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Israeli settlers urge animal sacrifice at al-Aqsa Mosque during Jewish Passover

A visitor takes a picture next to the Dome of the Rock on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Israelis as the Temple Mount, the occupied Old City of al-Quds on January 3, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Israeli settlers have renewed their calls to be allowed to perform animal slaughter at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied East al-Quds to mark a Jewish holiday despite widespread opposition from the Muslim community and potential backlash from Palestinians.

The calls were made in a letter signed by 15 rabbis and addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and far-right security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Thursday, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is set to commence on April 5 and this year coincides with the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

This is while the al-Aqsa Mosque — the third-holiest site in Islam — is forbidden to non-Muslim prayers and rituals based on decades-long international agreements.

Right-wing Israeli groups regularly call for animal sacrifice to be allowed during Passover on the holy site, which is known to Israelis as the Temple Mount.

While the Israeli cabinet has long resisted such calls for fear of a massive backlash from the global Muslim community and Palestinian people, a number of figures in the new extremist Israeli cabinet have supported allowing Jewish worship on the site

In January, Ben-Gvir entered the holy site of al-Aqsa Mosque through the Moroccan Gate, also known as the Mughrabi Gate, in a desecratory move that drew backlash from Palestinians who had labeled the act an “unprecedented provocation.”

Israeli settler incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque have recently been on the rise in light of the arrival of a new far-right extremist regime led by Netanyahu.

Such mass settler break-ins almost always take place at the behest of Tel Aviv-backed temple groups and under the auspices of the Israeli police in al-Quds, leading to daily confrontations with Palestinians at the mosque, with many injured, arrested and killed

The issue has been a major flashpoint between the Israeli occupation and Palestinians for decades. It was the epicenter of the 2000-2005 Palestinian Intifada, also known as the uprising.

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