Israeli police this morning arrested the director of the restoration and reconstruction department of the Islamic Waqf, which cares for the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.
Bassam Al-Hallaq was detained along with Taha Oweidah, an engineer, and Mohammad Hidra, a member of the compound’s staff.
No reason was given for the arrests. Based on previous incidents, however, the cause most likely involves a dispute between Palestinians and the occupation forces on renovations taking place in the mosque compound.
Over the past several years, Al-Hallaq and his staff have been arrested on numerous occasions; including in 2014, 2016 and twice in 2017, for reasons including the attempted renovation of the Dome of the Rock, fixing water pipes, and various other maintenance works.
Under the Israeli occupation’s law, no renovation or construction work is to be carried out within the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by the Islamic Waqf without permission first being granted by the Israeli authorities. This is in spite of Israel agreeing, under the terms of the peace agreement signed with Jordan, that Amman is the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque