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'Jewish invasions of Al-Aqsa are official policy,' insists Raed Salah

The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel reiterated on Friday that the "Jewish invasions of Al-Aqsa Mosque are official policy, not individual actions," Al-Resalah newspaper has reported. "This behaviour does not represent a temporary policy and behaviour supported by a number of extremist Jewish organisations," insisted Shaikh Raed Salah. "It is supported and pushed by Israeli officials." He named a number of officials taking part in the incursions.

The solution, suggested the man known as "Shaikh of Al-Aqsa" for his efforts to protect the Islamic site, is to increase the number of Muslim worshippers in the mosque and "uprooting" the Israeli occupation.

The role of the Israeli government in the invasions is the official protection afforded to the Jewish settlers when they invade the mosque, he pointed out. This has to be considered along with the financial and other support offered by Jewish and pro-Jewish organisations.

Shaikh Salah believes that remarks by Israeli officials about the Jerusalem Uprising abating are simply to encourage more settlers to storm Al-Aqsa Mosque and offer Passover sacrifices inside.

"The Israeli expulsion, detention and banning of Palestinians from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque makes it easier for settlers to enter the mosque because there are fewer Muslims there," he pointed out. Israel, he reminded Al-Risalah, is intent on emptying the city of Jerusalem of its Palestinian inhabitants. "That is why decisions such as the expulsion of the families of martyrs are taken by the Israeli authorities, which are driven by extremist rabbis." This was a reference to the number of senior positions in the Israeli government held by the heads of settlement councils and settlers' leaders. "They are pushing anti-Arab and anti-Muslim ideas," said Salah.

He criticised the ongoing meetings between the Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials regarding security cooperation. He also condemned the Arab countries which took part in the moves to take Yemeni Jews to Israel.

Concluding his interview, Shaikh Raed Salah insisted that his movement will remain active and he will remain its head despite Israel banning the Islamic Movement and his own prison sentence.

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