Tensions continue to mount in Jerusalem even as Israel began removing metal detectors outside the Al-Aqsa mosque, a holy site in the occupied East Jerusalem. The protesters are demanding that all the other measures be withdrawn as well, including the CCTV cameras installed after July 14.
The worshippers have said that they will not enter Al- Aqsa mosque, their holiest site after Mecca and Medina, until cameras and other security measures are removed by the Israelis. The protesters see the new security installations by the occupying Israeli forces, as an attempt to extend Israel’s illegal control over the mosque.
According to reports, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations (UN) said that the Al-Aqsa mosque compound crisis is at a “tipping point”. In his address, Riyad Mansour alleged that Israel is stoking a religious conflict through aggressive behavior and provocative violations.
The Israeli police closed the mosque and put a ban on prayers including the Friday congregations after three Palestinians and two Israeli policemen were killed in a shootout in the mosque compound. After this incident, Israeli forces installed metal detectors and surveillance cameras near the mosque - triggering clashes and protests. Worshippers held prayers on streets as a mark of protest against what they called as Israel’s use of excessive force.
The prayers were held on the streets even on Tuesday following which the Israeli forces used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the worshippers, injuring many among them.
The area, under Israel’s illegal occupation since the 1967 six day war, is administered by the religious endowment departmentof Jordan. This turn of events at Al Aqsa has increased concerns among the Muslim countries, with many among them accusing Israel of provoking the Palestinians.
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, with 57 member states, slammed Israel stating it as an occupying force that does not have any legal authority on Jerusalem and the Islamic and Christian sites in the city.
Referring to Israel’s security measures near Al Aqsa, Turkey’s President RecepTayyibErdogan said that the occupational forces are attempting to snatch the holy site from Muslims. "What Israel is doing at the moment is an attempt to take Al-Aqsa Mosque away from Muslim hands," he said.
Al Aqsa mosque is highly revered among Muslims and is often used as a symbolic representation of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. In 2000, Israel’s Ariel Sharon entered the holy site with a thousand Israeli policemen triggering the Second Intifada, in which more than three thousand Palestinians were killed.
Stating that Israel is trying to change the nature of the conflict from political to religious, Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Alaija said India has a role to play and could support them.
“When President Mahmoud Abbas visited the country in May, the reception of the Indian government was very positive and encouraging. India has always supported Palestinian cause and we expect them to play a positive role,” he told reporters here on Wednesday.
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