Top Palestinian Waqf Officials Banned from Entering Al-Aqsa

Top Palestinian Waqf Officials Banned from Entering Al-Aqsa

ACTNews, JERUSALEM - Police in Israel have extended bans on top Palestinian waqf officials who oversee Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa compound from entering the holy site. The decision on Sunday came weeks after the Islamic Waqf Council, a religious body appointed by Jordan to oversee the Al-Aqsa compound, reopened the al-Rahma Gate to Muslim worshippers

The opening of the al-Rahma Gate met a harsh response from Israeli authority who banned the Muslim worshippers from entering through the gate for 16 years.

Israel detained the head of the council, Sheikh Abdel Azeem Salhab and his deputy Sheikh Najeh Bkerat. They were given a one-week ban. Israel later extended their detention on Sunday by 40 days for Salhab and four months for Bkerat, as told by a spokesman for the Waqf Council.

Since the al-Rahma gate was reopened, approximately 100 Palestinian activists and religious figures have been detained “in an effort to put an end to Palestinian defiance of Israeli orders", according to Wafa, a Palestinian news agency.

Upon hearing this news, the Waqf Ministry of Jordan condemned the bans, describing them as "intimidation of the [Waqf] Council members" and a "direct targeting of the Hashemite [Jordanian] guardianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites". Jordan oversees the Al-Aqsa compound via the Waqf Council according to a 1967 status quo agreement with Israel.

Under the Waqf Council, non-Muslims are allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Compound, but not to worship there. The opening of Bab al-Rahma has infuriated many religious Zionists, including activists of the Temple Movement, who advocate the building of a Jewish temple over the Al-Aqsa compound.

"The Al-Aqsa mosque is the property of Muslims alone, and no other religion has the right to it. It seems that Israel is trying in vain to change the status quo in the Al-Aqsa mosque, and this is what we will not allow," Salhab said.

The situation around the Al-Aqsa compound has been escalating since late February, where a number of clashes broke out and several Palestinians were arrested by Israeli authority.

“Al-Rahma Gate is an integral part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and we’ll sacrifice everything we have, including ourselves and our children, to the mosque,” said a Palestinian lady. []

Picture sources: Al Jazeera

 

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