Skip to main content

Al-Aqsa Mosque back in the eye of the storm with renewed clashes, arrests

Various minor infractions have once again increased tensions at Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Palestinians complain that restoration work has been disrupted and Israeli visitors have exceeded agreed-upon limits.
Israeli border policemen perform a security check on a Palestinian youth at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City before Friday prayers October 23, 2015. Palestinian factions called for mass rallies against Israel in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in a "day of rage" on Friday, as world and regional powers pressed on with talks to try to end more than three weeks of bloodshed. Israeli authorities also lifted restrictions on Friday that had banned men aged under 40 from using the flashpoi

Tensions between Palestinian worshippers and Israelis at Al-Aqsa Mosque have been growing again. Following several incidents, Jordan’s King Abdullah told the Jordanian newspaper Ad-Dustour on Aug. 15, “We will persist in undertaking our religious and historical responsibilities toward Al-Aqsa Mosque/Haram al-Sharif, which faces repeated violations by extremist groups.”

There has been no direct response from the Israeli Prime Ministry, which is directly handling this sensitive issue, to the words “extremists” and “violations.” However, some Israeli government and nongovernment officials did respond to the king’s statement. One of the more negative responses came from a lower-level government official. Zeev Elkin, the Jerusalem Affairs Minister, described the king’s words as “lip service” aimed at appeasing Jordanians. Avi Dichter, the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said Aug. 15, “Israel will not accept [that] Mecca and Medina rules apply on the Temple Mount,” a reference to only Muslims being allowed to visit Mecca.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.