Israeli soldiers and police once again blocked the majority of worshippers from entering Al Aqsa Mosque on Friday, December 15th. Among those excluded were many young children who attempted to enter but were prevented by Israeli soldiers and police. The soldiers and police also pushed and beat many people away from the gates of Al Aqsa, down Via Dolorosa, out Lion’s Gate, and beyond, including shoving some women. At least one journalist was severely beaten as well and required medical attention.
Israel has laid siege on Al Aqsa Mosque since October 7th. In multiple locations throughout Al Quds (the Arabic name for the city of Jerusalem meaning “the holy”), groups of people once again got as close as they were able to the Al Aqsa Mosque, laid down their prayer mats and prayed.
At the same time that police and soldiers are denying worshippers entry to Al Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers, they are desecrating other Mosques, such as the Mosques in Jenin where soldiers have spray painted Mosques, threw trash in them, and sang songs over the loudspeaker used to broadcast the call to prayer.
Attacks on places of worship are against the rules of war, but thus far Israeli army and police have targeted mosques and churches in Gaza and the West Bank and done so without repercussions from international political bodies such as the International Criminal Court or United Nations.