JERUSALEM, Israeli police continued today their vicious campaign against Palestinian employees of the Waqf (Endowment) department who work at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City with the detention of yet another guard of the holy compound.
The campaign that includes detention of mainly guards of the holy compound then forcing them to pay fines before releasing them on bail with order to stay away from their place of work and worship for weeks and months at a time started after the employees stood up some three weeks ago to Israeli police attempts to shut down one of the compound’s Muslim prayer areas known as Bab al-Rahma.
The guards confronted police attempts to keep Muslim worshippers off Bab al-Rahma because they suspected Israel wants to turn it into a Jewish prayer area, which virtually means dividing the Muslim holy place, the third holiest site in Islam, a step strongly rejected by the Palestinians and Muslims around the world.
The latest victim of the police campaign was Saed Salaymeh, a guard, who was detained today after leaving the compound.
Salaymeh and another guard, Issa Barakat, who was also summoned by police for interrogation, have stopped police who entered Bab al-Rahma prayer area with their shoes on and stepped on prayer rugs in a step seen as a grave disrespect for a holy place by desecration of a worship area.
People in general take off their shoes when they enter mosques anywhere in the world out of respect for the holy place.
Salaymeh and Barakat confronted the policemen and kept trying to get them to leave it. They did eventually, but without taking revenge at the two Mosque employees by detaining one and summoning the other. The two most likely, as the case with dozens of other Mosque employees, will be given order to keep away from the compound for a certain period of time, as was the case with another guard, Mohammad Tineh, who was also detained yesterday then released today on condition of house arrest for five days and a cash bail of around $450 until he appears in court on Sunday.
The ban from the Mosque compound did not touch only the laymen, but also the clergy and top Muslim religious figures.
Meanwhile, Palestinians are bracing for a showdown against Jewish fanatic groups who called on their followers to flock to Al-Aqsa Mosque tomorrow to claim what they alleged was theirs, Bab al-Rahma area.
In return, calls were made on Palestinians to gather in the Mosque tomorrow to ward off any attempt by the Jewish fanatics to desecrate the Muslim holy place or change its current status as an only-Muslim worship area.
Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency