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24 Dec, 2014

Hundreds of Singaporeans Visit al-Aqsa Mosque in Solidarity with Palestinians

JERUSALEM, December 23, 2014 (WAFA) – Hundreds of Muslim Singaporeans Tuesday visited al-Aqsa Mosque in the city of Jerusalem as an act of support, in light of the recent heightened Israeli measures against worshipers and protection of Israeli settlers, which have spiked tensions in the old city.

This visit comes at a time of mounting tensions in the city; the Mosque has been a target for daily Israeli settlers’ provocative visits, which are always backed by Israeli police, in addition to various measures aiming to make the city exclusive for Jews through accelerated home demolitions and land seizures.

The Mosque has been a scene for daily confrontations between Muslim worshipers and Israeli police members who provide protection for settlers storming the Mosque to perform religious rituals. Israelis claim they have a historical right to the Mosque, which they refer to as the ‘Temple Mount’.

To be noted, President Mahmoud Abbas, along with several high ranking officials, have made various calls urging the Islamic and Arab world to visit the Mosque to witness firsthand the Israeli violations.

Abbas earlier stressed that visiting the Mosque and the city is an ‘act of support with the prisoner and does not mean normalization with the warden.’ Few Muslim scholars were reported saying that visiting Jerusalem might give legitimacy to Israel and could be viewed as a form of normalization.

Abbas has continuously warned of the repercussions of Israel’s violations against the Mosque and other holy sites in the West Bank and Jerusalem, warning that it could turn the current political conflict into a religious clash.

Israel’s actions against the Mosque were internationally condemned; Israel has been continually urged to stop these actions that could only foil attempts to return to negotiations.

To be noted, the second Intifada in 2000, also known as al-Aqsa Intifada, was triggered by a visit to al-Aqsa mosque Compound by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and about 1,000 Israeli police, killing more than 4,000 Palestinians, including women and children.

Palestinians across the territory have been organizing several rallies in defense of al-Aqsa mosque, which were faced by violent Israeli response and suppression.