Reports about Israeli plans to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque compound between Muslims and Jews have sparked angry condemnations from Palestinian officials, who called for holding an “emergency Arab and Islamic summit” to discuss the worrying development.
“Israel is racing against time to legitimize storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by herds of extremist settlers,” Ahmed Qurei, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said in a statement cited by Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, October 21.
The official’s calls followed reports about drafting an Israeli bill to divide Al-Aqsa mosque between Muslims and Jews.
According to the Arab Knesset member Masoud Ghanayim, “the draft law, which has been prepared by the interior parliamentary committee in the Knesset, stipulates that Jews can perform prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Palestinian newspaper Felesteen reported.
“This is based on a proposal that gives Muslims and Jews equal rights in their access and use of the holy site. It also specifies certain locations where Jews can perform their prayers,” Ghanayim added.
Under the alleged law, which will be voted next month by the Knesset, civil protests and demonstrations in Al-Aqsa compound are banned.
Lamenting the stance of the Arab countries that emboldened Israeli’s provocations in the world Muslims’ holiest site, Queri vowed: “the Jerusalemites will not stand hand-tied toward these aggressive Israeli schemes, which risk dragging the holy city to a cycle of violence and religious warfare.”
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra’a and Al Mi’raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him.)
Claiming to be working on “maintaining the status quo” in the holy site, Israel has denied any plans to divide Al-Aqsa mosque as “baseless”.
Meanwhile, Jordan vowed to prevent Jews from praying at Al-Aqsa compound or dividing it, according to Khalid al-Shawabka, Jordan’s Ambassador to Palestine.
“Jordan’s foreign minister has sent strongly-worded messages to foreign ministers of member states of the UN Security Council and to the UN demanding an end to the systematic assaults on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and on worshipers,” al-Shawabka told Ma’an news agency.
“[T]he Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem are red lines.”
Jordan has been supervising Al-Aqsa Mosque and other endowments in Al-Quds since 1948.
A 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel recognizes Jordan’s special supervisory role over holy sites in Al-Quds.
Over the past weeks, Jewish settlers have mounted their aggression on the holy site of Al-Aqsa mosque.
Besides frequent raids by the Israeli police on the holy site, hundreds of Jewish settlers broke into Al-Aqsa accompanied by Israeli officials over the past weeks.
The unrest was heightened by the threats of Israeli Public Security Minister to close the holy site to Muslim worshippers.
On Saturday, October 18, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas’s vowed to undertake “legal measures” against desecrating Al-Aqsa mosque by Israelis.
After weeks of Israeli restrictions to the world Muslims’ third holiest site, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal warned on Friday, October 17, of Israel’s continuous attempts to seize al-Aqsa mosque compound, urging Muslims to defend it. ONISLAM