Israeli police prevent Palestinians from praying at Al-Aqsa

Israeli police prevent Palestinians from praying at Al-Aqsa
3 min read
28 September, 2021
Israeli police prevented Palestinian citizens of Israel from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, citing 'incitement' by blocking a bus from Umm Al-Fahm and preventing worshippers who arrived at the holy site from entering.
Israeli police prevented Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa [Getty]

The Israeli police prevented Palestinian citizens of Israel from traveling to Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, citing "incitement", just a day after Israeli settlers stormed the holy site.

Local sources reported Israeli police on Tuesday at dawn stopping a bus carrying worshipers from the Palestinian-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm on its way to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the passengers searched by police.

Other worshipers from Umm Al-Fahm, who made it to Jerusalem, said police prevented them from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Chain Gate, known as Bab Al-Silsala in Arabic, Arab48 reported. 

Two young men, Mohammed Taher Jabarin from Umm Al-Fahm and Muhammad Steiti from Acre, were reportedly arrested en route to the holy site.

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The arrests came as Palestinians from East Jerusalem and inside of Israel issued calls for a pilgrimage to Al-Aqsa Mosque in response to settlers' incursions of the holy site that took place on Monday. 

The settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and raised Israeli flags, a prohibited move that angered Palestinians and the Raam-linked Islamic Movement inside of Israel.

Those waving the Israeli flag during the Sukkot holiday were briefly detained by police and escorted off the holy site to prevent further escalations.

The Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem said: "What is happening in terms of the persecution of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is an unprecedented act of aggression, especially raising the Israeli flag, blowing the trumpet, and performing Talmudic prayers in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa under the pretext of multiple and successive holidays."

The Islamist Raam movement, an organisation inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, urged right-wing Israelis to refrain from provoking conflict. 

"The racist right-wing has recently been trying to exploit the al-Aqsa Mosque for its political purposes. These violations have led to conflicts in the past and could lead to conflicts if the phenomenon continues," the movement warned.

"We have said this before and we will say it again, Al-Aqsa is a red line, and for us, it is the holiest shrine in this country," the Islamic Movement’s statement said.

"We will not allow any violation of its sanctity or any change in the status quo," it added.

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up 20 percent of the Israeli population and face systematic discrimination. They complain of being treated as second-class citizens in comparison to their Jewish counterparts.

Large segments of the Israeli public see Palestinian citizens as a demographic threat to Israel's Jewish identity, with discrimination entrenched across housing, public services, education and employment.

Palestinian citizens of Israel are often at odds with the Israeli police – an institution they believe is taking a passive role in stopping a gun violence epidemic within their community.