Israeli occupation police provide protection for Jews raiding Al Haram Al Sharif in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. Image Credit: AFP

Ramallah: Hundreds of Jewish colonists raided on Sunday the Muslim holy site of Al Haram Al Sharif of occupied East Jerusalem, prayed and performed Talmudic rituals to mark the day during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war that Jerusalem was illegally annexed and occupied by the Israeli regime.

At the time, Jordan lost the eastern part of Jerusalem (about 11.5 per cent of the total area of Jerusalem). The Israeli regime had already captured 84.1 per cent of the western part of Jerusalem during the 1948 war, the same year it declared itself a state.

Palestinian residents of occupied Jerusalem protested a planned parade by petitioning the Israeli Higher Court of Justice to reroute the procession. Their petition was rejected and Israeli police were also instructed to have a zero tolerance policy for any Palestinians chanting against the parade, which is expected to draw thousands of Israeli colonists.

Hundreds of Jewish raids on Al Haram Al Sharif have taken place during the month of May.

Mazen Abu Qalbain, an activist in occupied Jerusalem, said that Israeli forces barred Palestinians from entering Al Haram Al Sharif but opened the gates to the Israeli colonists who are holding provocative dancing concerts inside Al Haram Al Sharif and in front of its gates and on the roads and streets of the Old City.

Jews are allowed to visit Al Haram Al Sharif, but not perform religious rituals there, according to a long-standing status quo agreement. Attempts by Israel’s regime to change the status quo have led to escalating violence and tensions which have claimed the lives of over 210 Palestinians and 33 Israelis.

Israel’s regime took over Al Haram Al Sharif and the entire eastern part of Jerusalem and annexed it during the 1967 Middle East war, but left the Jordanian Waqr Department to administer and run the Muslim holy sites in a historic status quo agreement which governs access to the holy shrine.

Ongoing incursions by Jews on Al Haram Al Sharif premises have been the largest instigator of violence since last year. Palestinians say the Israeli regime is encouraging its citizens to violate the status quo agreement in an effort to change the facts on the ground and erase all Palestinian and Muslim identity from occupied Jerusalem.

Al Haram Al Sharif is built on top of the ancient remnants of the Temple Mount, a site sacred in Judaism, but was destroyed in the 4th century by the Romans, during their rule.

Al Haram Al Sharif site houses both Al Aqsa Mosque which was originally commissioned to be built under Omar, the second Caliph in Islam in the 7th century, and the Dome of the Rock which houses the rock from which Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) ascended to heaven, according to Islamic teachings.