Occupied Jerusalem (QNN)- With over 34,500 extremist Israeli settlers broke into it, Al-Aqsa Mosque witnessed numerous grave Israeli attacks in the year of 2021.
The Israeli attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2021 were numerous, including the daily settler incursions, provocative prayers, attacking, detaining and harassing Palestinians.
Settler Incursions To The Mosque
Israeli occupation authorities allow settler incursions to the mosque since 2003 under the forces protection, despite repeated objections and warnings by the Palestinian religious authorities as the visits provoke worshippers of the mosque.
Since the start of 2021, 34,562 Israeli settlers broke into the holy site, setting a new record, as in 2020, 19,000 settlers broke into the mosque and 29,700 settlers in 2019, according to Al-Qastal, a Palestinian network hub for Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.
Among those who broke into the holy site were Jewish students, Israeli settlers, Israeli officers and soldiers, employees at the occupation authorities and members of the Knesset.
The network noted that this year, the well-armed Israeli occupation forces provided the settlers with a heavy protection to facilitate their daily breaking into the holy site.
The settlers were breaking into the mosque in two sessions, the morning and afternoon. They were entering the mosque through the Al-Mughrabi Gate, provoking Palestinian worshipers by performing Talmudic prayers before leaving it through the Al-Silsila Gate.
During their breaking into the holy site, some settlers celebrated their marriage, under the occupation forces protection, while others raised the flag of the occupation state.
Some of the settlers also tried to light candles and papers in the mosque and performed celebrations during the so-called festival of lights or Hanukkah, which lasts for 8 days, in which 1816 settlers broke into the mosque, according to Al-Qastal.
In November, extremist rabbi “Yacoub Hemin” published a photo of the Dome of the Rock, stating that he is looking for a specialized engineer in demolishing buildings to submit a proposal explaining how to remove the Dome of the Rock and move it outside Al-Aqsa.
From Silent Prayer To Calls For School Trips
In October 2021, in an unprecedented decision, an Israeli judge ruled that silent prayer by Israeli settlers at al-Aqsa mosque compound was not a “criminal act,” if it remained silent, as it would not violate police instructions.
The decision was met with condemnation by the Jordanian government, which has managed the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf – or endowment – since 1948, saying the Waqf held the sole legal authority to administer the affairs of al-Aqsa and that such a decision is a “serious violation of the historical and legal status of al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Later, the Israeli court canceled that decision, following a wide outrage among the Palestinians.
In November 2021, for the first time since al-Aqsa Mosque was occupied in 1967, the Israeli Knesset’s Education Committee recommended the Israeli Education Ministry to include al-Aqsa Mosque in the mandatory sites to be raided by Jewish students, where they’ll ‘learn’ the history they invented of the holy mosque.
Israeli Attacks Against Al-Aqsa’s Guards
Al-Qastal noted that even the guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and employees in the Islamic Endowment Department were not spared the attacks of the Israeli occupation authorities who prevented them from confronting the settlers’ storming of the mosque, raided and searched their houses, prevented them from traveling, arrested them, summoned them for interrogation, and banned them from entering the holy site.
Al-Qastal said over 20 Palestinian guards of the mosque were banned from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 2021 for a period of between a week and 6 months.
The occupation authorities also prevented the guards and the construction committee from carrying out maintenance and repair works inside the holy site.
In 2021, the network added, over 15 guards of the mosque were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the Israeli occupation forces in their crackdown on the Palestinian worshipers during the month of Ramadan which led to high tensions that ended with Israel’s May aggression on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children during 11 days.
Israeli forces: From Attacking and Detaining to banning and Harassing
In the year of 2021, the Israeli occupation forces brutally attacked, beat, detained, searched the Palestinians, seized their identity documents, obstructed their movement, prevented and banned them from entering the mosque.
Al-Qastal documented that in 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities issued 315 banning orders against Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque for a period of between one week and 6 months.
In September, the Israeli forces prevented a bus of worshipers, coming from Umm Al Fahm city in the 1948-occupied territories, from visiting Al Aqsa mosque, claiming that they would cause “incitement and unrest”.
In October, the Israeli forces also prevented hundreds of Palestinians coming from the occupied West Bank from reaching the mosque. They were forced to pray in the Bab al-Amud plaza. This was not the last time to harass the West Bank’s Palestinians.
During 2021, the Israeli occupation forces placed, several times, metal barriers at Bab al-Amud plaza, one of the main entrances to the Old City, to obstruct the access of the Palestinian worshipers to the Al-Aqsa and harass them.
The Bab al-Amud plaza was the scene of a battle and tensions that included large numbers of Israeli police officers and forces, including mounted ones, in 2021. They wield water cannons to disperse Palestinians gatherings at the site, attack and detain them.
In May, violent attacks by Israeli police on Palestinian gatherings at the Bab al-Amud Gate provoked tensions across the holy city that led to the May aggression on the Gaza.
Al-Aqsa Mosque: The Holy Site
Al-Aqsa is the name of the silver-domed mosque inside a 35-acre compound referred to as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, by Muslims.
The compound lies in the Old City of Jerusalem, which has been designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, and is important to the three Abrahamic religions.
It was Islam’s first Qibla, the direction towards which Muslims must turn to pray, before it was changed to Mecca.
Jews, however, refer to the area as the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.
The complex also includes the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the most sacred Christian sites in the world.