Settlers break into Al-Aqsa in lead up to Second Temple anniversary

Silwanic | Sunday, 29 July, 2012 | 18:41

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) —

Israeli settlers and soldiers have staged repeated break-ins to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City in recent weeks, as the anniversary of the destruction of the Second Temple looms for the city’s religious Jewish population.

Thirty settlers forced their way into Al-Aqsa again last night, 26 June, where they filmed an interview with one settler present. When Al-Aqsa guards attempted to intervene they were stopped by Israeli police.

More than a hundred Israeli settlers broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque on Wednesday, 18 June, in a provocative marking of the “anniversary of the destruction of the Second Temple”, which falls on 29 July.

Approximately 120 settlers broke into the Al-Aqsa complex that morning through Dung Gate and spread out throughout the grounds, loudly reciting prayers. Eyewitnesses report that Al-Aqsa guards and religious students intervened when settlers began screaming religious statements.

58 settlers and 28 uniformed Israeli soldiers broke into Al-Aqsa on 16 July as part of an organized tour. Sub-groups were led throughout the mosque complex, with settlers and soldiers taking photographs of the holy site.

The recent spate of provocative incursions into the third most holy site in Islam comes amidst a climate of right-wing Israeli agitation for the construction of the “Third Temple”, a symbolic concept of religious Judaism. Websites and pamphlets promoting its construction detail the steps required for its rebuilding and the religious ceremonies that will take place. Such visions of the “Third Temple” are commonly associated in the minds of right-wing Israelis with the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque and all traces of Palestinian and Islamic heritage in Jerusalem, and the primacy of Jewish presence.

Break-in to Al-Aqsa Mosque (courtesy of the Al-Aqsa Council

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