An Israeli court has upheld a ban on Jews praying on the grounds of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Earlier, the country’s lower court ruled on Tuesday that Jews could pray “peacefully” in the mosque’s compound. The ruling angered the Palestinian territories and the Muslim world.
The Aqsa Mosque or Baitul Muqaddas is considered to be the third holiest place for Muslims around the world. And to the Jews it is known as the Temple Mount. They also claim it as their holy place. The location of this mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
According to the AFP news agency, the problem started when Israeli Rabbi Ariel Lippo entered the Al-Aqsa compound and prayed. Last month, after the incident he had banned the prayers of the Jews. The matter was eventually taken to court. A Jerusalem court ruled Tuesday that Lippo’s “whispered” prayer did not violate police restrictions. Ariah Romanoff, a judge in Jerusalem’s district court, reinstated a ban on Jewish prayers at the Al-Aqsa compound on Friday after Israeli police appealed the ruling. “What the police have done is logical,” he said.
Leaders of the Muslim world unanimously condemned him after an Israeli court ruling last Tuesday. Al-Aqsa director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told the AFP news agency that “allowing Jews to pray is a kind of provocation and would destroy Al-Aqsa’s sanctity.” Abdullah Kanan, an official with Jordan’s Royal Committee on Jerusalem, rejected the order, calling it an attack on al-Aqsa. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a global alliance of Muslim countries, has strongly condemned Israel’s so-called “Jerusalem court” decision. However, tensions are expected to ease after yesterday’s verdict.
Earlier in May, local Palestinians clashed with extremist Jews in the mosque compound over Israeli efforts to evict some Palestinian families from areas near al-Aqsa. Later, Israeli forces carried out air strikes on Gaza for 11 consecutive days. Many Palestinian civilians were killed in the attack.