Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have protested against ongoing incursions by Israeli settlers and police at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Many noted the irony that Palestinian Authority officials continue to hold "peace negotiations" with the Israelis despite such assaults on the sanctity of the Noble Sanctuary.
A number of Palestinian parliamentarians and Hamas leaders took part in the demonstrations; speakers denounced Israel's desecration of the mosque and rejected Jewish claims to have religious rights therein.
The protesters pledged to protect the mosque, the third holiest in Islam. The residents of Jerusalem were called upon to remain steadfast in the face of such Israeli provocations.
Parliamentarian Mosheer Al-Masri blamed PA officials in Ramallah for their complicity with the Israeli occupation authorities in allowing Jewish extremists to enter the mosque, as well as the Israeli government's ongoing Judaisation of the Holy City. He warned of an "explosion" among Muslims worldwide if this is allowed to go unchecked.
PA officials have said repeatedly that continuous Israeli aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque might undermine the peace talks, but meetings with the Israelis still go ahead as usual.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad