Newspaper Review: Muslims Access to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Quelling Friday Marches as Focus of Dailies

RAMALLAH, July 11, 2015 (WAFA) – Muslim Palestinians’ access into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the fourth Friday prayers during the holy month of Ramadan coupled with the quelling of weekly Friday marches across the West Bank by Israeli forces, are two news items that hit the front page headlines in Palestinian dailies.

Covering Palestinians’ access into Al-Aqsa Mosque as its main front page news item, al-Quds reported that over a quarter million worshipers performed Friday prayers inside the mosque compound. The same number was reported in the two other dailies.

Al-Quds added that thousands of Palestinians were prevented from crossing into Jerusalem for Friday prayers as a result of the tightened Israeli entry restrictions.

The three dailies printed a photo featuring worshipers raising a huge flag of Palestine with the a slogan that read “Oh Arabs, Oh Muslims, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa are in danger” printed on it.

Also related to the fourth Friday of Ramadan, al-Quds reported that demonstrations and marches were held in al-Aqsa Mosque, Gaza as well as in several Arab and Islamic capitals in commemoration of the annual al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

It also reported that 17,000 Palestinian worshipers prayed at the Ibrahimi Mosque, also known as Cave of the Patriarchs, in Hebron’s Old City.

On the other hand, al-Ayyam opted to cover new Israeli settlement plans in its main front page news item.

It reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved a plan to build settler units to the north of Ramallah. Al-Hayat al-Jadida noted in this regard that Netanyahu has ‘legalized’ settler units in the two Israeli settlements of ‘Shvut Rachel’ and ‘Shilo’ to the north of Ramallah.

Al-Quds reported that Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian young man from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-‘Amud and injured dozens of activists as they proceeded to quell the weekly Friday marches against wall and settlement construction across the West Bank.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported in this regard that a Palestinian girl was detained after being assaulted by Israeli forces while attempting to cross into East Jerusalem to pray inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It also reported Israeli settlers as demanding that Palestinians suspected of committing the latest string of attacks against settlers across the West Bank be held accountable.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported senior Hamas official Isma‘il Haniyeh as saying that a period of detente is drawing closer and there won’t be a return to war.

He was also reported in al-Hayat al-Jadida as saying that the Israeli blockade on Gaza will be brought to an end soon without any political price.

Another Hamas senior official, Salah al-Bardawil, was quoted in al-Quds as saying: “We are consolidating the ceasefire and seeking to lift the blockade.”

Al-Ayyam highlighted the issue of Israeli soldier of Jewish Ethiopian descent, Avraham Mengistu, who has reportedly gone missing and allegedly detained by Hamas in Gaza.

It reported that Deputy Israeli Prime Minister, Lior Lotan, has humiliated and threatened Mengistu’s family, causing an upheaval across Israel.

PLO Executive Committee Member Saeb Erekat was reported in al-Quds as having held separate meetings with the EU Special Representative to the Middle East Peace Process Fernando Gentilini and Acting US Consul Genweral Dorothy Shea.

Fatah Central Committee Member Nabil Sha‘ath was reported in al-Ayyam as saying that the Spanish Government has promised to consider recognizing the Palestinian state.

EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah were reported in al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadida as expressing their concerns over the construction of the separation wall in the Cremisan valley near Beit Jala.

Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that the Arab-Israeli Joint List party has demanded that Israeli Minister of Internal Security Gilad Ardenne reverse the decision to ban broadcasting channel ‘Palestine 48’ in Israel.

Finally, al-Hayat al-Jadida reported that President Mahmoud Abbas has extended his condolences to Saudi King over the death of former Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal.