Middle East Monitor / November 5, 2020
Israeli occupation police have banned the deputy director of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the sanctuary compound, Quds Press has reported. Sheikh Najeh Bkeerat was handed the banning order on Wednesday.
Last week, also on Wednesday, the police raided Bkeerat’s office in Al-Aqsa and detained him. They banned him for a week and told him to report to the intelligence services in occupied Jerusalem after seven days.
He duly reported to the intelligence services and was detained again. “They detained me and then gave me a banning order for six months but gave no reason for it,” he explained.
According to Sheikh Bkeerat, Israel has crossed the red lines in its aggression towards Al-Aqsa. “It is planning to empty the holy site of employees and worshippers as part the occupation’s targeting of the sanctuary’s Islamic and Palestinian identity.”
Over the past year, Israel has increased the number of banning orders issued to Palestinians worshipping in the mosque, as well as employees. Bkeerat is an employee of Jordan’s Ministry of Awqaf (Religious Endowments), which is the legal custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Hashemite Kingdom stressed its role in the custodianship and administration of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in the occupied West Bank when it signed the Wadi Araba Treaty with Israel in 1994.
In March 2013, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement that affirmed the Kingdom’s guardianship and right to defend the Islamic holy sites in occupied Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.