ANALYSTS: Normalisation with Israel might partition Al-Aqsa Mosque
A statement embedded in Bahrain and The United Arab Emirates (UAE) normalization agreements with Israel, brokered by the U.S., may lead to the Al-Aqsa compound division as it violates the status quo.
As stated by a report by the NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem (T.J.), the declarations mark a “radical alteration in the status quo” and have “far-reaching and potentially grave ramifications.”
Under the status quo pledged in 1967, only Muslims can pray inside the al-Haram al-Sharif, also known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound that consists of 35 acres (14 hectares).
Non-Muslims can explore the site but cannot pray there.
Nonetheless, a clause included in the recent accords between the Gulf Arab states and Israel indicates this may no longer be the case.
According to the joint statement between the UAE, the U.S., and Israel released on August the 13th by U.S. President Donald Trump: “As outlined in the Vision of Peace, all Muslims who come in peace may visit and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem’s other holy sites would remain open for peaceful worshippers of all faiths.”
Joint Statement of the United States, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the State of Israel pic.twitter.com/xMquRkGtpM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2020
Yet Israel defines Al-Aqsa as the structure of the one mosque, as does the statement, the T.J. report clarified.
“According to Israel and the U.S., anything on the Mount that is not the structure of the mosque is specified as ‘one of Jerusalem’s other holy sites’ and open to prayer by all – counting the Jews,” the report said.
“This choice of terminology is neither a misstep nor random, and can’t be seen as anything yet an intentional albeit surreptitious attempt to leave the door wide open to Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, whereby radically changing the status quo.”
The same statement was repeated in the accord with Bahrain, announced on Friday.
Khaled Zabarqa, a Palestinian lawyer, specializing in Jerusalem affairs, told Al Jazeera the statement “vividly says the mosque is not under Muslim sovereignty.”
“When Bahrain and the UAE accept such a clause, they acknowledge and give the green light for Israeli sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Zabarqa said.
“It is a clear and massive violation for the legal and international status quo of Al-Aqsa Mosque devised after the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967, which says everything inside the walls is under Jordanian custody.”
A growing Temple Movement, mainly led by “the extreme nationalistic, religious Jewish right,” seeks to change the status quo, T.J.’s report said.
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