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Palestine: 25,000 Israeli settler incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in 2017

3rd Jan 2018
Palestine: 25,000 Israeli settler incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in 2017

By Abdul Raouf Arnaout

 

JERUSALEM (AA): There were more than 25,000 incursions by Israeli settlers into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in 2017, according to Jerusalem’s Jordan-run Islamic Waqf agency.

In a statement, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the director-general of the Waqf agency (mandated with overseeing Jerusalem’s Islamic sites), said incursions into the holy site by “Jewish extremists” had reached its “highest number ever” with 25,630 recorded last year alone.

He went on to describe the increasingly frequent incursions as “clear violations of the sanctity of the mosque”.

“The number of settlers storming the mosque has increased due to incitement by Jewish rabbis and the Israeli government’s support for such acts,” al-Khatib said.

In recent years, the Israeli authorities have allowed Jewish settlers into the mosque complex — usually through the Magharba Gate — in steadily increasing numbers.

The Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian government have repeatedly called on the Israeli authorities to prohibit the practice — calls Israel has largely failed to heed.

In 2016, there were more than 15,000 settler incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to Palestinian figures.

Settler incursions into the mosque compound, which Muslims regard as the world’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina, generally increase during Jewish religious holidays.

[Archive Photo: Israeli settlers entering Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on 26 July 2015. Photographer: Muammar Awad/AA]

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