Dozens of Zionist settlers under Israeli special forces protection have forced their way into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian guard said Monday, as Israeli forces banned Palestinian women from entering the holy site.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian stabbed and critically injured an Israeli soldier near a Tel Aviv train station in occupied Palestine on Monday, Israeli police said, raising fears that a new Palestinian uprising in the making has reached the country’s business capital.
“At least 49 settlers protected by ten Israeli special forces troops stormed the compound early this morning,” the guard told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
According to the guard, the settlers forced their way into the compound through the al-Magharbeh Gate and toured the complex for 15 minutes before departing through the al-Silisleh Gate.
Israeli forces, meanwhile, denied all Palestinian women access to al-Aqsa mosque, while men were allowed in on condition that they leave their identity cards at inspection stations manned by Israeli troops and police officers.
“For three hours, I tried to enter the holy compound from several gates. Each time, I was denied access by the Israeli police,” one woman barred from entering the complex told Anadolu Agency.
Israeli forces have long restricted Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa compound based on age and gender, but have further prevented Muslim worshipers from entering the mosque while facilitating the entrance for Zionist extremists.
“They are trying to keep us out of the place so as to facilitate the [Jewish] settlers’ intrusion,” the woman, requesting anonymity, added. “But it won’t work – every day, we thwart their plots.”
Israeli soldier stabbed in Tel Aviv
Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier, aged about 20, was stabbed outside the HaHagana train station in southern Tel Aviv in Occupied Palestine on Monday.
Israeli police said the attacker had stabbed the soldier several times and they arrested a suspect, a Palestinian from the town of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.
“It was apparently an attack with nationalist motives. The suspect is a resident of the Nablus area,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
The suspect was identified by family members as 17-year-old Noureddine Abu Hashiyeh from Askar refugee camp east of Nablus. His father Khaled told AFP that his son, a painter and decorator by trade, had left for Tel Aviv on Sunday.
The incident follows the killing of a 22-year-old Palestinian with Israeli citizenship in the Galilee region by Israeli forces Saturday, which led to two days of protests and clashes with Israeli forces.
Since July, police have arrested some 900 Palestinians for public order offenses in east Jerusalem and indicted around a third of them.
Tensions have been running high in occupied East Jerusalem, where in recent weeks Israeli forces have shot and killed two Palestinian suspects in car-ramming attacks against Israeli settlers at light rail stations.
Community officials say the wave of unrest is fueled by a sense of hopelessness in East Jerusalem because of Israeli policies and the impunity of settlers and security forces who regularly attack Palestinians.
The anger has been further provoked by the relentless rise of Israel’s illegal settlement activities as well as the Israeli authorities’ decision to hold a vote on splitting the al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third holiest site, despite the existence of a Jewish prayer area at the Western Wall immediately next door.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered more police onto the streets, vowing that anyone breaking the law would be “punished severely.”
“We will not tolerate disturbances and riots. We will take determined action against those who throw stones, firebombs and fireworks, and block roads, and against demonstrations that call for our destruction,” he said on Sunday.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the Zionist state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the site by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the “Second Intifada,” a popular uprising against the Israeli occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
Source: Al-Akhbar English