Ramallah: Ultra-Orthodox Jews will observe the two-day Jewish festival of Purim in Al Aqsa Mosque in a provocative move expected to escalate the already deteriorating conditions in Al Haram Al Sharif in occupied East Jerusalem.

“Despite the fact that tens of Al Murabiteen [defenders of Al Haram Al Sharif] are there in Al Haram Al Sharif to protect it, the Jews seem to be fully determined to mark their feast in the holy shrine,” said Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Higher Committee in Defence of Jerusalem (occupied) in an interview with Gulf News. “All those who can reach Al Haram Al Sharif over the next two days should be there to prevent the colonists from holding their planned celebrations.”

He said that organisers anticipate that huge numbers of Palestinian residents of the holy city will be in Al Haram Al Sharif during the event to protect Islam’s third holiest place.

Jewish ultra-Orthodox groups including the Trustees of the Temple Mount, Women for the Temple Mount, Students for the Temple Mount, Temple Institute, and rabbis of various areas from around historic Palestine will attend the celebrations scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Jews refer to Al Haram Al Sharif as Temple Mount.

Organisers of the celebrations have sent invitations to take part in this year’s event, which are said to be in the original Talmudic manner.

The Israeli media has reported that calls by groups to raid Al Haram Al Sharif to mark Purim there have received positive responses from various sectors of Israeli society.

‘Extremely dangerous’

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has warned about the Jewish incitement and about the violation and aggression against Al Haram Al Sharif. “We urge the Israeli government to refrain from offering those colonists support when they raid Al Haram Al Sharif. That will be extremely dangerous,” said Ahmad Qurei, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and head of the PLO Jerusalem’s Affairs Department in a statement. “The Israeli provocative policies in [occupied] Jerusalem put the holy city in a cycle of real threat and danger.”

Qurei said that occupation forces usually facilitate the raids the colonists conduct on Al Haram Al Sharif and in the absence of military support, the colonists will not be able to gain access to the holy shrine.

Dr Hanna Eisa, Secretary-General of the Christian-Muslim Association in support of (occupied) Jerusalem and the holy sites, said the Israeli policies in the holy city show that Israel is not interested in peacemaking at all.

“Israeli calls to resume the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians are a mere illusion so they can create more facts on the ground,” he told Gulf News. “It is time for the international community and UN institutions to act in support of the Palestinian holy sites, which urgently need immediate international protection.”