Israeli police officers take positions on the roof of the al-Aksa mosque during clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, has called on Muslims all over the world, especially those living in Jerusalem and Arab Israelis, to make pilgrimage to al-Aksa in order to defend the mosque from Israel's attempts to Judaize it.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Hussein emphasized the importance of visiting al-Aksa these days, in light of "the Israeli measures against the pilgrims arriving to the mosque."
Last week, Israel imposed new restrictions on Palestinian access to al-Aksa, scotching permits for Gazans to visit the mosque. On Monday, Israeli authorities announced that all Palestinian men under the age of 50 are banned from entering the compound during the Purim holiday.
On Wednesday morning, Palestinian media reported on “dozens of settlers breaking into al-Aksa accompanied by massive police forces to celebrate the Purim holiday.”
Hussein's urgent call to Muslims to rescue al-Aksa from "Judaization and division" was followed by a similar call from Hamas, which urged all Palestinians living in the West Bank and Israel to "gather around al-Aksa."
This Palestinian outcry is apparent evidence that the "al-Aksa in danger" discourse that ignited the recent wave of violence against Israel is alive and kicking. Palestinians view the recent visits by Israelis to Temple Mount, especially right-wing activist Yehuda's Glick's ascendance to the Mount, as an ignominious violation of the status quo at the holy site.