After a summer of simmering tensions at al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a familiar flash point in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem could boil over once again, analysts warn.
“Through their unilateral attempts to change the internationally recognised status quo, the nationalist-religious Temple Mount activists and the Israeli government that supports them pose several dangers at the local, regional and international levels,” Nur Arafeh, a policy fellow with Al-Shabaka: the Palestinian policy network, told Al Jazeera. Read more
1. The ‘status quo’ is already changing
In 2014, almost 11,000 Jews entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. This represented a 28 percent increase from the previous year – and almost double the number of Jewish visitors in 2009. While in 2012, Jewish activists entered the compound on average once every 2 weeks, in 2013 this had become once every 4 days, and in 2014, closer to every 2-3 days.
The UN has described how this week’s confrontations were preceded by “three consecutive weeks of [Israeli forces] preventing all Palestinian women, as well as all men under 50, from entering Al Aqsa Mosque Compound during the morning hours, to secure the entry of settlers and other Israeli groups.” Last week, the Israeli government outlawed two Muslim groups, “informal movements of mostly Arab women and elderly men”, who protest Jewish activists’ visits to the compound. Read more