Israeli settlers stormed the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday morning, accompanied by military reinforcement security from the Israeli occupation army.
According to the sources of the Islamic Endowments Department, Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, was leading a group of Israeli extremist settlers who entered through the Mugrabi Gate in the western wall of the mosque.
Ariel is from the â€śJewish Homeâ€ť party, which is known for its far right positions towards Palestinians and Arabs, PNN further reports. He led an incursion into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which led to confrontations between worshipers and the occupation forces on 13 September, 2015.
This follows a 3-year ban that Netanyahu imposed on members of Knesset, which prohibited them from visiting the holy site, due to security concerns.
In June of this year, that ban was lifted and Knesset members were allowed to visit once every three months, although this rule has already been dismissed, as this most recent entry is preceded by a similar one in mid-November.
Since the ban was lifted, there has been an increase in settler activity and disturbance, whereas Al-Aqsa is â€śbeing subjected to daily dangerous raids and violations that provoke the feelings of the Muslims and Arabs,â€ťÂ Jordanâ€™s Minister of Endowment Abdel Nasser Abul Basal said, in early December.
Abul Basal said that â€śit is our dutyâ€ť to open a dialogue with the global community â€śabout the dangers facing the holy site through an international conferenceâ€ť, including a focus on holy Christian sites that may be threatened in Jerusalem. The conference will take place on 20 December 2018.
In Islamic religion, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock is the third holiest site and the most holy site to the Jewish religion.
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.