The Palestine Scholars Association (PSA) has warned of a massive break-in by Israeli settler groups at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds, urging Muslim worshippers to gather in large numbers to defend the holy site.
In a press release, Nasim Yassin, Deputy Head of the association said that Israeli settlers intend to desecrate the compound en masse on July 18, on the anniversary of the alleged destruction of the Second Temple, the Palestinian Information Center reported on Sunday.
“The Zionist extremists plan on the anniversary, which their Torah calls the temple destruction anniversary when the second temple was demolished according to their claims, to make up for what they failed to do on Ramadan 28 when they announced their intents to break into the Aqsa Mosque, publicly perform rituals inside it, and demonstrate their sovereignty claims over the holy site through raising Zionist flags and playing the Zionist anthem,” he said.
Yassin further stressed the need for Palestinians to get prepared to confront and foil the intended mass desecration by Jewish settlers.
He also described the intensive presence of Muslim worshipers at the compound as the best option to defend it, calling on Palestinians to attend in large numbers on July 18 to protect the holy site against the Jewish settlers.
Israel carried out repeated assaults on Palestinian worshippers and protesters at the compound during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Also during the month, Israeli forces and settlers tried to force Palestinian families to abandon their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in an attempt to make way for the construction of a new illegal settlement there.
As tensions flared up, the Tel Aviv regime reportedly decided to close the compound’s entrances to the Israeli settlers as the regime feared that its flagrant violations in the occupied Palestinian territories may trigger further escalation.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, sits just above the Western Wall plaza and houses both the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Palestinians have long been wary of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site and where only Muslim prayers are allowed under the status quo reaffirmed in 1967 between Israel and Jordan.
The holy compound is administered by the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization on behalf of Jordan and Palestine. Non-Muslims can visit the site, but cannot pray there.
The status quo is based on the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s declaration in 1967 that Jews are not allowed to the compound as it would desecrate the site's holiness.
However, Israeli settlers, escorted by the regime’s military, frequently desecrate the site by forcefully entering and praying there.
Jewish settler groups are requesting to build a temple in place of the Dome of the Rock prayer building at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Sheikh Abdel Azeem Salhab, head of the Islamic Waqf (Endowment) organization has already warned that any Israeli action against the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and its structure will trigger an all-out religious war in the region.