AL-QUDS (Dispatches) – The Zionist regime is allowing Jews to conduct prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Al-Quds in a move that risks shifting the site’s status quo, The New York Times reported.
In a story published on Tuesday, the Times said Rabbi Yehudah Glick made “little effort to hide his prayers” and was even livestreaming them.
The area is in Al-Quds’ walled Old City and part of the territory the Zionist regime occupied in a 1967 Middle East war. The regime occupied East Al-Quds in 1980 in a step that was never recognized by the international community.
Since 1967, Jordan and the occupying regime agreed that the Waqf, or the Islamic trust, would have control over matters inside the compound. Non-Muslims would be allowed onto the site during visiting hours, but would not be allowed to pray there.
According to the Times, Glick – a U.S.-born, right-wing former lawmaker – has been leading efforts to change the status quo for decades.
Other Zionist movements, such as the Temple Mount Faithful and the Temple Institute, have also challenged the regime’s ban on allowing Jews to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The formal arrangement agreed on by Jordan and the occupying regime is in place is to avoid conflict at the flashpoint site.
But Zionist troops routinely allow groups, some in the hundreds, of settlers who live in occupied Palestinian territories to descend on the Al-Aqsa compound under police and army protection, stirring Palestinian fears of a Zionist takeover.
In 2000, Zionist politician Ariel Sharon entered the holy site accompanied by some 1,000 troops. His entrance to the compound unleashed the second Intifada, in which more than 3,000 Palestinians and some 1,000 Zionists were killed.
And in May, Zionist troops raided the al-Aqsa Mosque several times, with subsequent escalations leading to an 11-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip.
Despite the arrangement in place, in reality, “dozens of Jews now openly pray every day in a secluded part of the eastern flank of the site, and their Israeli police escorts no longer attempt to stop them”, reported the Times.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 7 reported there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of Zionist incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound over the past three months.
The Palestinian Information Centre reported the TV station saying some 9,804 Zionists have stormed the month over the past three months, compared to 6,133 over the same period last year.
Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims.