Palestinians on Sunday condemned the assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex by Israeli police, who later fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at the Islamists’ third holiest site in Islam. Occupied East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian media.
Israeli police forcibly evacuated Muslim faithful to pave the way for Jewish visitors to one of the most sensitive sites of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Palestinian officials said.
The Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, said in a statement that it considered “the Israeli occupation government fully responsible for the escalation resulting from the Israeli incursion into the Al-Mosque complex. Aqsa in occupied Jerusalem. “
The AP called the Jewish visits provocative and “serious threats to security and stability.”
But Israeli police said early in the morning the young Palestinians “began throwing stones at the Temple Mount esplanade toward police forces, who dispersed them.”
Israeli police control and regulate Jewish visits to the site, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine, the holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina.
Muslims know the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Shrine, while Jews refer to the place of worship as the Temple Mount.
The incident took place two days before Eid al-Adha celebrated by Muslims and on the eve of their annual pilgrimage to the Hajj.
Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, called on Palestinians to go to Jerusalem and stay in the Al-Aqsa mosque until the prayers of Eid al-Adha.
“Rape and assault”
Jordan’s Islamic Waqf, which administers the site’s sacred sites, condemned the “rapes and attacks” committed by “Jewish fanatical groups, with the support and political coverage of the Israeli government,” a Palestinian website said in a statement. official Wafa, stating that Israel “intended a religious war.”
“Israeli actions against the mosque are rejected and condemned and represent a violation of the historical and legal status quo, international law and Israel’s obligations as an occupying power in East Jerusalem,” the ministry spokesman said. ‘Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Daifallah Al-Fayez. in a statement Sunday.
According to an unwritten agreement from the Ottoman era overseen by the Waqf, Muslims can pray at the site, while non-Muslims are only allowed to enter as tourists.
For its part, the EU delegation to the Palestinian territories in a tweet said it was “concerned about the ongoing tensions” and urged that there be no “acts of incitement”.
He also called for respect for the status quo of the place and urged Israeli, religious and community leaders to “urgently calm this explosive situation.”
“Freedom of worship”
But Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered that Jewish visits there “continue, keeping order in place,” he said in an official statement after the incident.
In a second statement following the condemnations of Waqf and PA, Bennett stressed that “freedom of worship on the Temple Mount will also be fully preserved for Muslims,” noting the upcoming Eid al-Adha festival.
On Sunday, the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av was also celebrated, which usually sees Israeli visitors to the sacred site increase.
Israeli media reported that more than 1,000 Israelis walked through Jerusalem Square. But a spokesman for a Jewish group encouraging those visits told AFP that 1,679 pilgrims were at the mosque grounds Sunday morning and afternoon.
They were mostly religious Jews, some with towed children, who roamed the place under heavy police guard to mark Tisha B’Av’s fasting day.
Concerned about the ongoing tensions around Haram Al-Sharif / Temple Mount. It is necessary to avoid acts of incitement and respect the status quo. Israeli authorities, religious and community leaders on all sides should act urgently to calm this explosive situation.
– EU and Palestinians (@EUpalestinians) July 18, 2021
Two years ago, when the Jewish and Muslim holidays coincided, dozens of Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces and seven more were arrested.
The area is located in the old walled city of Jerusalem and part of the territory that Israel captured in a Middle East war of 1967. Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980, in a step that was never recognized by the community. international.
In May, Israel launched an 11-day attack on the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces stormed the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, attacking Muslim faithful during the last days of Ramadan.
Israeli airstrikes against Gaza killed at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, while rockets fired by Palestinian groups killed at least 12 people, including two children. The climb ended with an internationally intermediate ceasefire.