Adnan al-Husseini, Head of the Supreme Muslim Council, the official body overseeing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Haram Al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) of Jerusalem complained the moves are encouraging Israel to make “bolder provocations” against Islamic holy places in Jerusalem.
“I say without hesitation that certain Arab and Islamic regimes are tacitly encouraging Israel to carry out hostile designs against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“We have been talking a lot and protesting incessantly against these hostile actions, but these despotic regimes don’t accord Islamic holy places here real attention or respect,” al-Husseini said during an interview with Aljazeera.net.
He argued that there was a strong relationship in recent steps taken by Pakistan and Bahrain to normalise ties with Israel and what he called the “increased frequency” of Jewish attempts to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
A group of extremist Jews were
On Wednesday, as many as 50 members of a Messianic Jewish group were allowed by police to enter the Haram Al-Sharif esplanade, a step seen by many Muslims here as a brazen provocation.
In September 2000, a visit to the Muslim sanctuary by Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, served to spark off the Al-Aqsa intifada, which killed and maimed thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.
A statement by the Al-Aqsa Foundation, which monitors attacks by Jewish extremists against the Al-Aqsa Mosque, pointed out that the extremists allowed into the Haram Al-Sharif were escorted by dozens of Israeli policemen and paramilitary troops.
Jewish religious rites
At least some of the extremists, who are affiliated with an extremist group called the Temple Mount Faithful, were seen performing Jewish religious rites inside the Haram esplanade.
The group is openly dedicated to the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and neighbouring Dome of the Rock and the building of a grand Jewish temple on their sites.
“I say without hesitation that certain Arab and Islamic regimes are tacitly encouraging Israel to carry out hostile designs against the Aqsa Mosque”
The Israeli government has never sought to ban the group, despite its recurrent efforts to storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Underscoring their seriousness, the group has prepared a prototype of the contemplated temple.
Earlier this week, the Israeli High Court issued a ruling allowing members of the Temple Mount Faithful to “pray” inside the Haram al-Sharif as individuals, not as a group.
Muslim leaders have interpreted the decision as another step toward giving Jews “a foothold” at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.
No policy change
“This is what they initially did with regard to the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron. They allowed Jews to visit, and then the visits evolved into ‘arrangements’ and eventually the bulk of the mosque was converted into a synagogue,” said Shaikh Taysir Tamimi, the supreme Sharia Judge in the Occupied Palestinian territories.
An Israeli police spokesman in Jerusalem denied there was “any change of policy with regard to the status of mosques at the Temple Mount.”
“The status quo remains unchanged, we only allowed these people to enter as tourists from 7.30 to 9.30, and as far as I know they didn’t indulge in any religious activity there,” said police spokesman Gil Shmueli.