MuslimTimes(Web Desk) -A record number of 3,900 Israeli settlers entered the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds in July, says a Palestinian official.
“The highest number of incursions [by settlers] was recorded in July,” said a statement released by Jerusalem’s Religious Endowment Authority on Wednesday.
“This is a clear indication of the increasing violations by settlers in the holy site,” added the statement.
Earlier in the month, over a thousand Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa compound amid escalation of violence by Israeli forces and settlers against the Palestinian people.
The settlers performed acts deemed provocative by Palestinians at the mosque’s courtyard in commemoration of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av.
Heavily armed Israeli police forces set up iron barriers on the doors and confiscated identity cards of Palestinians before allowing them to enter the compound.
On July 7, Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash drew a parallel between Israel’s restrictions on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Nazi inquisition, saying Tel Aviv’s measures at the holy site violate human dignity.
Jordan is the custodian of the al-Aqsa compound, which lies in the Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds. It has repeatedly accused Israel of violating the status quo of the sacred site and multiple provocations.
In the most recent round of tensions, violence erupted after a deadly shootout outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on July 14, 2017. Israel subsequently set up metal detectors and surveillance cameras at entrances to the complex at the time.
The restrictive measures sparked criticism worldwide, with Palestinians saying that the bans were meant to expand the regime’s control over the holy site.
On July 24, 2017, Tel Aviv backed down in the face of growing protests as well as violent clashes and removed all the restrictions at al-Aqsa.
Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the city’s eastern sector as an occupied territory and Palestinians consider it as the capital of their future state.