Exclusive: Israel detains and interrogates Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher

Exclusive: Israel detains and interrogates Al-Aqsa Mosque preacher
Occupying Israeli forces have detained the preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque after he urged Palestinian unity to protect the sanctity of the holy site.
2 min read
16 October, 2019
Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [Getty]

Israeli forces detained the preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque Sheikh Ismail Nawahda during multiple raids across the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

An official source in Palestine’s Islamic endowments department told The New Arab’s Arabic language service that Nawahdah was arrested at Qalandia checkpoint on Wednesday.

Israeli forces summoned Nawahdah after he was wanted for interrogation. He is expected to be released later on in the day after his interrogation.

The source added he was targeted for arrest after last Friday’s sermon in al-Aqsa Mosque, which called for unity for the sake of the holy site to defend it from the intrusion of settlers.

Twenty-one other Palestinians were also detained during raids across the occupied territories in Ramallah, Tulkarem, Qalqilia and Hebron. 

Qalandia is the largest Israeli checkpoint in the occupied territories, where Palestinian commuters are forced to go through humiliating inspections as they go about their daily lives. 

Thousands of Palestinians from across the West Bank have to pass through the crowded checkpoint to enter Jerusalem or go to work in Israel proper, waiting for hours each time they leave or return. 

The Israeli military staffs the checkpoint every day, 24 hours a day. Israeli-run private security companies, often just as hostile towards Palestinians as Israeli soldiers, sometimes take over operating the checkpoint’s surveillance. 

Checkpoints are a trademark feature of Israel's brutal occupation of Palestinian land.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967. More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which critics say is a bid to illegally annex the Palestinian territory. 

For over 50 years, Israel has refused to comply with UN Security Council resolution 242, which calls for its withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territories.