JERUSALEM, April 22, 2015 (WAFA) – Jewish settlers Wednesday broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound through Bab El-Magharbeh (Dung Gate) bridge, and toured its yard under the heavy protection of Israeli police units, said WAFA correspondent.
Israeli settlers gathered early Wednesday at the Western Wall, to commemorate the so-called ‘Israel’s Declaration of Independence’. Israeli Temple organizations and institutions in Jerusalem, which regularly and extensively work to facilitate settlers visits to the Islamic site, called for and organized this event , during which they aim to raise Israel’s flag in the Mosque’s yards. The event will fall between 7:30am until 6pm.
These events coincide with Israeli calls to commemorate the so called national and private “Memorial Day”, at several cemeteries and war memorials across Israel, with the slogan of ‘the Temple Mount in our hands’.
The so-called “Students for the Temple” said in the announcements for this day that they will carry out a mass action in Al-Aqsa Mosque; perform Talmudic rituals and prayers to mourn their claimed to be victims of the war.
According to are calls circulated through social media, several settler groups plan on commemorating Israeli soldiers and sharing stories of those who were killed.
During the event, an audio recording of the broadcaster of the Israeli army, Mordechai Gur screaming on the radio in 1967: The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands! All forces stop firing! This is the David Operations Room. All forces stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing!”
They pointed out also that during the event ‘Students for Temple’ will listen to this phrase during the march, and will play it on their phones at Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.
A total of 1,268 Israelis stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in East Jerusalem during March alone, according to a Palestinian non-governmental organization.
Al-Aqsa Institute for Waqf and Heritage reported that a total of 1,268 stormed the Mosque’s compound during March, including 1,114 settlers, 115 intelligence officers, 39 soldiers. The number of settlers ranged between a minimum of 23 and a maximum of 140 every day.
Despite the fact that the site is the location of al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, two of the most holy destinations for Muslims, hundreds of Jewish extremists regularly attempt to legalize prayer at the compound, a move that will “inevitably” trigger Palestinians, said Israeli police.
Israeli media reported that though the Supreme Court upholds Jews’ “theoretical” right to pray at the compound, it gives the security services the green light to ban Jews from performing rituals should such action result in potential unrest.
Realizing the sensitivity of the site, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to maintain the status quo and that “Israel’s policy towards a ban on Jewish prayer… would not change”, a statement which came after Housing Minister Uri Ariel suggested that the Al-Aqsa Mosque could be replaced by a Jewish temple.”
Despite of the ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and demolishing of Palestinian-owned homes, Israeli officials remain cautious when dealing with Al-Aqsa Mosque issue as they believe changing the status quo would lead to a third Palestinian intifada (uprising).
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, it would eventually lead to a permanent change which will result in full Israeli control and ban on Muslims’ prayer.
Such fears are not groundless; Palestinians claim that their 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.
According to the Islamic Institute of Waqf and Heritage, in the first week of March around 200 settlers broke into Al-Aqsa compound with a total of 73 settlers entering the site.
The institute renewed calls on Palestinians from the sharp increase in settlers’ visits saying that it requires a serious action by all Arabs and Muslims, before it is too late.