Israelis beat Palestinians as Jewish extremists storm Al-Aqsa

TEHRAN, May 30 (MNA) – Hundreds of Jewish religious nationalists on Sunday stormed the second-holiest site in Islam under the protection of Israeli police, sparking outrage and anger among Muslims across the world.

The storming came ahead of what Israelis call “Jerusalem Day”, which marks the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel in the 1967 war. Every year, hundreds of Israel far-right groups stage provocative procession through the Old City to mark Israeli Flag March which falls on Jerusalem Day. The occasion almost always comes with a warning about the possible flare-up of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Just as many other Israeli occasions, notably Independence Day, Jerusalem Day represents a dark chapter in the history of Palestine. With their annual Flag March, Jewish extremists keep reminding the Palestinians of the day when their city was occupied by Israel, thereby rubbing salt into historical wounds that never healed. 

This year’s provocations began when Israeli extremists dangerously stormed a place in which Jewish worship is prohibited even under Israeli law, sparking concerns about an Israeli plot to change Jerusalem’s delicate status quo. 

On Sunday, groups of far-right Jewish nationalists broke into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of the provocative flag march. 

The groups were led by a ringleader of a small ultranationalist opposition party in the Knesset early on Sunday. Itamar Ben-Gvir led his supporters into the compounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque. 

Simultaneously, Israeli forces occupied the rooftop of the al-Qibli prayer hall in the compound on Sunday morning and besieged the worshippers inside it to enable the passage of settlers to go unhindered, according to Al Jazeera. 

The Israelis have prevented Palestinian journalists and photographers from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque and threatened them with arrest.

Israeli forces have fired rubber bullets at Palestinian protesters in the compound, in an effort to disperse them.

At least 18 Palestinians have been arrested from within occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police said.

The Sunday developments raised alarm bells about Israel planning to change the status of the Al Aqsa Mosque. The Chief Rabbinate of Israel and Israeli law do not permit Jewish worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. But this was violated on Sunday, which led officials in occupied Jerusalem to warn that the violations that took place in Al-Aqsa Mosque during the storming of settlers, who numbered more than a thousand settlers in the morning tour, are a prelude to a new phase in the mosque.

In an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Azzam Al-Khatib, Director General of the Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem, said that “the settlers have profaned everything that was previously prohibited during their storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” and that they performed prayers, dances and religious “lying” on the ground.

Al-Khatib added, “What is said about the religious situation in Al-Aqsa, the settlers have changed it today, under the eyes of the police and the occupation government…. What happened today in Al-Aqsa Mosque is a dangerous thing that we did not witness before.”

The director of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, Omar Al-Kiswani, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that he views with seriousness what the settlers did. Al-Kiswani indicated that the occupation authorities want to impose a new phase inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, holding the occupation government fully responsible for what is happening, and any reaction to it.

This may be the reason why Nasser Qaws, a leader of the Fatah Movement in Jerusalem, told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, “What happened in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque is a black day in the history of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The Palestinian presidency also had to react to Israeli provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, calling them “playing with fire.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said today that Israel is irresponsibly and recklessly playing with fire by allowing settlers to desecrate the holy sites in occupied Jerusalem and by escalating the killing of Palestinians, according to state news agency WAFA.

Abu Rudeineh told Voice of Palestine radio that “Israel is disregarding the international community,” and that it “does not respect the decisions of international legitimacy, and considers itself to be above the law.”

First published in Tehran Times

News Code 187354

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