As the holy festival of Ramadan begins for the world’s Muslim community, Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa mosque compound again, this morning, under the protection of Israeli police.
Over two dozen settlers entered the compound from the Moroccan Gate and tried to perform prayers there, according to the PNN.
Palestinians worshippers and students tried to prevent the settlers from entering the mosque and, during the confrontation, clashes broke out in which forces fired tear gas and stun grenades, causing many cases of suffocation.
Later on, another group of settlers and tourists tried to enter the compound, again accompanied by Israeli police.
Eyewitnesses said that the people in the group were carrying cameras in order to take photos of the compound, where they called for the construction of a ‘third’ Jewish temple on the area.
Jewish people believe Al-Aqsa to be the site of the first and second temples, with a number of advocates attempting to recruit Christian groups, mostly of Western denominations, in the campaign, going so far as to suggest bombing the mosque.
Christians, however, remain divided on the issue, as the Bible states: ‘I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.’ ~Revelation 21:22
Additionally, escalating attacks against both Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Israel and the oPt amount to over 500, over the past five years.
A number of churches have since taken up the cause of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in response to the violations by both Israeli authorities and settlers in this regard.
Pope Francis, on his last day of a recent 3-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, called for allowing all believers free access to holy sites in Jerusalem.
Related link: Presbyterian Church USA Joins Divestment Movement Challenging Israeli Occupation
Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.