Palestinian leader, 'Al-Aqsa will never be divided'

Sheik Raed Salah, an icon of the Palestinian resistance against the decades-long Israeli occupation, asserted that “Israeli threats” would not stop the Palestinian resistance from carrying out its “sacred duty” to protect Al-Aqsa.

Palestinian leader, 'Al-Aqsa will never be divided'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said Tuesday that he would resist what he described as attempts by the Israeli authorities to divide East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex between Muslim and Jewish worshipers.

Tensions have escalated recently due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian Muslim worshippers wishing to enter the Al-Aqsa complex, resulting in several clashes between the latter and Israeli security forces.

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 Jewish temples in ancient times.

Some extremist Jewish groups have gone so far as to call for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque so that a Jewish temple might be built in its place.

Salah, an icon of the Palestinian resistance against the decades-long Israeli occupation, asserted that “Israeli threats” would not stop the Palestinian resistance from carrying out its “sacred duty” to protect Al-Aqsa.

On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that Israeli security forces may have used excessive force against Palestinian protesters during recent clashes at the flashpoint mosque complex.

On Sunday, Palestinian protesters scuffled with Israeli security forces inside the mosque compound, with Israeli forces using stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators.

At one point, protesters barricaded the compound’s entrance amid rumors that extremist Jewish groups planned to force their way into the area in large numbers on the last day of the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival, which coincided with start of the Jewish Sukkot holiday.

Al-Aqsa has long been a flashpoint between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Earlier this month, the area saw three days of clashes that left dozens of Palestinians injured.

Currently, use of the mosque compound is restricted to Muslim worshippers. Some Palestinians, however, accuse Israeli authorities of planning to institute a partition scheme by which Jewish worshippers would be given access to parts of the compound for certain hours of the day.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, 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 in 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: 01 Ekim 2015, 11:14
YORUM EKLE