Palestine has slammed Israel for issuing deportation orders for Palestinian worshippers from the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, the third-holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
“Once again, Israel is bent on demonstrating its contempt for freedom of worship and religions, as demonstrably clear in its increased violations of the Palestinian people’s freedom of worship, especially in occupied Jerusalem,” Xinhua news agency quoted Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee member, Hanan Ashrawi as saying on Sunday.
The latest order was issued by Israeli authorities against the grand preacher of the Al-Aqsa mosque Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, banning him to enter the holy site for four months.
Ashrawi accused Israel of taking “concerted and systematic efforts to execute its land grab plans accompanied by actions aimed at muting Palestinian voices, erasing Palestinian presence and stoking the fires of sectarian discord”.
She called on Israel to respect the status of the holy site, as a place of worship.
After remaining closed for two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the compound of the Al-Aqsa mosque, which also houses the Dome of the Rock, started welcoming worshippers again from May 31.
The Al-Aqsa mosque is part of the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound, which is one of Islam’s holiest sites and the holiest in Judaism.
The site is a source of religious and political tension between Israelis and Palestinians and a frequent flashpoint for violence.