Protected by Israeli police officers, a large number of rabbis and illegal settlers have entered Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark the Jewish Passover. The mosque is the third holiest place in Islam.
According to a live despatch sent to MEMO on Wednesday morning, hundreds of Israeli rabbis and Jewish settlers entered the courtyards of the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa protected by Israeli police. They carried out religious rituals inside the mosque. The senior guard at the mosque, Dr Najed Bokeerat, said that almost 900 foreign tourists were also allowed to enter the sacred site.
Al-Aqsa Foundation for Religious Endowments and Islamic Heritage, which confirmed the settlers' incursion, said that Israeli occupation forces drove almost all Muslim worshippers and students out of the mosque on Tuesday evening. "They have prevented Muslims from entering the mosque since then," said a spokesman for the Foundation. Israeli police are posted at all of the sanctuary's gates.
Member of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin said on Tuesday that he was planning to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark Passover. He called on all settlers to join him. Palestinian officials and activists warned of potential violent consequences as a result of the MK's inflammatory statement.
Dr Bokeerat told MEMO that Israeli police prevented Feiglin from entering the mosque today after a large number of Palestinians gathered in the vicinity. "They feared that clashes would erupt if they let him go inside," he said, adding his criticism of calls from the Arab League meeting in Doha to stop Israeli violations of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa. "They pledge a lot but do nothing of substance on the ground."