Today, Saturday marks the 52nd anniversary of the evil attempt to burn the blessed Al Aqsa Mosque at a time when new and dangerous Israeli violations threaten the buildings and sanctities through excavations carried out by the Israeli occupation authorities underneath the mosque’s walls.
On 21 August 1969, Al-Aqsa Mosque was severely damaged after the Zionist criminal, Denis Michael Rohan, burned the holy site. The fire torched Salah El-Deen’s podium which has always been an icon of victory and liberation.
Israel also allows Israeli extremists to access the mosque and to violate the sanctity of the destination of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Night Journey (Israa), the first prayer direction (Qibla), and the third holy mosque. Also, this anniversary comes at a time when the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people continues to affect the different walks of life in the Palestinian-occupied territories.
Israel is persisting in killing Palestinian civilians, in addition to maintaining its siege on the Palestinian people, and continues the settlement activities and the building of the Apartheid wall.
This painful anniversary also comes at a time when the city of Al-Quds al-Sharif is living in difficult conditions as a result of the stifling siege imposed by Israel through military checkpoints and the Apartheid Wall that is suppressing the holy city, denying worshipers access to their religious places. Besides, Israel is making heated attempts to Judaize the holy city by aggressing its religious places and national institutions and seizing Palestinian houses in order to empty the city from its indigenous population and replace it with strangers.
The assaults of Israeli forces and settlers on the mosque and Palestinian worshipers did not stop, as they continued to desecrate the mosque and commit acts of sabotage in it and carry out excavations for tunnels beneath it.
This year, a state of extreme tension prevailed in Al-Aqsa Mosque, especially during the last month of Ramadan, with the Israeli occupation authorities intensifying their military measures in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in the occupied city of Jerusalem, as a result of the Israeli decisions to displace the Palestinian population from Jerusalem.
The Israeli occupation mechanisms are carrying out drilling works in the Mughrabi Gate and Al-Buraq yard, which lead to the Al-Sharaf and Al-Mughrabi Neighborhoods in Old Jerusalem.
The Mughrabi Gate is the only door leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque which the occupation has the keys to after it took it from the Islamic Waqf in 1967. Israel allows tourists and Israelis to enter the Muslim holy site through the door, including right-wing members of the Knesset and settlers who storm the area and hold prayers.
Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims, while Jews refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.