Jewish settlers 'storm East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with Israel security protection'

Jewish settlers 'storm East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with Israel security protection'
Large numbers of settlers accessed Al-Aqsa, the third most-sacred place in Islam, through the Al-Mugharbah Gate, the Islamic Waqf Department maintained.
2 min read
06 February, 2022
East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most-sacred place in Islam [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty-file photo]

Radical Israelis stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, the body responsible for running the site has said.

The Jewish settlers were protected by Israeli forces, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported, citing witnesses.

A large number of settlers accessed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, the third most-sacred place in Islam, through the Al-Mugharbah Gate, the Islamic Waqf Department maintained. It also said they had engaged in acts of worship.

The Israeli police claimed there had been "distorted and false coverage based on incorrect information that has no grip on reality".

In a statement to The New Arab, it contended: "As part of the regular visits to Temple Mount [the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex], the police acts in accordance to the visiting rules of the place, which are intended to enable public order, public peace, and security.

"These rules are transferred before the visitors enter the mountain area, and any deviation from the rules is treated accordingly.

"We will continue to allow visits to Temple Mount, subject to the visiting rules of the place and to maintain the safety and security of worshipers and visitors to the holy places in Jerusalem in general, and Temple Mount in particular."

The status quo at Al-Aqsa means the Jordanian-administered Islamic Waqf is responsible for the site and Jews are forbidden from praying while there. Many extremists in Israel have called for abolishing this understanding.

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In October, an Israeli judge ruled that the silent prayer of Jews at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex was not a "criminal act". It was the first decision by an Israeli court to support Jewish prayers at the flashpoint compound.

This prompted condemnation, including from the Christian Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem.

The New Arab has asked the Israel Police if the settlers who were at the Al-Aqsa complex on Sunday engaged in prayer, as the Islamic Waqf claimed.

Settler raids at Al-Aqsa are frequently decried as "provocative" by the Waqf, which maintains Palestinians praying there or protecting the site feel uneasy at Israeli extremists and security being there.

East Jerusalem was first occupied by Israel in 1967. It went on to annex the holy city in 1980.

This claim to sovereignty is rejected by almost all states and the United Nations considers East Jerusalem as Palestinian land.

Note: This article was updated at 20:54 GMT on 6 February to include a statement from the Israeli police.