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Rights group: Israel's ban on Arabs entering Al-Aqsa 'illegal'

Israeli security forces check Palestinians and their belongings with metal detectors after Al Aqsa Mosque re-opened for prayers on 16 July 2017 [Alkharouf Mostafa/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli security forces check Palestinians and their belongings with metal detectors after Al Aqsa Mosque re-opened for prayers on 16 July 2017 [Alkharouf Mostafa/Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli rights group has slammed Israel's banning of Palestinian residents of the town of Umm Al-Fahm from entering the Al-Aqsa compound, calling it "illegal" and "irrational".

Last week, reports emerged Arab citizens of Israel were being prevented from entering occupied East Jerusalem to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Adalah, the rights group, confirmed the reports yesterday and revealed that the reason for their prevention is due to nationals being members of the Jabareen family. Three men from the family shot Israeli occupation forces at Al-Aqsa on 14 July.

Adalah has sent a letter to senior Israeli officials demanding an end to the "illegal" policy, stating in its letter that

[it] infringes upon freedom of worship, religion and movement and it violates the worshippers' right to dignity. Given the ban's sweeping nature, it is disproportional, irrational and causes significant harm to its victims.

After the shooting last month, Al-Aqsa Mosque was closed to worshippers for the first time since 1969. It was reopened days later however metal detectors, advance surveillance systems and larger numbers of occupation forces were placed at its doors, this change in the status quo led to widespread protests and sit-ins by Palestinians which lasts two weeks. Seven Palestinians were killed as a result of Israel's heavy handed approach to dispersing protesters.

Read more: Israel arrests another 72 Palestinians over Al-Aqsa protests

The measures were removed weeks later as a result of the protests.

Despite the end of the security measures and the subsequent protests, Israeli forces continue to prevent certain Palestinians such as those of the Jabareen family from entering the holy site.

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