Israel quietly allowed Jews to hold prayers at Al Aqsa mosque under police protection
The Israeli government has quietly allowed Jews to hold prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a move that poses threat to the site’s status quo.
The Jews are being let to pray at the site, also known to Jews as the Temple Mount, under the protection of Israeli police and army, in clear violation of a longstanding compromise aimed at staving off any conflict at the flashpoint.
Traditionally, Jews or non-Muslim are only allowed to visit the compound during specific hours, but they would not be allowed to conduct any prayers. The Western Wall below is specific for Jews to hold prayers.
Israel captured Jerusalem’s walled Old City and part of the territory in a 1967 Middle East war. It occupied East Jerusalem in 1980 in a step that was never recognized by the international community.
Since 1967, Israel had agreed to an agreement under which the al-Aqsa compound to be governed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, which is controlled by Jordan, while external security of the site will be handled by Israeli forces.
Jerusalem Islamic Waqf’s top official Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani has termed the happenings as a dangerous violation of the status quo. He said that the Israeli forces must stop protecting extremists.
The site, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, was segregated between the worshippers of both sides in 1994, after a US-born Israeli settler entered Al Aqsa Mosque compound and killed at least 29 Muslim worshipers.
Such moves by Israel could trigger violence in the compound, which recently witnessed major violence in May this year when occupant forces raided the mosque and attacked worshippers.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian has succumbed to injuries received during weekend clashes with Israeli forces on the Gaza border.
Reports said that dozens of Palestinians were injured during the clashes and 32-year-old Osama Khaled Deaih died after being shot by Israeli forces.
The protests come three months after a truce ended 11 days of conflict between Hamas and Israel.