Israeli settlers plan to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque: report
A group of Jewish extremists have reportedly called for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem on Sunday, in an apparent renewed call for violence against Palestinians, following Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip.
"On Sunday morning at 7:00, we will know if we have lost the war," said Assaf Farid, spokesman for the Federation of Temple Organizations, reported 48News.
During Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza, Farid went to the city of Lod and published a photo of himself holding an automatic weapon, declaring “we must do something” to incite further violence, noted Dr. Abdallah Marouf, Assistant Professor of Islamic History at Istanbul University.
Israeli Jewish settlers have often claimed their "right" to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which they refer to as Temple Mount, saying it was the site of two Jewish temples in biblical times.
Settlers planned to storm Al-Aqsa mosque compound on May 9, to mark the anniversary of Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, which took place in 1967 after it won a war against Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
This comes amid complaints about Israel still imposing a siege on East Jerusalem’s historic Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, with government-backed settlers planning to forcibly expel Palestinian residents.
Activist and resident of Sheikh Jarrah Alaa Salima told Arabi 21 that Israeli forces are imposing a siege on the neighbourhood for no reason, stressing that what is happening is "collective punishment against international law".
She told the Arabic-language news outlet that Israeli forces are protecting the settlers there, adding that they are turning Sheikh Jarrah into a closed military zone.
Israeli forces are still constantly stopping and searching local residents for proof of their identities, while Palestinians are often prevented from visiting relatives in the neighbourhood, Salima added.
She called for continued "solidarity with the neighbourhood and to lift the illegal siege of Sheikh Jarrah, which is collective punishment for civilians in wartime and is legally unacceptable".