Al-Aqsa: Israeli extremists continue storming holy site amid preparations for 'flag march'

Al-Aqsa: Israeli extremists continue storming holy site amid preparations for 'flag march'
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20 April, 2022

Israeli security forces stormed Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque for the fourth day running on Wednesday, in order to prepare for the entry of Jewish extremists from the "Temple Mount Faithful" to the Muslim holy site.

The security forces cleared the mosque and its surrounding courtyard of Palestinian worshippers, setting up checkpoints and preventing anyone else from approaching the mosque.

Israeli attacks on the holy site, which come during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, have injured hundreds of Palestinians.

The UN Security Council met regarding the attacks on Tuesday while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken telephoned Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and urged them to "end the cycle of violence".

However, far-right Israelis are planning continued provocations, with a "Flag March", in which dozens of Israeli flags will be prominently displayed, expected to take place on Wednesday afternoon around the Old City of occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.

The New Arab is providing live updates of what's happening on the ground in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

6:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

The New Arab's live coverage of the latest from Israel's violence against worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque and compound concludes for today.

Join us tomorrow for the latest updates from the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

Make sure to follow our TwitterFacebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the latest news and analysis.

6:09 PM
Sally Ibrahim

While covering acts of violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites for Muslims, several Palestinian journalists were "deliberately assaulted" and arrested by Israeli police forces, according to statements of witnesses and journalists to The New Arab

Since last week, Al-Aqsa Mosque has seen a dramatic escalation as hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the site under the protection of the Israeli police, while Palestinian worshipers attempted to hold them off.

As Palestinian journalists and photographers rushed to document the attacks by the Israeli police on young Palestinians, several of them say that they were "deliberately assaulted" by the Israeli security forces "to prevent any documentation of [Israel's] crimes against Palestinian worshipers."

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"Taking pictures and recording videos of the Israeli attacks amounted to exposing the inhumane practices of the Israeli forces," one Palestinian journalist said to The New Arab

In one case documented by video and shared on various social media accounts, the Israeli police had severely beaten Rami Al-Khatib, 43, a cameraman working for the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Endowments in Jerusalem while he was asked aloud, "Why are you beating me?"

6:02 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas urges Gaza armed groups not to 'independently' launch rockets at Israel

Hamas on Wednesday urged other Gaza armed factions to not fire rockets into Israel.

Palestinian factions gathered to speak on Wednesday about tensions with Israel, Haaretz reported, amid Israeli forces' repeated attacks on worshippers in occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Hamas's chief in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, said other Palestinians should not take unilateral measures, such as launching projectiles.

Sinwar hosted high-level figures from other Gaza factions at his office and urged dialogue between different armed groups.

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3:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Far-right Israeli flag march begins in occupied Jerusalem

A planned flag march by far-right Israelis has begun, according to a reporter for The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

The rally will go through largely Palestinian parts of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.

The march started in front of Israel's municipality headquarters in Jerusalem, a city it has illegally occupied since 1967 and which it annexed in 1980 in a move widely rejected by the international community.

3:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel PM bars extremist lawmaker from entering Muslim areas of Jerusalem's Old City and holding rally

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday barred extremist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir from entering Muslim areas of Jerusalem's Old City and holding a rally, in a bid to stem further violence.

Tensions in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem have spiked in recent weeks, amid days of Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which have injured scores of Palestinians during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The ban is seen as an attempt to calm tensions intended to prevent further violence in the Old City.

Ben-Gvir had announced he would take part in a rally on Wednesday evening, saying he would march through the Damascus Gate, the main entrance to the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

Bennett accepted the recommendation of security chiefs to prevent Ben-Gvir from entering the Damascus Gate.

"I have no intention of allowing petty politics to endanger human lives," Bennett said in a statement. "I will not allow a political provocation by Ben-Gvir to endanger IDF [Israeli army] soldiers and Israeli police officers."

Ben-Gvir (pictured) is an extremist Israeli lawmaker [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty-archive]
2:12 PM

Over 800 Israelis took part in storming Al-Aqsa: extremist leader

A spokesman for far-right Israeli organisations said that 853 Israelis took part in the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque this morning, with a total of 2,275 participating in invasions of the Muslim holy site since Friday. Assaf Farid, who represents an extremist organisation committed to building a Jewish temple in place of the mosque, said that senior rabbis living in Israeli settlements in the West Bank took part in Wednesay's storming.

He said Jews would be permitted to enter the mosque grounds from 7 to 10:30 in the morning every day.

12:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterates refusal to depart from Al-Aqsa status quo

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his refusal to depart from the status quo at occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday.

He had been speaking with Tor Wennesland, the United Nation's special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The historical and legal status quo at Al-Aqsa means that the site is preserved as a Muslim place of worship, with Jews permitted to visit but not pray there.

Despite this, Israeli extremists often violate the rule and perform rituals under Israeli security protection.

Jordan has custodianship over the mosque, which is the third holiest in Islam.

12:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary Blinken urges Israel, Palestinians to 'end the cycle of violence'

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Tuesday to "end the cycle of violence" after a series of Israeli attacks on Palestinians during the holy month of Ramadan. 

In separate calls with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Blinken stressed "the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza by exercising restraint and refraining from actions that escalate tensions," the State Department said.

He also urged both sides to exercise "restraint" and refrain "from actions that escalate tensions" including at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third-holiest site, in Jerusalem's Israeli-occupied Old City.

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12:38 PM
The New Arab Staff

Al-Aqsa: UAE airlines withdraw from Israel 'Independence Day' show amid mosque attacks

Two UAE airlines pull out of an air show marking Israel's  'Independence Day' amid repeated Israeli attacks in occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.

UAE flag carrier Etihad and budget airline Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will no longer be joining in on 5 May, the Israeli Pilots' Association (ISRALPA) said in separate posts on Twitter on Tuesday.

ISRALPA said it "received a message today from Wizz Air Abu Dhabi that it will not be able to participate in the Independence Day flight in Israel".

The pilots' organisation said this came soon after it was reported the UAE had summoned Israel's ambassador over his country's violations at Al-Aqsa.

The UAE expressed its "strong protest and denunciation of the events taking place in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque" in its meeting with Israel's envoy, citing "attacks on civilians" and "incursions into holy places", UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, ISRALPA revealed that Etihad had said it was withdrawing from the Independence Day air event, though this came before reports that Israel's ambassador had been called in.

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Etihad is a UAE flag carrier [Getty]
11:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jerusalem's Christian churches resist Israeli settlers

Churches in Jerusalem are up in arms against Jewish "radicals" who are settling in the Christian Quarter and threatening a fragile religious balance in the ancient Holy City.

"We have a major problem here," said Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilus III in Jerusalem's Old City, which is split into historic Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters.

"Jerusalem also has her Christian character, and that is what is threatened," he told AFP, as Christian worshippers readied for Easter celebrations.

The patriarch charged that hardline Jewish settlers, known for trying to take over properties of Palestinian families, are also waging a campaign for control of Christian-owned lands.

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10:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jerusalem: Far-right Israeli flag marchers vow to go ahead despite police ban

Far-right Israeli activists are going ahead with a provocative flag-waving march through predominantly Palestinian areas of occupied East Jerusalem's Old City later on Wednesday, despite Israeli police prohibiting the proposed rally.

Israeli police will be deployed in large numbers around the historic Old City, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which Israeli security and settlers have repeatedly and violently raided since Friday.

This area of East Jerusalem also contains Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious sites and has been the scene of previous provocative rallies by Israeli extremists, leading to attacks on Palestinians.

"At this stage, the police are not approving the protest march under the requested layout," the Israeli police said in a statement, without elaborating.

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10:33 AM
The New Arab Staff

Far-right Israelis storm Al-Aqsa

Israeli far-right activists entered the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday morning after Israeli police forcibly cleared the mosque.

Local sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language service that the Israeli forces expelled worshippers from the mosque in order to secure the far-right activists' entry to the courtyard and video uploaded to Twitter showed the clearing of the mosque's vicinity.




Sally Ibrahim
The New Arab Staff
The New Arab Staff & Agencies