Ramallah: An Israeli court has granted permission for Jews to pray and perform Jewish rituals during their incursions into Al Haram Al Sharif in occupied East Jerusalem.

The occupation forces’ Jerusalem District Court issued on Monday a provocative ruling permitting Jews to pray at the holy shrine in violation to the delicate, half-a-century-old status quo agreement that allowed Jews to visit the holy site but banned them from praying there, as it is the third holiest site in Islam.

Occupation forces inside Al Haram Al Sharif recently expelled a Jewish activist from the site and banned his entry for 15 days for raising his hands and performing Talmudic rituals at the Islamic shrine. The expulsion of the Jewish activist Yehuda Etzion was reviewed in an appeal hearing by the Court, which issued an unprecedented criticism of the Israeli police’s conduct, overturning the ban on the hardline activist.

After the court hearing, Etzion said “within the framework of the shameful status quo there is nothing wrong with Jewish prayers inside the holy shrine, which is revered by the Jews”. He implored the Israeli police to implement the court ruling and allow Jews entry into the holy shrine and enable them to pray there. Jews claim that the shrine is the site of ancient temples holy to them.

The Israeli occupation police earlier announced that Etzion lifted the palms of his hands in an act of surreptitious prayer during the visit, which took place to mark the Fast of the Tenth Tevet. The Jordanian Waqf guards, who are guardians of the site, complained about the move to the Israeli occupation’s police at the holy site, following which an Israeli police officer asked Etzion to accompany him off the holy site, but activist refused to leave, making four police officers forcibly remove him from the site.

Fakhri Abu Diyab, who heads the local committee in defence of occupied Jerusalem said that Jerusalemites in general and Al Murabiteen (defenders) of Al Haram Al Sharif in particular, along with the guards of the Waqf Department, which administers the holy shrine, are aware of the Jewish worship, feasts and all other Talmudic rituals.

“Jewish prayers are not surreptitious and it is easy to recognise those prayers,” he told Gulf News. “Jerusalemites are fully committed to what has been agreed upon (the status quo) and keen to ensure that the Jews implement it too.”

Talmudic rituals require that the Jewish men cover their heads during prayer. The Jewish men and boys wear a kippah (skull cap) during prayer.

Palestinians believe Israel is seeking to change the status quo at Al Haram Al Sharif, and this has fuelled three-month-old unrest and violent clashes between the Palestinians and the Israelis that have claimed the lives of 135 people on the Palestinian side, 19 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean