Israel’s occupation police used force to clear worshippers and protestors from the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday morning, July 18, to allow over a thousand Jewish extremists to enter Al-Haram Al-Sharif compound.
Far-right Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held an assessment of the security situation on Monday morning with Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev and police chief Kobi Shabtai. A statement released by the premier’s office said that Bennett had “instructed that the orderly and safe ascent of Jews to the Temple Mount should continue, while order is maintained at the site.” In doing so, Bennett violated a long-standing agreement forbidding Jewish prayer in the compound.
Israeli police officers fired stun grenades and tear gas into the Muslim shrine, causing injuries to worshippers and damage to Islam’s third holiest site. Muslim clergy in East Jerusalem called on followers to come to the site, as this week marks the start of Eid al-Adha, one of the holiest festivals in the Islamic calendar. The holiday often sees mass congregational prayers. According to the Jewish calendar, Sunday was the 9th day of the month of Av (Tisha B’Av) a day of remembrance for the destruction of the first and second Jewish temples in 586 BCE and 70 CE respectively.
Hadash Knesset member Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, denounced the attacks on the compound, and laid into Bennett’s new government, dubbed the “Government of Change” by its members. “A month after the Flag March, the government of change is continuing with the violence and the suppression at Al-Aqsa, the Damascus Gate and Sheikh Jarrah. However the firing of weapons, brandishing of clubs and the use of stun grenades just reinforce the simple truth: There is an entire people here under occupation that has the right to be freed from it.”