World Bulletin/News Desk
Jordan has slammed the storming of occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli troops on Wednesday, urging the international community to pressure the self-proclaimed Jewish state to "lift its siege" on the holy site.
In a statement, government spokesman Mohamed al-Momani denounced what he described as the "heinous crime" committed by Israeli forces, accusing the latter of opening fire inside the mosque, leading to the injury of several worshippers.
"Continued Israeli assaults on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and worshippers therein have become one of the most commonly-used justifications for terror and religious extremism in the region," he said.
He also called on international bodies to pressure Israel to abide by its peace treaty with Jordan and avert the "further stoking of the flames of extremism."
Al-Momani was referring to the 1994 peace treaty that normalized relations between Jordan and Israel. The treaty also recognizes Jordan's special supervisory role over holy sites in East Jerusalem, including the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.
"Israeli occupation forces have barred Palestinian Al-Aqsa employees and guards from entering the complex while forcibly expelling all Muslim worshippers from the site to pave the way for the arrival of Jewish extremist settlers to the site," the minister asserted.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday also denounced the storming of East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by Jewish settlers to mark the beginning of the Jewish Sukkot holiday and the forcible eviction of Muslim worshippers from the site.
"We will not accept the adoption of Israeli measures against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Ibrahimi Mosque [in Hebron]," Abbas said in a televised speech Wednesday.
"We know, and the world knows, the danger of using religion in political conflicts and turning them into religious ones," Abbas declared.
"Israel should heed this danger, and should understand that such moves will bring about consequences against it and others," he added.
Abbas also slammed a reported proposal by the Israeli Tourism Ministry to allow Jewish settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through the Al-Qataneen Gate, in addition to the Al-Magharbeh Gate, which is usually used by Jewish settlers to force their way into the complex.
"We cannot stand idly by while the Israelis open new gates for settlers and extremists to storm and ransack the compound," the Palestinian leader said.
"Every day, we see these [Jewish extremists] attempting to enter Al-Aqsa by any means so as to compel [us] to accept what they want as a de facto status; to impose the temporal and spatial division of the mosque, under the pretext that they have [rights] in it, which is not true," added Abbas.
He went on to say the PA would take the case to the U.N. Security Council in an effort to pressure Israel to halt its violations.
Earlier in the day, eyewitnesses said that Israeli police forces had stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex using stun grenades and teargas to disperse Palestinian worshippers.
A number of Palestinian worshippers suffered teargas inhalation inside the complex after Israeli police fired teargas through the Al-Aqsa's western Al-Magharbeh Gate, they added.
One stun grenade fired by Israeli police nearly caused a fire at the Al-Qibali Mosque inside the compound, but Palestinian worshippers managed to extinguish it, one eyewitness said.
Shortly afterward, over 60 Jewish settlers forced their way into the compound under the protection of Israeli police after the latter forcibly ejected Muslim worshippers from the holy site.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter that three Israeli police officers had been "lightly" injured in clashes, adding that Al-Aqsa remained open to "visitors" – a reference to Jewish settlers.
Rosenfeld went on to claim that a number of "masked Arabs threw stones/blocks/iron bars" at Israeli officers at the Al-Magharbeh Gate.
In recent months, groups of extremist Jewish settlers, often accompanied by Israeli security forces, have repeatedly forced their way into the Al-Aqsa complex.
The frequent violations anger Palestinian Muslims and occasionally lead to violent confrontations.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli leader Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ekim 2014, 17:48