Jordan has condemned the continual incursions by Israeli settlers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Times of Israel has reported. There has been a notable increase in such incursions in the run up to the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
According to Likud MK Yehudah Glick, 2,265 settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam, over the festival, a 40 per cent increase over the 1,611 who went in at the same time last year. The settlers were protected by a heavy military presence to ensure that they could enter the site without incident.
Jordan’s Minister for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, described the incursions as “acts of provocation against Muslims’ feelings.” Such behaviour, he said, harms relations between the two countries. “It also undermines efforts to ease tension and preserve the historical and legal status of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary.” Allowing Jews to storm the site undermines the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, he added.
Israeli settlers have increased the number of break-ins at Al-Aqsa Mosque in the run up to Jewish holidays, straining tensions in occupied East Jerusalem. Whilst Israelis have been permitted to enter the compound at will, Muslim worshippers face heavy restrictions when trying to enter the site to perform their daily prayers.
Furthermore, last week the Israeli authorities banned Palestinian children from playing in the courtyards surrounding the mosque, claiming that “games on Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque] are prohibited as it violates its sanctity.”
Last month, Israel also moved to ban Sheikh Najeh Bkeerat, the director of Waqf [Religious Endowment] Property which manages Al-Aqsa Mosque, from accessing the Muslim holy site for three months. This is the sixteenth time that he has been banned from his place of work.