Palestinian Al-Aqsa
© Quds News Network
Israeli forces attack Palestinian worshipers at the Al-Aqsa compound on August 11, 2019, the first day of Eid al-Adha
In the early morning hours of Sunday, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at worshipers, and violently detained a number of Palestinians, including women, at the compound.

Tensions rose in Jerusalem over the weekend as Israeli settlers, under the protection of armed Israeli forces, raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound just a few days before the Eid al-Adha holidays.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, Israeli forces stormed the compound, which is the third holiest site in Islam, as Palestinian worshipers were performing predawn fajjr prayers.


According to local media reports, Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at worshipers, and violently detained a number of Palestinians, including women, at the compound.

Israeli police claimed that Palestinians at the compound threw rocks at forces, though Palestinians maintained that the Israeli forces were the ones who provoked the violence.

Israeli forces also restricted other Palestinians from entering the area, forcing people to perform prayers at the gates to the compound.

Videos published on social media showed Israeli forces violently manhandling Palestinian women, unprovoked, as they were walking inside the Al-Aqsa compound.

Outside the gates of the compound, Israeli forces were documented as conducting unwarranted stops and searches on Palestinian bystanders over the course of the entire weekend.


Meanwhile, on Sunday morning and throughout the day, Israeli forces escorted hundreds of Israeli settlers into the compound, many of whom perform prayers and other rituals to mark Tisha B'Av, which commemorates the destruction of the ancient temples in Jerusalem.

According to AFP, more than 1,600 Jewish settlers entered the compound on Sunday.


The presence of the settlers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound sparked outrage in Palestine, as the events fell on the Sunday marking the eve of the Hajj pilgrimage, and the Day of Arafah, the holiest day of the Muslim calendar.

Palestinian leaders condemned the raids, with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh calling Sunday's events a "serious violation that aims to impose the temporal and spatial division of the mosque."

Shatayyeh and the Palestinian Authority condemned what they said were attempts to "change the status quo" at the site.

Jordan, which is the official custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, also condemned Israel's actions, with the Jordanian foreign ministry calling on Israel "to stop its violations and provocations" and to "respect the historical and legal status quo, respect the sanctity of the mosque and the freedom of worshipers, and respect the authority of the Jordan-run Jerusalem Endowment Department and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs".

On Sunday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked security officials for "preserving freedom of worship for Jews on the Mount", referring to the Temple Mount, the Jewish name for the Al-Aqsa compound.

On Monday however, following the international backlash, Bennett backtracked, saying that "there is no change in the status quo."

The Al-Aqsa compound has for decades been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict due to its religious significance for both Muslims and Jews, and the political importance of the city of Jerusalem for both Palestinian and Israelis.

Following Israel's illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, an agreement was signed with Jordan, allowing for non-Muslim visitation, but no non-Muslim worship, at the site.

Despite this agreement, Israeli settlers and forces regularly raid the compound, often on Jewish holidays, sparking protests and resulting in the violent suppression of Palestinian worshipers.

In 2019, dozens of Palestinians were injured during similar circumstances on the eve of Eid al-Adha, as Jewish settlers raided the compound for Tish B'Av.

Earlier this year, during the last few days of Ramadan and leading up to the Eid-al-Fitr holidays, Israeli forces conducted violent raids on the compound and across East Jerusalem, resulting in the injury and arrest of hundreds of Palestinians.

Israel's violations at the site were the spark that led the Hamas military wing in Gaza to begin firing rockets at Israel. It led to the worst fighting in years, and an 11-day Israeli offensive that brutalized Gaza, and killed at least 256 Palestinians, including 66 children.