Protesters marched following Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in condemnation of “dangerous Israeli escalations’ at the holy site, locals said.Protesters held signs reading “Al-Aqsa is a symbol of our religion,’ and ‘We support Al-Aqsa with our souls and blood,” witnesses said, according to Ma’an News Agency.
Demonstrators condemned ongoing restrictions at the holy site on Friday, which locals said include restricted accessfor women and youths, the holding of ID cards of elderly men who have been allowed entry, closing the gates of the mosque and setting up barricades, allowing Jewish worshipers to tour the site, and assaulting Muslim worshipers at the entry gates.
During the march, protesters also called upon Islamic and Arab countries to start “serious work and action” to prevent dividing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to intervene before ‘it is too late.’
A holy leader at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Muhammad Salim Mohammad Ali, condemned the alleged Israeli violations at the site.
Following Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 — considered illegal under international law — Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa compound to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area.
However, Israeli forces regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism’s most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.
See archive IMEMC story: Israeli Municipality Hangs “Temple Mount” Sign near Al-Aqsa for further info on this topic.