The Arab League has condemned Israel’s violent and brutal attack on al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds following the Eid al-Adha prayers.
On Sunday, clashes erupted when Israeli police brutally attacked Palestinian Muslim worshipers who had gathered at the compound for the first day of the Feast of Sacrifice, which marks the culmination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Palestinians, facing off with Israeli forces in the packed compound, chanted, “With our soul and blood, we will redeem you, Aqsa.” According to Palestine Red Crescent Society, 61 Palestinians were wounded, 15 of whom were taken to nearby hospitals for due treatment. Israeli forces also arrested a number of Palestinian worshipers.
In a statement released on Monday, Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit said what had been committed against Palestinians at the behest of the Israeli regime revealed “a systematic Israeli policy aimed at normalizing the Jewish presence in al-Haram al-Sharif and reducing the Muslim presence there, even on the holy days when Eid prayers are performed.” He also held Tel Aviv fully responsible for the worrying escalation of the situation at the mosque. The Arab League chief said the regime committed such crimes in order to please ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups.
Aboul Gheit also warned that Israel’s reckless and barbaric policies would fuel the flames of fanaticism in the volatile region and threaten to ignite a religious strife in Jerusalem al-Quds. Elsewhere in the statement, he called on the international community to stand up against Israel’s Judaization campaign currently underway in al-Quds under a political cover provided by Washington. The compound sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians view al-Quds’ eastern sector as the capital of their future sovereign state.
The compound is usually closed to non-Muslim visitors during Muslim holidays, but as the holidays overlap with those of the Jews – the fasting and mourning day of Tisha B’Av – this year, some Israeli organizations had appealed to the regime to allow Jewish visitors into the site. The Jewish visitation of al-Aqsa is permitted, but, according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem al-Quds in 1967, non-Muslim worship at the compound is prohibited. However, hard-line Israeli legislators and extremist settlers regularly enter the compound in a provocative manner that infuriates Palestinians.
Palestinians have frequently warned of the occupying regime’s attempts to alter the status quo of the compound. The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam. The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since US President Donald Trump announced his decision on December 6, 2017 to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital” and relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.