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  • Israel ordered to close the gates of Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

    Israel ordered to close the gates of Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 March 2019

An Israeli court ordered the closure of Al-Aqsa mosque again, a move which is seen as a way to take over the Islamic holy site. 

An Israeli court Sunday ordered the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site of Islam situated in the occupied Jerusalem. It was recently closed last Tuesday after Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians.

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The religious authority Waqf, which takes care of the religious site, reopened the Bab al-Rahmeh (Mercy Gate) prayer space in February after being closed down during the Second Intifada (2000-2005).

"Israel seeks to turn Bab al-Rahmeh into an abandoned area with a view to facilitating the annexation process," Palestinian Authority Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and newly minted member of the Waqf Adnan al-Husseini said in February.

The Waqf department which is a part of the Jordanian government said multiple times in the past that the Israeli courts have no jurisdiction over Al-Aqsa which is a Muslim property.

“East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, is part of the Palestinian land occupied in 1967 and it does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Israeli judiciary under international law,” the Jordanian foreign ministry said.

Jordan demanded Israel to revoke the decision as it is seen as a way to take over the holy site by the occupying country.  

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that some Jewish religious extremists have declared that they intended to take over the Bab al-Rahma area and build a Jewish temple on its site which will be called Temple Mount.

In the 1967 war, Israel took over the eastern part of the city as well as the West Bank from Jordan. In 1980, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared the whole city as its capital, a move that was rejected by most countries in the world.

The western side of the city is part of the widely-accepted territory of the state of Israel which was founded in 1948 after the end of the British Mandate for Palestine, resulting in the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages. The Palestinian leadership and most of the international community consider East Jerusalem an occupied territory and the future capital of a sovereign Palestinian state.

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