Over 1,000 Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound in two days

Over 1,000 Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound in two days
Hundreds of Israeli settlers roamed the Al-Aqsa compound in separate groups on Sunday and Monday, as Israeli police arrested six Palestinians and tightened police control over the occupied city.
3 min read
West Bank
07 June, 2022
The storming on Sunday and Monday included the largest number of Israeli settlers since April with the exception of the fanatical 'flag march' last week. [Getty]

More than 1,000 Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound in occupied Jerusalem between Sunday and Monday, Al-Aqsa compound's director, Sheikh Omar Kiswani, told The New Arab.

"We haven't seen these numbers of settlers storming the sanctuary since Ramadan, last April, except on the day of the flag march a week ago," said Kiswani.

"Settlers are trying to impose new realities at each time," noted Kiswani. "On Sunday and Monday, near one of the sanctuary's gates, settlers danced and performed 'the laying down' ritual, which is all totally new inside Al-Aqsa compound." 

In late May, an Israeli court allowed Israeli settlers to perform loud prayers in the Al-Aqsa compound before the Israeli appeal court overruled the decision.

In October 2021, another Israeli court allowed non-Muslims to hold silent prayers in the compound. According to the historically-observed status-quo of Al-Aqsa, only Muslims are allowed to pray in the sanctuary.

The latest storming by Israeli settlers to Al-Aqsa occurs in the midst of tightening Israeli control measures over Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, which was implemented a few days prior to an Israeli flag march held by Jewish extremists last week.

"Israeli police arrested six Palestinians in the city again on Sunday, including a 12-year-old child," Amjad Abu Assab, spokesperson for the Jerusalem detainees' families committee, told The New Arab.

"Israeli police assaulted a number of Palestinians just outside the compound and banned two women from entering the Al-Aqsa compound after detaining them briefly," Abu Assab added.

"I too was banned from entering the compound on Monday, which is why I couldn't be at Al-Aqsa to document the settlers storming," Mohammad Abu Humus, a media activist in Jerusalem, told The New Arab.

"Since the flag march, settlers have increased their activity in spaces where Palestinians gather in the city," Abu Humus noted.

On Sunday, Israeli settlers held a religious celebration in al-Musrarah street, across the Damascus Gate, where Palestinians gather, and confrontations were reported.

"Israeli police were present in large numbers and began to push Palestinians away by force," Abu Humus said of the incident. "Several people were hurt, including an elderly man."

On Monday, the Jordanian minister of religious affairs said in a statement that Jordan "follows with great concern Israeli violations in Al-Aqsa mosque." Jordan holds religious custody over Jerusalem's holy places under the status quo, which has remained unchanged since 1967.

But in early May, Israeli prime minister Neftali Bennett said that "Israel alone holds sovereignty over Jerusalem," leading to a deterioration of ties between the two countries.

The latest escalation in Jerusalem has occurred only two days after the White House announced postponing US president Joe Biden's visit to Israel, originally scheduled for this month, to July.