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Palestinian officials condemn rightist Israeli visits to Al-Aqsa
Published Thursday 16/01/2014 (updated) 18/01/2014 22:13
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(MaanImages/File)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- A PLO Executive Committee member spoke out against visits by rightist Israeli Jewish groups to the Al-Aqsa compound on Thursday.

Ahmad Qurie warned of "catastrophic" consequences if the Jewish groups continued to visit Al-Aqsa, saying the visits violated international law.

Qurie said Israeli police arrested Palestinian youths who were attempting to stop the groups from entering the compound. He criticized the police for making such arrests.

Earlier, the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque told Ma'an that the visits were a "provocative and dangerous intrusion by extremists."

Azzam al-Khatib said extremist lawyer Yehuda Glick, who chairs the Temple Mount Heritage Fund, entered the mosque compound through the Moroccan Gate and later "climbed to the roof of the Dome of the Rock and verbally assaulted the guards."

Also Saturday, Palestinian security spokesman Adnan al-Dumieri told Ma'an that Israeli rightists "ascending to the roof of the Dome of the Rock" was a provocative action that would have a negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

But Israeli police spokesman Rosenfeld said he was unfamiliar with the roof-climbing incident.

He confirmed that there were "normal visits" to the Al-Aqsa compound, but said no arrests were made.

Due to the sensitive nature of the Al-Aqsa mosque, Israel maintains a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the compound to restrict the area for Muslim prayers.

Israeli forces, however, regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, often leading to tension with Palestinians.

The compound, which sits just above the Western Wall plaza, houses both the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque and is the third holiest site in Islam.

It is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple.

Al-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territories that have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
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1 ) Yisrael Medad / Israel
18/01/2014 19:38
The roof? Are you sure? Where were the Waqf guards? Maybe you mean on the raised platform area?

2 ) Sarah Williams / Israel
18/01/2014 21:13
"the visits violated international law." So why did the Waqf charge them admission, like all tour groups, to enter and tour the compound? Why is it legal for Christians and Chinese tours to enter but not Jews?

3 ) Jez / France
18/01/2014 23:49
Sarah Williams : I as a non-muslim (am also a goy) can not go in. The tourists visit another part, I believe. As for Jews, ask the rabbis "According to mainstream Jewish religious leaders, Jews are forbidden from entering for fear they would profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple."

4 ) ian / australia
19/01/2014 13:22
#2 "...why did the Waqf charge them admission, like all tour groups, to enter and tour the compound?" Huh? That's as crazy as Yehuda Glick "ascending to the roof of the Dome of the Rock". Entry to al-Haram ash-Sharif is free, Sarah. You should go. Of course, it's a MUSLIM holy site...so you'll need to be on best behaviour (no alcohol, weapons, immodest clothes or canoodling). AND it's IN occupied Palestine so the Waqf and the Palestinians have every right to restrict entry however they see fit.

5 ) ian / australia
19/01/2014 13:23
(contd.) BUT if you're respectful, DON'T arrive in a large provocative group escorted by armed guards, DON'T perform inappropriate rituals, DON'T come with a heart full of hate and Messianic dreams of exclusive ownership and razing the "abominations" to rebuild the Temple and eradicate all trace of the Arab past (and leave with other non-Muslims at prayers)...you're most welcome.

6 ) ian / australia
19/01/2014 14:02
#3 "I as a non-muslim...can not go in. The tourists visit another part, I believe." Simply not true, Jez. All are welcome. No-one is "haram". Non-Muslims can visit the whole Aqsa compound but have to leave before prayers and cannot ENTER the shrines...the Qibly mosque with the grey dome or al-Sakhra al-Musharafa with the golden dome. In the past, non-Muslims could enter the shrine and look at the rock...but times change. But all are welcome so long as they obey the rules (see response to Sarah).

7 ) DeusexMachina / Norway
22/01/2014 00:19
"Of course, it's a MUSLIM holy site." It is also a JEWISH holy site, and jews should be able to visit wearing kippas and stars of david and pray if they so wish. Those who have a proble with that should NOT be allowed on the site. The Israeli government shouldn't appease racist terrorist like this.
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