Israel seeking to consolidate control over al-Aqsa: Analyst

On Friday, the Palestinian people marked “Day of Rage” to protest Tel Aviv’s restrictions on entry into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which was met with a  heavy-handed Israeli crackdown. At least four people lost their lives during the clashes with Tel Aviv’s forces in the occupied territories. Press TV has conducted an interview with Salma Karmi-Ayyoub, a Palestinian human rights lawyer from London, and Michael Lane, president of the American Institute for Foreign Policy from Washington, to ask for their thoughts on the heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Karmi-Ayyoub said that the imposition of restrictive measures on the Palestinian access to the al-Aqsa Mosque is in line with the Tel Aviv regime’s broader agenda of occupying the whole Palestinian territories and expelling the Arabs from their homeland.

Israelis must “desist [from] imposing restrictive measures, which are part of a much broader policy that Israel has been pursuing for many years now of consolidating its control over al-Aqsa compound in violation of the international law,” the lawyer said.

She said Israel is promoting “an extremist right-wing” settler agenda in Jerusalem al-Quds, “which wishes to see the al-Aqsa compound become a Jewish site and to see Palestinians excluded from it.”

Palestinian Muslim worshipers pray outside Damascus Gate, a main entrance to Jerusalem al-Quds’ Old City, on July 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

According to the commentator, “The al-Aqsa compound is an Islamic site in occupied Palestinian territory” and “Israel actually has no business controlling the site or asserting its sovereignty over it as it, in effect, does.”

She further said talks between the two sides could not solve the problem, noting that “negotiations are not what is needed, what is needed is for Israel to desist [from] its illegal policies and practices.”

Meanwhile, Lane, the other contributor on the show, however, blamed the sharp rise in tensions on both Israelis and Palestinians and said the situation “would be able to be resolved with reasonable negotiations between the Israelis and the Jordanians,” who are the custodians of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

He underlined the Islamic nature of the mosque, saying that “Al-Aqsa is and always will be a Muslim site” and could not be turned into a Jewish site.

The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.