The Palestinian Authority (PA) on Sunday denounced settler incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem as a “dangerous Israeli escalation”.
The Israeli government “is tampering with the security and stability of the region, and is dragging the region into a religious war,” PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said in a statement cited by the official Wafa news agency.
He termed the Israeli practices in occupied Jerusalem as a “defiance to the Palestinian people and disregard of international positions, especially the American position”, which demand Israel to preserve the status quo in East Jerusalem.
Hundreds of Israeli settlers forced their way into Al-Aqsa Mosque complex on Sunday, amid tension over plans by settler groups to storm the flashpoint site to mark the anniversary of what they call the “destruction of the temple” in ancient times.
The so-called Sovereignty Movement in Israel is also preparing to organize a march for settlers around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on the same day.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.