Knesset plans to discuss listing Al-Aqsa mosque, the world’s third holiest site for Muslims, under Israeli administration has sparked angry comments from Palestinian officials, warning that Israel is playing with fire by desecrating the Islamic and Christian sanctities.
“They are playing with fire,” Ahmed al-Rubaidi, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
“Israel knows that the impact of desecrating the holy sites in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) would extend beyond Palestinian territories,” he added.
The warning comes ahead of a Knesset session planned on Tuesday to discuss a proposal to put Al-Aqsa mosque under Israeli supervision.
The proposal was made by Knesset MP Moshi Viglen from the Likud party. The plan comes amid rising incursions into the mosque by Jewish settlers backed by Israeli troops.
Earlier in February, scores of Palestinian Muslim worshippers have been injured after Israeli forces raided Al-Aqsa mosque in Al-Quds firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at worshippers.
“The Jewish right wing is testing Palestinians and Arabs,” al-Rubaidi said.
He went on to assert that the Palestinian Authority leadership will resist what he described as Israel’s attempt to “impose a new reality” in the occupied territories.
Other Palestinian officials have also protested the Israeli plans, adding that there would be no sovereignty over the Aqsa Mosque and Islamic and Christian holy sites other than Palestinian sovereignty.
“This is the full right of the Arab, including Muslims and Christians,” Palestinian Authority Minister for Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash was quoted by Jerusalem Post.
Al-Habbash warned that Israel plans to “divide” the Aqsa Mosque, adding that, “These efforts won’t succeed.”
Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam’s third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel occupied the holy city and the West Bank in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements.
Protesting the Israeli plans, several Jordanian lawmakers have urged their government to expel the Israeli ambassador in protest at an Israeli proposal to end Jordanian supervision on Islamic shrines in Al-Quds.
“Israel’s aggressions and repeated storming of Al-Aqsa are a mere prelude to the division of the mosque and terminating Jordan’s supervision on the holy shrines,” MP Yehia al-Soud, who heads a bloc of 11 lawmakers called “Palestine Parliamentary Committee,” told a press conference.
“The Israelis are trying to impose a new status quo….This would be the last nail in the coffin of Israel,” said MP al-Soud.
“For Arabs and Muslims around the world, Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line,” he insisted.
Jordan has been supervising Al-Aqsa Mosque and other endowments in Al-Quds since 1948. A 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel recognizes Jordan’s special supervisory role over holy sites in Al-Quds.
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra’a and Al Mi’raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him). ISLAM ONLINE