Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

22 Jul, 2015

As Ramadan Ends, Jewish fanatics Resume Provocative Visits to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

JERUSALEM, July 20, 2015 (WAFA) – Unable to organize provocative visits to Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque during the fasting month of Ramadan, when Palestinian Muslims maintain a permanent presence in the holy site, Jewish settlers on Monday resumed their regular daily visits to the holy site.

WAFA correspondent said groups of settlers entered the site gradually in the morning, almost two weeks since they were last allowed entry into the site by the Israeli police, which prohibits entry of Jews into the site during the last 10 days of Ramadan given the large numbers of Muslim worshipers who fill the yards for prayers.

The settlers toured the site before a number of worshipers present there shouted religious chants to demonstrate their anger against the Jewish presence at the site, the third holiest place in Islam.

According to the Islamic Foundation for Waqf and Heritage, over 80,000 Palestinians performed Eid prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque yards after Israel allowed thousands from the cities of the West Bank entry into Jerusalem.

Even though Israel granted hundreds of thousands permits to enter Jerusalem as well as allowed both women and men of certain age to enter freely, the decision has been met with suspension since day one.

Vice President of the Islamic movement in Israel Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib said that this decision should be “looked at with a skeptical eye”, predicting the “next stage to be very difficult on Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Many Palestinian worshipers who stay at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan and throughout the year have received banning orders from the Israeli court, preventing them from entering or praying at the holy site.

Sources in Jerusalem reported that Israel has put together a black list of all activists and worshipers who remain at Al-Aqsa Mosque and threatened to impose grave sanctions on them and their families, including the demolition of their homes.

Zena Amro, a female activist and one of the worshipers staying at Al-Aqsa Mosque has received a demolition order of her house which was built in 1964, before Jerusalem was occupied.

The site has been at the heart of unrest in recent months as Palestinian protester took to the streets over frequent and increasing Jewish visitors to the holy compound.

Palestinians worry that if Jewish visitors were allowed to pray in the holy al-Aqsa Mosque’s yards daily, it would eventually lead to a permanent change, which will result in full Israeli control and ban on Muslims’ entry and prayer.

The fear stems from ongoing Israeli policy which prevents Palestinians living in the West Bank from obtaining permits to enter Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque and many restrictions on Jerusalemites’ entrance to the holy Compound, including holding their identity cards until they leave the Mosque.

Settlers’ provocative visits to the holy site have given rise to mass protests in the holy city in recent months, during which hundreds of Palestinians were apprehended by Israeli police.