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PLO official warns "against the consequences of the incessant Israeli violations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the attempts to divide it"

Headline: “The occupation turns the Gate of Mercy into a military base, arrests three women, and distances worshippers from the Al-Aqsa Mosque”

“PLO Executive Committee member [and Head of the PLO Department of Diplomacy and Public Policy] Hanan Ashrawi said: ‘The Israeli escalation in Jerusalem is a translation into action of America’s illegal and immoral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, of the transfer of its embassy to it, and of its absolute support for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s extremist government, which is systematically and deliberately striving to drag the region into a religious war.’

In statements that she gave yesterday [Feb. 19, 2019] on behalf of the Executive Committee, she warned against the consequences of the incessant Israeli violations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the attempts to divide it according to times and areas. The latest of these was the closure of its gates yesterday, and particularly the closure of the Gate of Mercy with iron chains (a compound near the Gate of Mercy was closed after the Jordanian Waqf violated a court order by reopening it; see note below –Ed.).”

US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel - On Dec. 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump added that the final borders of Jerusalem will be determined during negotiations. The US embassy was transferred from Tel Aviv and opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, the anniversary of Israel's declaration of independence in 1948 according to the Gregorian calendar.


Division according to areas and times” refers to a submission of a “private bill” by Israeli MP Uri Ariel in March 2003. The bill suggested ensuring freedom of religious worship by allowing both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount - what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The bill sought to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews. The bill never progressed past the initial legislatory stage. While there was additional discussion on the subject in 2012, no legislation was ever passed. In response to the incessant PA claims that the “division according to areas and times” of the Temple Mount is an operative Israeli plan, former Israeli PM Netanyahu stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the so-called status quo on the Temple Mount, which de facto is interpreted to mean Jews are only allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but not to conduct individual or communal prayers there. In July 2021, Israeli PM Naftali Bennett said Muslims and Jews have freedom of worship at the Temple Mount, which was understood by many as a hint to changing the status quo at the site, but the following day his office backtracked and said he misspoke and did not mean Jews would have freedom of worship, but rather would have freedom to visit. “There is no change in the status quo,” a statement from PM Bennett’s office confirmed.y type of worship.


February 2019 Temple Mount clashes – Muslim riots broke out on the Temple Mount starting Feb. 18, 2019, after the Israeli police closed a compound near the Gate of Mercy after the Jordanian Waqf had violated an Israeli court order by reopening the compound the previous week. The compound was ordered sealed in 2017 given that it was managed by the banned Islamic Movement in Israel and used for illegal construction and antiquities destruction.

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