A group of right-wing Israelis toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Monday morning for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound said.
Waqf officials and eyewitnesses said that Israeli police officers stationed outside the gates of Al-Aqsa seized identity cards of Palestinian men and women before allowing them to access the compound.
Witnesses said that Israeli special forces deployed in the yards of the compound to protect the Israeli visitors, and assaulted a young Palestinian man before detaining him.Several Israelis performed Jewish rituals outside the Cotton Merchants Gate while carrying palm branches, while others marched from the Bani Ghanim Gate of the Al-Aqsa compound to the Lions Gate of the Old City.
An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. Following Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Waqf to not allow non-Muslim prayer in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. However, some Jewish worshipers regularly breach the agreement, particularly during the Jewish high holidays.