Jerusalem Islamic religious authorities slam Israeli measures in Al-Aqsa Mosque

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Islamic religious authorities of Jerusalem said Saturday that the Israeli measures and assaults against Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem are “null and void.”

The authorities said so in a joint statement by the Islamic holy sites, Wakfs and Islamic Affairs council, the Higher Islamic Commission, Palestinian Fatwa department and Department of Islamic Wakfs and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs.

The Israeli mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat stormed into the mosque along with head of police Yoram Levi and about 100 police members and special forces, the statement said.

They broke into the mosque with arms and their shoes on after expelling its employees, worshippers and guards. They then closed down the mosque for several hours, it added.

The authorities said the measures are an attempt to impose a new reality on the ground that would not succeed in changing the status quo, stressing that the mosque will always be purely Islamic and represents Muslim’s doctrine.

The statement denounced “the deliberate assault” by the Israeli police and special forces, saying they threw stun and tear gas grenades with intensity towards those praying, leading to the injury of dozens of worshippers, in addition to beating several worshippers and arresting some others.

The statement warned against “the continuation of the Israeli police desecration of the sanctity of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying that it would lead to “increasing tension and drawing the region towards more violence.”

The organizations called on “all world countries and international platforms to intervene to stop all measures taken by the Israeli government.”

The Palestinian Prisoners Club said that Israeli police released on bail of over 1,300 U.S. dollars early Saturday more than a dozen Palestinians who were arrested at Al-Aqsa Mosque and ordered them to stay away from the Islamic site for one week. However, five others remained in custody.

The five, aged between 15 and 17, remained in custody at the Russian Compound Police Station in West Jerusalem.

The Palestinians were detained after police raided the mosque area following the end of the Friday prayer as thousands of people were attending the weekly worship.

Palestinian medical sources said that over 50 worshippers were injured in clashes with the police.

Israeli police said that Palestinians threw fire works at its forces during the clashes, which led to Israel side’s use of force.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad Malki said that the “attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque and worshipper is a planned one.”

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had lifted a former ban on Israeli officials from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months.

Palestinians warned against this decision cautioning of possibly dangerous consequences.

On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he contacted Arab states and world leaders over the developments in Al-Aqsa Mosque to warn of the consequences of the Israeli measures at the holy Islamic site, said the official Palestinian news agency (WAFA).

According to the statement published by WAFA, the presidency condemned “Israeli police brutality against civilian worshippers, warning that such attacks against Jerusalem and its holy places will deepen the conflict and drag the region into a religious war with catastrophic consequences on the region and the world as a whole.”

Last December, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and decided to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the city.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state, while Israel wants all Jerusalem to be its eternal capital.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and declared the whole city as its eternal indivisible capital in 1980, but the move has not been recognized by the international community.

Under the Oslo accord signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel in 1993, the status of Jerusalem was set to be determined through the final-status talks. With that in account, all countries have so far located their embassies in Tel Aviv to avoid any changed in the status of Jerusalem within the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

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