Palestine: Jewish settlers storm Jerusalem’s Aqsa Mosque compound

11th Dec 2018
Palestine: Jewish settlers storm Jerusalem’s Aqsa Mosque compound

By Abdelraouf Arnaout

 

JERUSALEM (AA): Scores of Israeli settlers forced their way into East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday, according to a Palestinian official. Hundreds of Jewish settlers also stormed Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus city.

“Around 127 Jewish settlers broke into the holy compound this morning,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordan-run organization responsible for overseeing the city’s Islamic sites, said in a statement.

Earlier on Sunday morning, Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque accompanied by military reinforcement security from the Israeli occupation army.

According to the sources of the Islamic Endowments Department, Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, was leading a group of Israeli extremist settlers who entered through the Mugrabi Gate in the western wall of the mosque.

Hundreds of Jewish settlers also stormed another holy place, Joseph’s tomb in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus. Dozens of Palestinian youths suffered from tear-gas inhalation, on predawn Monday, during clashes that broke out after Israeli settlers stormed Joseph’s Tomb.

Clashes were triggered when Israeli settlers began performing Jewish religious rituals in Joseph’s Tomb under the tight security of Israeli forces.

Sources added that Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas bombs, and stun grenades towards the youths.

Joseph’s Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the site being located in Area A where the PA has full control, and prohibits Muslims from worshiping at the site.

According to the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, settler incursions — which began in 2003 — into the holy site have seen a remarkable increase this year.

For Muslims, the Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the 1967 Middle East War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Jewish state in a move never recognized by the international community.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

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

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