Israel bans Jewish visitors & non-Muslims from entering Al-Aqsa compound till Ramadan end

Ahram Online , Tuesday 11 Apr 2023

Jewish visitors and non-Muslim tourists will be prevented from entering al-Aqsa Mosque compound till the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in a statement on Tuesday

Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. AP

The statement added that "the decision came based on the recommendation of  Yoav Gallant, the minister of Defense, the Chief of Staff, the Shin Bet chief, and the Commissioner-General."

This decision comes in light of recent confrontations between palestinians and Israeli police in the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, which coincides this year with the Jewish Passover holiday.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have soared in the past week after a series of Israeli police raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which saw Israeli forces firing tear gas and beating worshippers with clubs while they were participating in Itikaf, a religious practice of seclusion inside mosques commonly observed during Ramadan.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third most sacred site in the Islamic faith and is the focal point for Ramadan celebrations.

Jews, who know the site as the "Temple Mount", are allowed to visit the site but not pray there.

Perior to the decision, Netanyahu held a meeting with his senior officials including Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

The far-right Israeli Minister of National Security, Itamar Ben Gvir, described in a statement, the move as "a serious mistake that will not bring peace, but may only escalate the situation".

On Tuesday morning, around 800 Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, under heavy protection of Israeli police, carrying out provocative tours and performing Talmudic rituals in its courtyards, Palestinian press agency SAFA reported.

The settlers entered the compound in groups through the Mughrabi Gate while Israeli police were deployed in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa, its gates, and on the roof of the Al-Qibli prayer hall, SAFA said, citing the Islamic Waqf, the Jordanian body responsible for administering the Al-Aqsa compound.

The police also forced Palestinians out of the compound under the pretext of filming the settlers.

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