Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound on last day of Rosh Hashanah
Israeli forces forcibly removed Palestinians from the mosque’s courtyard to make way for scores of Jewish settlers and arrested at least three Palestinians for resisting.
Additionally, a large number of Israeli soldiers were deployed inside the courtyards of the compound and at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque itself, as well as around the entrances to the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem.
The soldiers were reportedly preventing any Palestinian aged under 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa compound.
Sunday's incursions at Al-Aqsa came after extremist settler groups had called for a large-scale storming of the mosque by Jews to perform prayers in the Islamic holy site, an act considered illegal, on the last day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
Media coverage: "Israeli occupation police assault Palestinian women trying to defend Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid provocative visits by extremist Israeli settlers to the holy site, today." pic.twitter.com/kRkiDW3mFe— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) September 17, 2023
The Temple movement in Israel believes that Al-Aqsa was the site of the ancient Temple of Solomon and continues to push for Israel to assert full sovereignty over the Islamic holy site, which is also a symbol of Palestinian identity.
Any attempt by Israel to claim sovereignty over Al-Aqsa and allow Jewish prayers there would be a major incitement and almost certainly lead to widespread and potentially unprecedented violence.
However, such incursions have been growing in recent times, particularly with the rise of the Israeli extreme right in the mainstream of the self-proclaimed Jewish state’s political scene.
Several far-right ministers in the coalition government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu identify with this movement, most notably the Minister for National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, who took part in an internationally condemned incursion into Al-Aqsa earlier this year.
The Islamic Waqf, the Jordan-run authority in charge of the holy site, has repeatedly called for international intervention to prevent these incursions, which are seen as a direct challenge to the status quo of the holy site and an affront to the sentiments of Muslims worldwide.