Jerusalem: Far-right Israelis plan provocative march as Al-Aqsa assaults continue

Israeli Border Police patrols in front of the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  April 20, 2022

Israeli security forces storm Al-Aqsa in the fifth raid this month, as right-wing Israelis expected to hold a march in Jerusalem later in the day.

Far-right Israelis are planning to go ahead with an unauthorized march in Jerusalem on Wednesday that is expected to stoke further tension following repeated raids of Al-Aqsa Mosque by Israeli forces.

Early this morning, Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa, fired rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinians, locked worshippers in prayer halls, surrounded women in front of the Dome of the Rock, and forcibly removed Palestinians from the mosque’s courtyard to clear the way for Jewish settlers. 

Israeli settlers later entered the mosque’s complex in groups under heavy protection from armed forces and performed religious rituals marking the Jewish Passover.

Israeli forces have raided the mosque five times this month, four of which have been in the past four days. Far-right Israeli activists and settler groups had announced plans to storm Al-Aqsa this week in large numbers, starting from Sunday, to mark Passover.

At least 650 settlers stormed Al-Aqsa on Tuesday, according to state news agency Wafa, after Israeli forces secured their way following a violent crackdown on Palestinian worshippers.

On Sunday, 545 settlers stormed the mosque and 561 more entered on Monday, according to the Waqf, the Jordanian-run trust that oversees the holy site. 

Tensions are expected to rise later in the day with right-wing Israeli organizations planning to hold a march around the walls of the Old City despite not having received an approval from the police, Haaretz reported. 

The police have said they will not provide security for the Flag March, which is expected to pass the Damascus Gate that leads into to the Muslim Quarter on its way to the Western Wall, and asked the organizers to change the route. 

Meanwhile, Israeli forces carried out raids and search campaigns in the occupied West Bank, arresting at least six Palestinians from Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem.