Former Israeli Minister of Internal Security and Shin Bet director Avi Dichter, on Wednesday morning, stormed the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque under strict guard of Israeli occupation police.
PNN sources confirmed that Dichter, accompanied by a group of settlers and guarded by occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa and made several provocative rounds in the courtyards.
It is the third holiest site in Islam and also venerated as Judaismâ€™s most holy place, alleged to be the original site of Solomonâ€™s Temple. Disputes surrounding visitation to the site have historically flared tensions in the occupied Palestinian territory.
In 2003, the Israeli government unilaterally decided â€” despite the objections of the Islamic Endowments Department â€” to allow non-Muslim visitors into the complex.
Since then, under increasingly right-wing Israeli governments, extremist Jewish settlers have been allowed into the site in ever greater numbers â€” usually protected by Israeli security forces â€” while Palestinian access to the site has become increasingly restricted.
The number of Israeli settlers storming the holy site has risen sinceÂ US president Donald Trumpâ€™s declaration of occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.Â Members of the so-called â€śTemple Mountâ€ť movement have been publicly calling its followers to participate in wide scale mass raids on the holy site.
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.