srael seeking to split Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews, warns Abbas

Date of publication: 17 September, 2018

The President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas warned fellow lawmakers on Saturday of Israeli plans to divide Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslim and Jewish worshippers.

Speaking at the opening of the PLO Executive Committee Meeting in Ramallah, Abbas said: “Israel may decide – and there is much evidence for this – that there may be prayers held for Jews as well as Muslims in Al-Aqsa Mosque,” adding that the Israeli authorities may be seeking to introduce a similar arrangement to that in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque.

“As far as the Al-Aqsa Mosque is concerned, we are holding consultations with our brothers in Jordan, to reach a unified position in order to go to the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice,” Abbas added.

The Jordanian government controls and funds the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem, the authority which administers Al-Aqsa as well as Jerusalem’s other Muslim holy sites.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is a particular flashpoint for Palestinian-Israeli tensions, as it is located on top Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Palestinians have long feared Israel may one day seek to assert further control over the holy site.

Despite being administered by the Jordanians, Al-Aqsa remains under tight control by Israeli security forces, who routinely block access to the mosque.

In July, Israeli forces stormed the compound and fired live ammunition at crowds of worshippers after midday prayers.

Jews are officially barred from entering the compound, however Israeli forces regularly allow groups of hundreds of Israeli settlers into the area under armed protection.

Extremist Jewish Israeli movements such as the Temple Mount Faithful and the Temple Institute – who are funded by the Israeli government – are vocal in their aims to build the Third Jewish Temple in the compound. ( The New Arab )