Israeli police prevented 160 Palestinian secondary school students from entering the Shari'ah School in Al-Aqsa Mosque on Thursday, under the pretext that their school books are based on the Palestinian curriculum, Quds Press has reported. The police had already prevented the delivery of schoolbooks at the premises two days ago, citing the same pretext about the curriculum.
According to Raed Da'na, the Director of Preaching and Guidance at Al-Aqsa, the books were distributed outside the mosque because Israeli police object to the presence of "Palestinian flags and pictures of protests" alongside the text. The Israelis even said that book covers which have the Palestinian flag on them must be torn up if students want to enter the mosque to attend their school, he revealed.
Da'na added that Israeli security forces confiscated the ID documents of Najih Bukairat, the head of the Aqsa Academy for Sciences and Heritage, and Robain Muhaisin, a Palestinian teacher, before taking them to a police station in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. The vehicle used to distribute the school textbooks was impounded.
In a related incident, Israeli police and border guards stormed into the Aytam [Orphans] Islamic School, located in the Old City, and arrested two students, according to the Quds Media Centre. A Quds Press correspondent said that this happened while dozens of Jewish settlers were storming around Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sixty-five settlers were accompanied and protected by Israeli security forces, she added. They ordered Al-Aqsa's guards to stay away from the settlers as they entered the mosque.
Guards attached to the Noble Sanctuary usually accompany Jewish settlers once they enter the compound through the Magharbeh Gate and stay with them until they leave through the Silsela Gate, making sure that they do not do anything that would constitute a violation of the mosque's sanctity. For this, the guards are subjected to threats and restrictions from Israeli police officers.