Following the tightening of Israel’s security measures and military barriers between the West Bank and Jerusalem and banning of all male worshippers under the age of forty, dozens of Palestinian youths scaled the separation wall with wooden ladders to reach Al Aqsa Mosque.
Very often, the young people who scale the wall or pass through openings, are often subjected to assaults by Israeli soldiers. Many fall in the process and suffer fractures and bruises. Undeterred, they take all the risks of injury and attacks in order to worship in Islam’s third holiest mosque. On Friday, the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem, like other checkpoints, witnessed a major crisis as thousands of male worshippers tried to reach Jerusalem.
Iyad Kamil, 36, said he was prevented from entering the city for Friday prayers. He added: “They talk about facilities for worshipers. Where are they? We are forbidden to pray and they ask for special permits, most of which are rejected at the time of submitting the request to the Israeli authorities under the pretext of security prohibition.” He pointed out that “this occupation is seeking to take control of the city by all means, but we will never surrender, and we will manage to pray in Al Aqsa, despite the military barriers.”
One of the soldiers at the checkpoint argued with some young men asking them to leave. A 20-year-old man shouted at him: “Your barriers will not prevent us from reaching Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque. There exist other ways that lead to Jerusalem, by climbing the Apartheid Wall and bypassing it,” he said.