Israel's closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque a serious precedent: OIC

Solenn Plantier
Juillet 18, 2017

Jerusalem's top Islamic religious figures Monday called upon Palestinians seeking to reach Al-Aqsa Mosque not to go through the metal detectors installed by Israeli police the day before at the entrances to the mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City. Jordan's stance is that anything installed at the site must be approved by the Waqf, or Muslim administration, and can not change the status quo, said the official.

Malaysia condemns in the strongest terms the Friday closure of the al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli authorities.

A wave of unrest that broke out in October 2015 has claimed the lives of at least 281 Palestinians or Arab Israelis, 44 Israelis, two Americans, two Jordanians, an Eritrean, a Sudanese and a Briton, according to an AFP toll.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone later as tensions rose over the attack and its aftermath.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is within the closed area so Muslims were unable to hold Friday prayers there.

The Jerusalem shrine has been the scene of repeated confrontations but Friday's brazen shooting was rare because it took place inside the compound and also because the attackers were from Israel's Arab minority. Non-Muslims are allowed to visit the site, but are not allowed to pray.

The site is administered by the Islamic Waqf organisation.

Israel criticized Jordan for calling to "immediately reopen" the site after the attack, with one official telling Israeli TV that "instead of condemning the attack, Jordan chose to attack Israel, which is protecting worshipers and maintaining freedom of worship in the place".

During that period, Israeli forces have killed more than 254 Palestinians, a lot of them said by Israel to be attackers while others were killed in clashes with Israeli forces. "But then I saw the police coming from everywhere". However, Channel 2 news reported late Friday that the second policeman may have been killed by the assailants on the mount itself, after they had fled back.

The Jordanian statement, issued by Jordanian Minister for Media Affairs Muhammad al Momani, called on the Israeli government to avoid taking actions that change the "historical situation" at the complex and reopen it to worshipers.

"The freedom to worship is a right guaranteed under worldwide law and any violation of that right should be opposed", the ministry said.

The three gunmen arrived at the sacred site, which stands on a marble and stone plateau on the edge of Jerusalem's Old City, and walked towards one of the nearby ancient stone gates, police spokesman Luba Simri said.

Three Arab Israelis named by the Shin Bet as responsible for shooting dead two Israeli police officers next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017: Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19. Arab Israelis are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

"This is a very worrisome change", Kuttab said of Israel's decision not to consult Jordanian authorities of its decision to impose new security measures.

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