli authorities after 60 years in business. The reason provided for the forced closure was that the bakery had been providing baked goods to Palestinian worshipers headed to Al-Aqsa Mosque to pray.
The Israeli occupation government in Jerusalem ordered the owner of the bakery, Abu Naser Abu Sneineh, to cease providing ka’ek — an oval shaped bread with sesame seeds that is extremely popular in Palestine — to people praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Many Palestinians think of ka’ek as ‘the essence of Palestine’, and the smell of the sesame bread fills the streets of Jerusalem in the early morning hours.
The Israeli municipal authorities that gave the order did not say why it was a problem for the bakery to be distributing ka’ek to worshipers, but Palestinian analysts say that it appears to be part of the ongoing pressure campaign against the mosque and the people who pray there.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam, and is a revered place of worship for the one billion Muslims around the world. Palestinians have maintained the site for over a thousand years. But in the past several years, right-wing Israeli settlers have invaded the mosque grounds on a regular basis with the stated intent of taking it over to destroy the Mosque and construct a Jewish Temple there instead.
Indeed, just outside the Mosque, near the location of the bakery, Israeli stores and market stalls offer for sale to tourists t-shirts bearing images of the Mosque blown up in an explosion, with a Jewish Temple in its place.
The current Israeli government adheres to this line of thinking, and has taken numerous steps to try to expel the Palestinians who run the mosque, and the tens of thousands of Palestinians who pray there each week.
The Israeli municipality had previously stormed the bakery on February 9th and threatened to close it unless Abu Sneineh fulfilled certain terms in one week.
The municipality accused the bakery, which has been working for over 60 years so far, of distributing its famous Palestinian Ka’ek to worshipers at Al Aqsa mosque during the “Great Dawn” campaign.
The bakery was previously targeted by several Israeli search and raid campaigns.