Agreement grants Emirati, Bahraini tourists entry to Al-Aqsa: report
Tourists from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain who want to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque will be granted entry under a new agreement, Israeli reports said on Monday.
Visitors will be allowed in through the "Jordanian-Palestinian gates," after the Palestinian Authority and Jordan reached an agreement with representatives of the UAE and Bahrain, Israel Hayom reported.
The report claimed the agreement was reached after fighting erupted between Jerusalem Islamic Waqf authorities – in charge of controlling and managing Islamic edifices – and Emirati nationals who attempted to enter the mosque.
There are currently nine functioning entrances to the Al-Aqsa courtyard – one designated for Jews, while the rest are for Muslims.
The agreement allows Muslim visitors from the two Gulf countries to visit Al-Aqsa and other holy sites.
After signing a normalisation agreement in recent months, UAE and Bahraini nationals will be allowed to visit Israel for tourism the first time.
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Palestinians have shunned the agreement as a "betrayal", while anger has erupted in the streets in Jerusalem, where dozens protested against such deals.
Last month, Palestine's fatwa council head Mufti Muhammed Hussain deplored an Israeli-funded UAE delegation visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Despite the tensions, Israeli media cited an undiclosed official claiming the Al-Aqsa agreement also aims to "convey to US President-elect Joe Biden that the Palestinians do not reject the peace".
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