Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash has drawn 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.
Speaking on Palestine TV, Habbash criticized Israel for limiting Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
“There are roadblocks, restrictions, closure of the gates, road closures, and age restrictions…People who are under 40 years of age are not allowed to pray,” he said.
“Dear God! What is this? What historical age are we living in?” he asked. “In the days of the Inquisition? Are they trying to do to others what was done to them in the ghettos, in the Inquisition courts, or in the Nazi courts?”
The Palestinian official said the “Israeli Zionist Inquisition” at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound is meant to “violate one’s human dignity, and the dignity of religious belief and of human faith in God.”
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 scared 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.