Israeli settlers again storm Al-Aqsa Mosque

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 Jun 2023

Scores of Israeli settlers guarded by police stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday, in what has become a routine occurrence, Palestine News agency (WAFA) reported.

File photo
FILE PHOTO: Israeli settlers break into Al-Aqsa Mosque. WAFA


The Israeli settlers entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate (Al-Maghariba) in groups to pray.

The Islamic Waqf, the Jordan-run authority in charge of the holy site, has repeatedly described the settlers' presence in Al-Aqsa Mosque as a provocation against Palestinian worshippers, who feel unsafe.

Under a longstanding status quo, non-Muslims can visit the site at specific times but are not allowed to pray there.

However, Israeli settlers and politicians routinely violate the arrangement under heavy police protection. On 4 June, Israeli settlers led by extremist Israeli rabbi and MP Yehuda Glick stormed the compound to pray. Before that, on 21 May, Israel's right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir entered the holy site.

These incidents reached a head in April when Israeli police assaulted the mosque, which had been occupied by Palestinian worshippers, injuring at least 50 and arresting hundreds.

Palestinians see these acts of settler violence as part of the Israeli governments efforts, under Benjamin Netanyahu's new nationalist-religious coalition, to “Judaize” Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories beyond the confines of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Settler violence

On Sunday morning, Israeli settlers grazed their sheep on Palestinian groves in Masafer Yatta area, south of Hebron in the West Bank, causing significant destruction to crops, according to WAFA.

"Local Palestinians were denied access into their own lands by the Israeli occupation army during the presence of the settlers," WAFA said.

Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian civilians in the neighborhoods of Wadi Hasin and Jaber in Hebron.

A WAFA correspondent said Israeli settlers, protected by the army, attacked residents of the two neighbourhoods with stones and dogs, injuring an unknown number of Palestinians.

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