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Yehuda Glick performs prayers outside Al-Aqsa, as 135 Israelis enter holy site

Aug. 23, 2017 4:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2017 10:15 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- More than 130 right-wing Israelis stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday morning under a heavy police presence, while ultra nationalist parliament member Yehuda Glick performed prayers outside the holy site’s gates.

Firas al-Dibs, spokesman for the Islamic Endowment -- or Waqf -- which controls Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, told Ma’an that some 135 Israeli “settlers” entered the compound in the morning, during visitation periods when non-Muslims are permitted to enter the site.

Far-right member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, Yehuda Glick performed prayers outside Al-Aqsa’s Cotton Merchants gate, under the protection of Israeli police. Like other Knesset members, Glick is not permitted to enter Al-Aqsa compound.

Glick, who is an outspoken proponent for allowing Jewish prayer at the holy site, had also visited the compound last week in order to protest the ban preventing Knesset members from accessing the compound for the past year and a half.

Witnesses told Ma’an that a group of Israeli Jewish women had also performed prayers outside of Al-Aqsa’s gates.

While non-Muslims are permitted to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during specific times during the day, non-Muslim worship is strictly prohibited at the site as per an international agreement between Jordan and Israel following Israel’s takeover of the territory in 1967.

However, Israeli visits to the compound, which oftentimes include Israelis performing prayers in violation of the longstanding agreement, can cause tensions with Palestinian worshippers, as the Israeli presence is seen as a threat to the status quo at the site.

Many Palestinians and rights groups fear that right-wing groups calling for the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque to make way for a third Jewish temple are gaining growing influence in Netanyahu’s right-wing government.
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