PALESTINIANS in Bahrain have urged the international community to take action against Israel’s new restrictions to access Al Aqsa Mosque.
The restrictions follow a deadly shootout near the Temple Mount compound last Friday in which three Arab Israelis opened fire on Israeli police, killing two of them, before the assailants were also shot dead by security forces.
Police closed the compound, which includes Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock last Friday and Saturday and even cancelled Friday prayers for the first since 1969.
The issue escalated on Sunday when metal detectors were installed at Al Aqsa’s entrances following its reopening, which sparked a wave of anger and protests by Palestinians who considered it a humiliating act.
Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces are taking place almost every hour in Jerusalem, which is now also partially blocked by the police.
Al Aqsa, referred to as the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina, has been empty of worshippers while the adhan (call for prayers) is prohibited.
Today has been declared a “Day of Rage” by the Palestinian Fatah Party, which urged Palestinians to travel to the holy site where Friday Prayers will be conducted in public squares in protest of Israel’s actions.
Members of the Palestinian community in Bahrain gathered yesterday at the UN House in Hoora, where they handed over a letter to UN Information Centre director Samir Aldarabi seeking the international community’s intervention.
The letter will be delivered to UN secretary-general António Guterres.
“For the first time since 1969, Al Aqsa is not occupied by tens of thousands of worshippers,” said Palestinian Rami Rasheed who attended yesterday’s gathering.
“Israel’s plan is just to make it difficult for worshippers and reduce their numbers over time.
“Palestinians have all the right to pray in Al Aqsa Mosque without imposing security measures on them.
“Therefore, we gathered to carry this message over to the UN and the international community.
“Mr Aldarabi has promised to deliver our letter to António Guterres.”
Palestinian Ambassador in Bahrain Taha Mohammed Abdel Kader said his countrymen will never accept the restrictions placed by Israel.
“Restrictions on the access of Al Aqsa, as well as prohibiting the adhan and placing metal detectors are attempts by Israel to show it has control over the mosque,” he told the GDN.
“It demonstrates the evil plan of Israel to divide Al Aqsa by allocating part of it for Palestinians and another for Israelis.
“This is unacceptable. The entire Al Aqsa belongs to the Palestinian territory.
“Our demand to the international community is to provide us protection in our holy sites, which is our right and is agreed on by nations and religions. There are protests almost every hour now in Palestine.
“The beauty of the situation now is that both Islamic and Christian clerics are out in the streets protesting the flagrant breach by Israel, which will never succeed in getting Palestinians to surrender.
“Their infernal plan will never work out and for sure the people of Palestine will never accept passing through metal detectors to pray in their own Aqsa.”