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Israel outlaws Palestinian groups at Aqsa compound

Sept. 9, 2015 10:24 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 10, 2015 10:55 A.M.)
Palestinian women who call themselves Murabitat shout slogans during a small protest against preventing them from entering the Al-Aqsa mosques compound.(AFP/File Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon announced Wednesday he has outlawed two Palestinian Muslim groups active at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Murabitat and Murabitun gather at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to demonstrate against what they see as increasing Israeli control over the holy site, above all visits by Israeli rightists under armed guard.

They tend to confront Jewish visitors with cries of "Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)" as they see their presence as aimed at bringing an eventual change in the status of the site, where non-Muslim prayer is prohibited.

Yaalon's office said he had been convinced by Israel's internal security bodies that outlawing the Murabitat and Murabitun, a decision he reached on Tuesday, was necessary in order to "defend the security of the state, the well-being of the public and public order".

The groups, it said, were "a main factor in creating the tension and violence" at the site, venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, and in Jerusalem at large.

"They engage in inciteful and dangerous activity against tourists, visitors and worshipers at the site, which leads to violence," Yaalon's office said, and "strive to undermine Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount."

"They are linked to -- and frequently guided by -- hostile Islamic organisations," Yaalon's office said.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs Al-Aqsa, slammed the decision as "totally unacceptable".

"The occupation regime has no right to intervene in Al-Aqsa's matters," he said in a statement.

"Any Muslim who enters Al-Aqsa mosque and prays is a protector of the mosque. Nobody has a right to prevent a Muslim from entering their holy site and praying."

Under the new legal conditions, anyone who organizes, finances or participates in the groups' activities could face trial.

The third holiest site in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is also venerated as Judaism's most holy place as it sits where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood.

Following Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained an agreement with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa compound not to allow non-Muslim prayer in the area.

However, Israeli forces have regularly escorted Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa compound, leading to anger among Muslim worshipers.

Jewish prayer is allowed at the neighboring Western Wall, which is the last remnant of the Second Temple.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
Comments
Tomas / Austria
Those extremist Muslim groups which plague Jewish visitors to the shrine with screaming abuse, curses and pushing, have been banned from the Temple Mount The Morabitun and Morabitat are established by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement of Israel to harass non-Muslim visitors.
10/09/2015 00:12
Outlier / USA
Sorry Sheikh, but with Israel providing security at the site, it has every right to remove those it considers a threat. Also, if every who prays there is a protector, Al-Aqsa does not need these people.
10/09/2015 02:56
Bonny / Scotland
These Islamic extremists should have been outlawed forty years ago, those Israelis are too soft.
10/09/2015 07:55
Osama / UK
The Morabitun and Morabitat are established by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement of Israel to harass non-Muslim visitors, that's Christian visitors too.
10/09/2015 08:09
Fergus / Scotland
Not before time.
10/09/2015 13:46
ian / australia (1)
A guy in Nablus once said to me that at Ben Gurion, people are told if they visit Nablus, they will be kidnapped or killed. (We had a good laugh and more knafeh.) Moshe Ya'alon is spreading the same kind of alarmist agitprop about the Aqsa: that it is dangerous to visit due to sinister women in black
12/09/2015 04:24
ian / australia (2)
(contd.) recruited by "hostile Islamic organisations", terrorising non-Muslims. The propaganda war has begun with "useful idiots" Tomas, Outlier, Bonny, Osama and Fergus lining up to repeat the lies. The reality is: JEWISH visitors, on provocative "tours" escorted by armed guards, are followed by
12/09/2015 04:25
ian / australia (3)
(contd.) women shouting "Allahu Akbar! ALLAHU AKBAR!!" until they leave because their presence is interpreted (as it is intended to be) as the threat that Jews plan to take over. The bottom line is that designating a group protesting armed incursions (inc. tear gas and stun grenades) in legal, non-violent
12/09/2015 04:27
ian / australia (4)
(contd.) ways, as "terrorists", demonising them with a sinister new name no-one has heard of and banning them from a site which does NOT fall under Israeli jurisdiction, is an outrageous provocation designed to ESCALATE conflict. (And all by a state which has just turned a blind eye to homicidal arson.)
12/09/2015 04:28
ian / australia (5)
(contd.) Welcome to the annexation of the "Temple Mount". This is how it's done. By despicable masters of stealth and deception.
12/09/2015 04:30
ian / australia (1)
To Outlier. Remind us. How many nations in the world recognise Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem or Israel's "right" to "provide security" at a Muslim site which is not IN Israel and is administered by an Islamic wakf? (Big clue: one.) (I doubt you've set foot on the Haram or have any idea what you're talking about
12/09/2015 04:41
ian / australia (2)
(contd.) and are just hard-wired to repeat whatever evil line Israel is currently taking.)
12/09/2015 04:42
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