Israel’s Netanyahu to Impose Stringent Measures against al-Aqsa Protesters

JERUSALEM, September 16, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Wednesday to consider more stringent measures against Palestinians rock-throwers who protest against Jewish entry to al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police.

According to Israeli media, Netanyahu stressed during a Wednesday meeting in his office that Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at al-Aqsa Mosque, but he will not allow what he described as “rioters” to prevent Jews from visiting the site.

Netanyahu’s decision follows a three-day round of violent clashes which took place at the Islamic site, prompted by calls from Jewish fanatics to organize large-scale Jewish visits there to mark to beginning of the Jewish new year Rosh Hashanah.

On Tuesday, Israeli police attempted to storm al-Qibili Mosque in the compound and damaged its historical doors in order to detain Palestinian worshippers barricading themselves inside.

The clashes followed two days of similar incidents at the Mosque compound, with many Palestinians injured and detained by police and as Jewish settler groups called on Jews to en masse force their way into the Mosque.

Israel has been enforcing a unilateral temporal division on the mosque during the past  few weeks, a measure that was widely condemned and rejected, particularly by Jordan, which is responsible for Jerusalem’s holy sites in line with a 1994 peace treaty with Israel. The Israeli ongoing attacks on the mosque were also denounced by the US, UN, and EU.

The site witnessed similar renewing clashes last year between Palestinians and Israeli police, most frequently due to provocative visits by Jewish extremists who believe the mosque should be destroyed and replaced with a Jewish temple.

Despite the fact that the site is the location of al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place for Muslims, hundreds of Jewish extremists regularly attempt to legalize prayer at the compound.