Israeli settlers invade al-Aqsa Mosque compound

Jewish settlers lying on the ground in al-Aqsa Mosque’s eastern area

ISRAELI settlers have once again invaded the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem in the latest act of provocation against the sacred Palestinian site.

Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported that, on the eve of the Jewish holiday, scores of Israeli settlers, escorted by military forces, broke into the compound through the Moroccan Gate on Sunday and provocatively performed rituals and Talmudic prayers.
Hundreds of settlers were also reported performing rituals in the Al-Buraq Wall plaza, which overlooks the Mosque from the west.
The incident took place amid calls by Israeli settler organisations to hold mass break-ins into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of the Jewish holidays on September 29.
In a statement on Thursday, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas had warned of ‘repercussions’ over Israel’s incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque before the start of the Jewish holidays when settler raids on the super-sensitive compound mount.
‘The continuation of the Zionist aggression and their brutality against al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the holy shrines will be the cause of a major battle,’ said Mahmud Zahar, a senior member of the Gaza-based resistance movement.
Pointing to Palestinian concerns that a long-standing convention by which Israeli Jewish settlers may visit but not pray in the holy site was being covertly flouted, Zahar said that Israel would be held ‘fully responsible for the repercussions of such violations.’
Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in Jerusalem.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, but according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government in the wake of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited.
The Grand Mufti of al-Quds (Jerusalem), Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, has warned against the increasing break-ins by Israeli settlers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City, saying they are an attempt to change the status quo of the holy Palestinian site.
Speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio on Sunday, the senior cleric said the mosque is a pure Islamic holy site and that it is the sole right of Muslims to worship there, and Israeli settlers have no right to pray or perform rituals there.
He further called on the Muslim world to intervene to stop the ongoing incursions by Israeli soldiers and settlers into the al-Aqsa Mosque which, he says, have turned into systematic violations aimed at changing the status quo of the holy site.
His remarks came after Israeli settlers, earlier that day, had once again intruded into the compound in their latest act of provocation against the sacred site.
The incident took place amid calls by Israeli settler organisations to hold mass break-ins into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound ahead of the Jewish holidays on September 29.
Meanwhile, the preacher of al-Aqsa Mosque and former Grand Mufti of al-Quds, Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri, has also warned that the most dangerous threat that is facing the holy site nowadays is the intensive break-ins that are carried out by extremist settlers.
‘The plan to use the shofar (trumpet) in the al-Aqsa Mosque’s courtyards means imposing the Jewish religion on al-Aqsa Mosque and performing rituals of non-Muslims, and this also means imposing a new fait accompli at the mosque and controlling it gradually,’ the cleric, who is currently heading the Higher Islamic Council in al-Quds, said on Saturday.

  • Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas told the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday that the Israeli regime ‘does not believe in peace,’ citing Tel Aviv’s litany of chronic abuses against Palestinians.

He condemned the Israeli regime for conducting ‘a frantic campaign to confiscate our lands, to build settlements, to loot our resources as if this land were empty…’ Abbas told the UNGA.
‘Our trust in the possibility of achieving peace based on justice and international law unfortunately is waning due to the Israeli occupation policies.’
And he noted the occupying regime ‘has decided not to be our partner in the peace process.’
Abbas said he was speaking on behalf of more than 14 million Palestinians whose fathers and ancestors ‘lived through the tragic Nakba, 74 years ago.’
The Nakba (Catastrophe) Day in 1948 saw the Israeli regime proclaiming its illegal existence after forcibly driving over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes during a heavily-Western-backed war.
Thousands of people have taken part in mass rallies across the globe to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba Day.
The Palestinians, Abbas added, ‘are still living the spillover of this Nakba, which is a humiliation for the whole of humanity, especially for those who have conspired, planned, and executed this heinous crime.’
He also demanded that the United States – the Israeli regime’s biggest international supporter – pursues the investigation into the Israeli regime’s assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh, the veteran Palestinian-American journalist who was shot and killed by Israeli snipers near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on May 11.
‘As well as having Palestinian nationality, she was also an American citizen,’ Abbas said.
‘I dare the United States to prosecute those who killed this American national, but they won’t. Why? Because they are Israelis’ he said, referring to the Washington-backed impunity, with which the Israeli regime kills Palestinians and violates their rights on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, A plainclothes Israeli officer has fatally shot a Palestinian near the city of Ramallah in the Tel Aviv-occupied West Bank over an alleged stabbing attack.
The officer gunned down the victim near the Beit Sera military checkpoint southwest of Ramallah on Thursday, the Palestine Information Centre news agency reported.
‘A border police officer in plain clothes, who was driving in the area, saw the attack and fired several shots at the suspect, killing him,’ it said.
And on Saturday, Israeli troops murdered a Palestinian, Mohammed Abu Kafia, 36, after shooting him at a military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.
Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) troops and police officers were conducting joint ‘routine activity’ in the area, according to the military.
The army claimed the driver, later identified as Mohammad Ali Abu Kafia, had tried to deliberately run over soldiers, and characterised the incident as an attack.
Meanwhile, the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, citing the man’s cousin, asserted that he had lost control of his vehicle after his car crashed into a police vehicle in the northern West Bank, and was not, as the military claimed, trying to ram the soldiers.
He was a teacher and a father of three.
Israeli forces have gunned down scores of Palestinians, both resistance fighters and civilians, across the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the year, accusing them of staging attacks against Israelis.
‘Palestinian youths have been escalating their resistance activities across the occupied territories, in response to the settlers’ plans to organise mass raids into the al-Aqsa Mosque,’ the Palestinian news agency wrote.

  • Israeli authorities have forced a Palestinian man to demolish his own house in occupied East Jerusalem, displacing all eight members of his family.

The Palestinian Information Centre, citing local sources, reported on Sunday that Fareed Jaber was left with no choice but to totally knock down his own house near the Bab al-Asbat entrance of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City to avoid having to pay for heavy demolition costs and fines to the municipality.
Jaber had received a demolition notice from the Israeli municipality under the pretext that his house had been built without a permit.
He was given the choice of either tearing down the house at his own expense or having the demolition carried out by Israeli authorities, which would have required him to pay huge fines for the operation. His family of eight was rendered homeless as a result of the Israeli move.
Israel routinely demolishes Palestinian houses in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem), claiming the structures have been built without the so-called permits – which are almost impossible to obtain.
They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own houses or pay the demolition costs.
Israel has already occupied thousands of dunums of Palestinian agricultural land to construct and expand new illegal settler units in various areas in the West Bank.
The Tel Aviv regime also plans to force out Palestinian families from neighbourhoods in East al-Quds in an attempt to replace them with settlers.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The United Nations Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.