World Bulletin/News Desk
Scores of Jewish settlers on Sunday stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian official said.
"As many as 59 settlers stormed the holy compound through Al-Magharbeh Gate under the protection of Israeli police," Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, director-general of the Organization for Muslim Endowments and Al-Aqsa Affairs, told Anadolu Agency.
The settlers wandered through the compound's courtyards, passing through the Qibali and Marawani mosques inside the holy complex before departing through Al-Silsileh Gate, he added.
Meanwhile, Israeli police allowed Palestinian men to enter the compound while denying women's entry.
"We performed the noon prayers outside the gates of the compound after we were denied access by Israeli police," one of the women who had been barred from entering the complex told Anadolu Agency.
“At least 70 women were barred from entering the complex since the early morning,” the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told AA.
Palestinian Foreign Ministry has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of breaking his promise to Jordanian King Abdullah II to work towards calm in Jerusalem after the Israeli authorities allowed Jewish settlers to force their way into Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
"The incursion showed the world that Netanyahu should not be trusted," a ministry statement said Sunday.
"Netanyahu remains the same, adopting deception and stalling as the basis of his political career," the release added.
On Thursday, Netanyahu met with the Jordanian monarch in Amman in the presence of US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss means of restoring calm to Jerusalem and also establishing a climate conducive to reviving stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, the Jordanian royal court said in a statement.
During the meeting, Netanyahu said Israel was committed to preserving the current situation at holy sites in East Jerusalem.
"Settlements to continue"
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman asserted Sunday that his country will never stop building Jewish-only settlement units in East Jerusalem, dismissing international criticism of the Israeli policy in this regard.
"Anyone who dreams that the government of Israel will cave [to pressure] and will limit building in Jerusalem is mistaken," Liberman was quoted by The Jerusalem Post as saying during a meeting with visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
"We will never accept any definition of building in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem as settlement activity," he went on to say.
"There is broad consensus for that stand among Jews in Israel and abroad," Liberman added.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered construction of a further 1,060 Jewish-only housing units in East Jerusalem, drawing criticism from the United States and the international community.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the historic city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Sacred to both Muslims and Jews, Jerusalem is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.
Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories, considering all Jewish settlement building on the land to be illegal.
Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to "Judaize" the city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity and ultimately driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.
Palestinian negotiators, for their part, say that Israeli settlement building must stop before stalled peace talks can resume.
Last Mod: 16 Kasım 2014, 15:33