Defined: Why Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque has been a web site of frequent clashes

Tensions flared at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday, resulting in clashes that left 17 Palestinians wounded. The unrest occurred simply two days after a minimum of 152 Palestinians were injured throughout clashes with Israeli riot police on Friday.

The violence occurred through the Jewish competition of Passover, which coincided with the Muslims observing Ramzan. Israeli police had stated that officers entered the location after coming underneath assault with stones, fireworks and different objects that resulted in a number of accidents. The clashes observe heightened tensions over weeks between the Palestinians and Israelis, after deadly assaults in Israel and deaths of Palestinian civilians throughout subsequent raids within the West Financial institution.

What occurred?

Al Jazeera quoting the Islamic endowment that runs al-Aqsa stated Israeli police entered the mosque earlier than daybreak on Friday, whereas 1000’s of worshippers had been gathered for early morning prayers.

The BBC reported the Israeli police saying that “dozens of Palestinians, some carrying flags of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, marched on the compound at about 04:00 then began throwing stones and fireworks” and that Israeli police waited till prayers had ended earlier than coming into the location to disperse the rioters. Israeli police added that the worshippers had began throwing stones in the direction of the Western Wall situated beneath the mosque’s compound, the place Jewish worshippers had been standing.

After movies of the clashes quickly unfold on-line, Israel’s police and the nation’s overseas ministry tweeted movies displaying fireworks exploding contained in the mosque compound, with masked youths throwing stones in the direction of officers and different movies displaying masked Palestinians contained in the al-Aqsa Mosque throwing objects with loud bangs clearly audible. These clashes had been a few of the most violent on the web site in virtually a 12 months.

These clashes have come at a very risky interval. Earlier than the clashes erupted, militant teams in Gaza had referred to as for “tons of of 1000’s” of Palestinians to converge on the compound on Friday “to guard our nation and our mosque”. The competition of Passover historically sees a rise in visits to the Temple Mount web site by spiritual Jews, which the Palestinians view as provocative.

A map of the Outdated Metropolis in Jerusalem. (Credit score: Wikimedia Commons)

In Could final 12 months, following clashes on the mosque compound and weeks of civil unrest, militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza, fired rockets in the direction of Jerusalem, which triggered an 11-day warfare with Israel.

The historic context

It isn’t doable to disassociate the 14-hectare web site and the clashes with the bigger, ongoing Israeli–Palestinian battle.

The al-Aqsa Mosque is certainly one of Jerusalem’s most recognised monuments. The mosque’s advanced is certainly one of Islam’s most revered areas, and the Temple Mount is the holiest web site in Judaism.

Over the a long time, the location in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis has ceaselessly been a flashpoint for violence between Palestinians and Israeli forces and hardline teams and is on the coronary heart of competing historic claims. Some Palestinians imagine that the mosque has additionally served as a logo of their resistance, tradition and nationhood.

The Temple Mount is a walled compound contained in the Outdated Metropolis in Jerusalem, and is the location of two buildings: the Dome of the Rock to the north and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south.

The Dome of the Rock is a seventh-century construction, an vital Islamic shrine, believed to be the place the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. To the southwest of the Temple Mount, is the Western Wall, a remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest web site in Judaism.

Israeli safety forces take place throughout clashes with Palestinians demonstrators on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photograph/Mahmoud Illean)

In Judaism, it’s believed to be the location the place God gathered mud to create Adam. In line with the Bible, in 1000 BC King Solomon constructed the First Temple of the Jews on this mountain, which Babylonian troops tore down some 400 years on the orders of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Within the first century BC, Jews returned from their banishment and constructed the Second Temple. The temple was burned in AD 70 by Roman common Titus.

Following the Six-Day Conflict in 1967, an armed battle between Israel and a coalition of Arab states primarily comprising Jordan, Syria and Egypt, the Waqf Ministry of Jordan that had until then held management of the al-Aqsa Mosque, ceased to supervise the mosque. After Israel’s victory in that warfare, the nation transferred the management of the mosque and the northern a part of the location, often known as Haram al-Sharif, to the Islamic waqf belief, a physique that’s unbiased of the Israeli authorities. Israeli Safety Forces patrol and conduct searches throughout the perimeter of the mosque.

Earlier than trendy borders had been drawn up within the area, pilgrims to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina would cease over in Jerusalem to wish at this mosque. Friday prayers nonetheless draw 1000’s of worshippers to the location and Muslim spiritual festivals draw notably giant crowds.

A view of Al Aqsa, Jerusalem. (Supply: Wikimedia Commons)

Socio-political context

For Abrahamic religions, this web site bears a large amount of significance and has remained an vital place for pilgrimage. For an extended interval within the web site’s historical past, non-Muslims didn’t have permission to entry it. Within the e book ‘Metropolis of stone : the hidden historical past of Jerusalem’, Meron Benvenisti writes that Article 13 of the Obligatory Constitution conferred on Britain by the League of Nations prevented it from interfering with the location or the administration of purely Muslim holy locations, certainly one of which was the mosque.

After Israel captured the location in 1967 following the Six-Day Conflict, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel had introduced that coming into the Temple Mount was forbidden to Jews, in accordance with a halakhic prohibition, Jewish spiritual legal guidelines.

Given the tense socio-political scenario with regard to the location, the Israeli authorities has imposed a number of restrictions on entry to it. In its historical past, notably its trendy historical past, the location has been witness to a number of provocations that led to wider clashes and battle within the metropolis and area.

In 2000, former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the location when he was chief of the opposition, with a big safety presence, which sparked what later got here to be referred to as the Second Intifada. Protests towards Sharon’s go to spiralled into an armed battle that resulted within the deaths of 1000’s of Israelis and Palestinians.

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