The Israeli regime has banned Palestinian men under the age of 50 from attending Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
“It has been decided to limit the age of worshippers allowed entry to the Temple Mount to men over 50,” a statement by the Israeli police said Thursday, using the holy site’s Hebrew name.
“Entry of women of all ages will be allowed,” the statement added.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound, located in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds, is a flashpoint holy Islamic site. The location of the compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the holiest site in Judaism. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
The restriction comes as tensions have been on the rise in the occupied West Bank and al-Quds in recent days.
Earlier in the day, clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the Beit El settlement near the city of Ramallah when Israeli troops fired tear gas and used live ammunition to disperse the demonstrators, who were angry over provocations by Israeli forces and settlers in Muslims’ third holiest site. At least two Palestinians are reported to have been injured in the attacks by Israeli troops.
According to local sources, during similar clashes in the Shu’fat refugee camp in East al-Quds, at least one Palestinian was killed and six others injured. The Palestinian was shot in the chest, according to the Red Crescent and hospital sources.
Israeli police had imposed entry bans on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on October 4, announcing that only Israelis, tourists, residents of the area, business owners and schoolchildren were allowed to enter the sacred site.
UN raps Israel over use of live ammunition
UN High Commissioner for Human Right Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein (pictured below) has expressed extreme concern over the escalation of the tensions in the occupied territories, urging an end to the violence.
“The security situation has deteriorated dramatically over the past week in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” he said.
The UN officials also slammed Israeli forces for using live ammunition against Palestinians.
“The use of .22 caliber rifles against protesters is of particular concern,” said Zeid.
He also described collective punishments, such as the demolition of Palestinian homes by Israeli forces in East al-Quds, as “both illegal and counterproductive,” adding, “Any response to the current situation must be strictly in accordance with norms and standards contained in international law.”
The confrontations in the occupied territories follow a wave of violence that has seen Israeli settlers and soldiers attacking Palestinian worshipers in al-Aqsa compound over the past weeks.