Israeli forces continued to suppress Palestinian worshipers in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday, ten days into a civil disobedience movement in the city denouncing increased security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, as Israeli forces seemed to be entrenching the new procedures.
Israeli police officers forcibly removed Palestinians who had gathered outside of the Al-Aqsa compound’s Council Gate, Firas al-Dibs, the spokesperson for the Islamic endowment (Waqf) administering the holy site, told Ma’an.
Since Israeli authorities have installed metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional security cameras in the compound following a deadly shooting attack at Al-Aqsa on July 14, Palestinians in Jerusalem have refused to enter the compound, choosing instead to pray in the streets of the Old City outside of Al-Aqsa.
Palestinians have said the move is the latest instance of Israeli authorities using Israeli-Palestinian violence as a means of furthering control over important sites in the occupied Palestinian territory and normalizing repressive measures against Palestinians.
Palestinians have protested the new measures by praying outside of Al-Aqsa’s gates since July 15, with mass demonstrations across the occupied territory on Friday erupting into violent clashes that left three protesters killed by Israelis.
Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said that dozens of Waqf employees were pushed away from the compound’s gates on Monday morning, where they have been staging vigils on a daily basis to denounce the security measures and the detention of dozens of Al-Aqsa workers.
Israeli police chief Roni al-Sheikh and Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat meanwhile toured the gates of the Al-Aqsa compound on Monday under police escort.
Israeli forces also forcibly removed worshipers at the Council Gate during the dhuhr midday prayer, while Israeli engineers reportedly took measurements in the area.
Israeli forces were also seen installing new metal barriers at Al-Aqsa’s Lions’ Gate to delimit queues leading to the metal detectors in an apparent effort to organize crowds should Palestinians stop boycotting the security measures — a worrying sign that Israeli authorities were considering keeping them in place despite Palestinian uproar.
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