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Senior Israeli lawmaker warns of ‘religious war’ over Jerusalem moves

May 23, 2022 at 4:37 pm

Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

A senior Israeli lawmaker said, on Monday, the country risked a “religious war” after a court ruled in favour of Jews who had tried to pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as nationalists planned a march near the Muslim holy site, Reuters reports.

Palestinian factions have denounced Israeli moves in Jerusalem’s Old City including the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court’s decision yesterday to rescind a restraining order against three Jews who had prayed while visiting the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Ram Ben-Barak, Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, came out against the lower court ruling and voiced concern about the planned route of a Flag March, which includes the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

“I think that, during this sensitive period, care must be taken,” he told Kan radio. “We should not, with our own hands, cause a religious war here or all kinds of provocations that are liable to ignite the Middle East.”

The Flag March sees far-right Israeli ultra-nationalists flooding through Muslim areas celebrating the capture of East Jerusalem by Zionist occupation forces following a second wave of ethnic cleansing in 1967. Chanting “death to Arabs” and singing racist and highly offensive songs, thousands are seen parading through Muslim areas flying the Israeli flag.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is Islam’s third-holiest site and worship in it is limited to Muslims. However, in recent years, Israel has allowed Jews to storm the site and yesterday an Israeli court ruled that Jewish prayers could be held out loud within its vicinity.

READ: Israel court allows settlers to pray out loud in Al-Aqsa