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Prominent cleric warns against incursions by Israeli settlers into al-Aqsa Mosque

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A group of Israeli settlers are seen at the al-Asqa Mosque compound in the occupied East al-Quds. (File photo by the Palestinian Wafa news agency)

The Grand Mufti of al-Quds Sheikh Muhammad Hussein has issued stern warning against potential desecration of the al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli settlers in the Old City of al-Quds.

In a statement released on Monday, the senior cleric said the circumstances were turning malign amid a series of calls by extremist settler groups to show up in large numbers at the compound in the coming weeks during Jewish holidays.

He said frequent incursions by Israeli soldiers and settlers had turned into systematic violations aimed at changing the status quo of the holy site and totally or partially Judaizing the mosque.

“These calls come in the context of the frantic campaign led by the Israeli occupying regime to Judaize the holy city as planned.”

“What the city of Jerusalem (al-Quds) is facing aims at Judaizing it completely, dividing the holy al-Aqsa Mosque temporally and spatially, changing the features of the Arab and Islamic city, and creating a new fait accompli that prevents Arabs and Muslims from reaching it,” the cleric added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Grand Mufti of al-Quds appealed to Muslims around the world to do what they can to protect the al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Quds.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in July that Israel was undermining the security and stability of the region, warning that Tel Aviv is dragging the region into a religious war that would have serious ramifications.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already condemned “in the strongest terms” Israel’s “plans to Judaize the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque and its surroundings.”

The Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas recently censured the Israeli regime over attempts to change the geographic and demographic character of the occupied al-Quds.

Hamas has also attributed increasing settlement activities in al-Quds to normalization agreements between some Arab countries and Israel, emphasizing that such accords had emboldened the regime to annex more Palestinian land.

Israel occupied the Old City of al-Quds during the Six-Day War of 1967. After the end of hostilities, the regime allowed the Awqaf to retain authority over the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, or the Haram al-Sharif.

Israel lays claim to the entire al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory and Palestinians consider it the capital of their future state.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, adopted on August 20, 1980, prohibits countries from establishing diplomatic missions in al-Quds.

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