Al-Aqsa mosque is located in the Temple Mount and is considered the third holiest site in Islam, after Mecca’s Masjid al-Haram and Medina’s Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, however Temple Mount is also considered the holiest site in Judaism. The crucial point being is that the mosque is not in Israel. The site is part of the Palestinian territory which Israel occupied in 1967. It is therefore illegal as well as morally wrong for Israel to act as though it had sovereignty there.Israelis are restricting access to the mosque from 07:30am to 11:30am, and earlier this week, were accused of banning 40 Palestinian women from entering the mosque, as reported by Al Bawaba, Israeli police in Jerusalem claimed the women “cause[d] trouble and damage” at the site.
Israeli Jerusalem police commander, Avi Bitton, said the restrictions have been put in place “to prevent any tensions in the area, as they violate order, and present a threat to visitors.” But, according to Dr Mousa Abu-Marzouk, locals have alleged that the Israelis have been allowing access to the site to non-Muslims during the periods it is closed.
“The occupation has closed the doors to Al-Aqsa Mosque and is trying to prevent our presence in Al-Aqsa and legally prosecute those who are stationed in Al-Aqsa and Al-Awqaf employees. There has also been an increase in the storming of Al-Aqsa, led by the terrorist Miri Regev, the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport and the Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Ze’ev Elkin.
The Israelis believe that the current state of the Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims allows them to take such measures that aim to divide Al-Aqsa in terms of time. What are we doing about this? Jerusalem is the compass of our nation, its political kiblah, and the source of its pride and dignity.”
The Palestinian Foreign Minister’s warning of a religious war is a very serious one indeed. No parties want such horrible consequences. We, at the Liberal Democrat Friends Of Palestine, call on the Israeli police in Jerusalem to desist in their restrictions of Palestinian Muslims entering the holiest site to their faith outside of Saudi Arabia. For a lasting two-state solution to work, all parties need to respect the others’ faiths, beliefs and cultures.