Israel restricts Palestinians’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque for 3rd Friday of Muslim holy month

Israel restricts Palestinians’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque for 3rd Friday of Muslim holy month

Israeli army deploys its forces at crossings leading to Jerusalem, scrutinizing identities of Palestinians, denying entry to some of them, eyewitnesses tell Anadolu

By Qais Abu Samra

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) - Israeli authorities barred Palestinians from the West Bank from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied East Jerusalem for the third consecutive Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Israeli army deployed its forces at the crossings leading to Jerusalem, scrutinizing the identities of Palestinians and denying entry to some of them, eyewitnesses told Anadolu.

The Qalandia crossing in northern Jerusalem and the Checkpoint “300” in the south of the city witnessed active movement at the entry gates from the West Bank toward Jerusalem.

A Palestinian, Salama Abdelqader, told Anadolu that he was prevented this morning from reaching Jerusalem although he fulfilled all Israeli conditions as he is 60 years old and has a permit.

“After obtaining my permit, I received a message in the early hours of Friday informing me that I am prevented from entering Jerusalem on the pretext that I am an activist in a terrorist organization according to them (Israeli authorities),” Abdelqader said.

He continued: “Israel is striving hard to impose a new reality in Al-Aqsa and prevent Palestinians from accessing it. We must march towards Al-Aqsa as its issue is a religious one, even if we are not allowed to enter, we will pray here at the military barriers.”

In turn, Asem Rehan, 59, said he was prevented from entering Jerusalem after being detained for an hour at the Qalandia checkpoint.

He told Anadolu that he had a permit, but the forces prevented him from entering Jerusalem.

Before the start of Ramadan, the Israeli government announced that "during the Fridays throughout the month of Ramadan, people from Judea and Samaria (the Torah name for the West Bank) will be allowed to enter Jerusalem subject to possessing a valid magnetic (security) permit and assessing the security situation."

The army added that only men over the age of 55, women over the age of 50, and children under the age of 10 will be allowed into Jerusalem.

The new measures do not include residents of the Gaza Strip, where Israeli authorities prohibit their entry into Jerusalem except with special permits.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, in which 1,139 Israelis were killed.

More than 32,500 Palestinians have since been killed and more than 74,900 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli army has also imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving most of the population, particularly residents of the north, on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

*Writing by Rania Abu Shamala in Istanbul

Israel restricts Palestinians’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque for 3rd Friday of Muslim holy month

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