The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) expressed on Thursday its condemnation and rejection of the “aggressive” Israeli Judaisation of the occupied city of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque, Anadolu has reported. The scholars called for the city and mosque to be protected in the face of such a “heinous crime”.
The IUMS made its comments in the wake of local reports about the occupation state’s new excavations near the Buraq (“Wailing”) Wall in occupied Jerusalem. Such work, the union insists, is part of Israel’s efforts to Judaise the square in front of the wall adjacent to the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa.
The union added that the Israeli occupation authorities are preventing citizens from outside the Old City of Jerusalem from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque under the pretext of measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the Israelis are taking advantage of the closure to make changes in the district. “We reject any and all attempts [by Israel] to steal more Palestinian land and alter the identity of the holy city.”
The IUMS called on the Arab and Muslim world, “particularly the countries that remain faithful to the Palestinian cause and have not normalised relations with Israel”, as well as international human rights and humanitarian groups to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque and occupied Jerusalem from these repeated and “provocative” attacks aimed at erasing the city’s identity.
The Palestinians are committed to East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state of Palestine on the basis of international resolutions and legitimacy. Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem in 1981 remains illegal under international law.
On Wednesday, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned against “Israeli plans to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque spatially and remove the exclusive management of the holy site from the Islamic Awqaf [religious endowment] departments.” This followed an incursion by Israeli surveyors, protected by police officers, to survey all parts of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The mosque compound covers an area of 36 acres and is the third most scared Islamic site in the world after the Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. Despite this, Al-Aqsa Mosque is frequently and violently stormed by illegal Israeli settlers and police, usually from the gate which leads from the Buraq Wall Square.