Israeli forces heighten restrictions as dozens of settlers storm Al-Aqsa

Ahram Online , AP , AFP , Sunday 1 Oct 2023

Israeli occupation forces tightened restrictions in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday as dozens of Israeli settlers, protected by the police, broke into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported.

Orthodox Jews outside from behind the door of the sacred Al Aqsa Mosque compound as Israeli police stand guard in occupied Jerusalem Old City. AP


Eyewitnesses said that dozens of settlers entered Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in successive groups through the Moroccan Gate and performed Talmudic rituals in its courtyards, under the pretext of celebrating the Jewish Sukkot holiday (Feast of the Tabernacles).

Israeli forces’ presence within the Al-Aqsa compound notably increased, obstructing the movement of Palestinian Muslim worshippers to facilitate the settlers' entry.

Video footage shared by the settlers showed them carrying vegetable offerings made of palm fronds, which they intended to sacrifice inside Al-Aqsa after successfully gaining access. Some settlers were also seen wearing garments resembling priestly attire.

The current status quo in Jerusalem allows freedom of worship exclusively for Muslims at the site, while followers of other religions are permitted to visit without engaging in any religious rituals.

Settlers attacks against Palestinians have increased in both scope and scale since Israel’s three-time prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, returned to office at the head of the most rightwing government in Israeli history.

Incidents of settler violence are now occurring at a rate of three a day, according to UN figures, up from two a day in 2022.

Earlier, a UN report stated on Friday that Israel has been violating the Palestinians' self-determination rights through prolonged occupation, settlement activities, and annexation of Palestinian territory since 1967.

"The legal consequence of violating the Palestinian people's right to self-determination, an obligation towards all, rests with the State of Israel," said The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.

It also affirmed that the Israeli occupation, which has persisted for 56 years, is illegal under international law, emphasizing that unlawful actions require legal consequences for Israel to put an end to "internationally unlawful acts."

The commission stressed that all nations and the UN are obligated to take immediate action to halt these measures.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates welcomed the report, considering it "one of the many international reports and recommendations that document and affirm the gravity of the Israeli crimes against Palestinians, which are often treated with disdain by Israel".

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