Al-Aqsa stormed by far-right extremist Israeli settlers

  • Post last modified:June 5, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Hundreds of far-right Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on Wednesday 5 June. The incursion occurred early in the morning. It has been widely condemned – just not by Israel or its Western allies.

Al-Aqsa: stormed again by far-right Israeli settlers

Witnesses reported that groups of settlers, escorted by heavily armed Israeli police, entered the compound through the al-Maghariba Gate. The settlers’ presence was part of a larger coordinated effort. They moved through the site while reciting prayers and singing nationalist songs:

Palestinian worshippers were at the mosque for morning prayers. Israeli settlers attacked them because they protested the intrusion. Israeli police responded with stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets – injuring several Palestinians.

As Wafa News Agency reported:

The occupation authorities sent in more than 3,000 policemen to occupied Jerusalem, and set up military checkpoints on the main roads, announcing that they would close major routes and push more of their police forces into the city on the eve of the so-called “flag march,” which will pass through the neighborhoods of Old Jerusalem and land in al-Buraq Wall Square.

Middle East Eye reported the so-called Flag March:

which is part of the Jerusalem Day holiday commemorating the occupation of the city in 1967, is a far-right parade associated with violence against Palestinians and the “display of incitement, Jewish dominance, and racism”, according to Israeli NGO Ir Amim.

Widespread condemnation – just not from the West

The Israeli extremists’ actions at Al-Aqsa have drawn sharp condemnation from Palestinian leaders and several international bodies.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the actions as a “dangerous escalation”. He called on the international community to intervene. “This provocation is a blatant attack on our religious and national identity,” Abbas stated.

Jordan holds custodianship over the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. It issued a strong rebuke. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry called the settlers’ actions a “violation of the status quo”. It also warned of the potential repercussions on regional stability:

Such acts undermine efforts to achieve peace and increase tensions in the occupied territories.

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, expressed concern over the incursion. He urged all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could further inflame an already volatile situation.

However, in Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government includes ministers who openly advocate for Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount.

Al-Aqsa: the thing end of the wedge

As Middle East Eye noted:

The Israelis performed Jewish rituals near al-Qattanin market and Bab al-Qattanin (The Cotton Merchants’ Gate), one of the main entrances to the mosque’s courtyards.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic site where unsolicited visits, prayers and rituals by non-Muslims are forbidden, according to decades-long international agreements.

With Israel having killed over 37,000 people in Gaza and hundreds in the Occupied Territories since 7 October, this latest far-right settler assault on Al-Aqsa should be widely condemned outside the Middle East. But it’s unlikely it will be.

Featured image via X – screengrab

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