The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Tuesday this week’s closure of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the burning of a mosque in Nablus, calling the actions “sinful, criminal acts”.
Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the thirst holiest site in Islam, on 13 October whilst worshippers were praying. The hostilities allegedly occurred under the auspices of Israeli security forces stationed around the Jerusalem mosque.
Unverified reports allege stun grenades were used against worshippers in the mosque, with videos of damage caused to the site also shared on social media.
Israel then imposed restrictions on worshippers wishing to enter the mosque, only allowing Palestinians above the age of 50 into the compound.
On Monday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned Israeli “provocations” against Jerusalem’s holy sites. Ban said he was “deeply concerned by repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem”, which “only inflame tensions and must stop”.
Also on 13 October, Israeli settlers set fire to the Abu Bakr Al-Saddiq mosque in the West Bank town of Nablus, breaking windows and doors and painting racist graffiti on the mosque’s walls.
The settlers were eventually chased from the area, and locals were able to save part of the mosque.
The foreign ministry statement called the actions “criminal”, adding Israeli authorities must “hold accountable those involved” in the ongoing aggressions. The ministry said: “These unacceptable practices represent a violation of all international norms, and undermine efforts to peace in the region, creating obstacles to the resumption of negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”
According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2013 saw 399 incidents of Israeli settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.