Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has strongly condemned the actions of the Israeli Defence Forces and police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Speaking from Brussels, Ms Anderson said,
“For two consecutive days extremist Israelis, accompanied by the forces of occupation, have broken into the mosque compound to prevent the entry of Palestinian worshippers.
“Today alone 145 extremist Israeli settlers broke into the third holiest site in Islam and vandalized the mosque, breaking windows and burning religious material.
“Israeli authorities then instigated violent confrontations, using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber coated steel bullets, all of which has resulted in over one hundred people getting injured.
“Over 20 people have been taken to hospital including Anas Siyam, a Palestinian boy shot in the chest with a rubber coated steel bullet.
Ms Anderson, Chair of the European Delegation for relations with Palestine, continues,
“The Israeli government is complicit in this ongoing aggravation. Ministers Moshe Ylon and Uri Ariel have both been present on the site in the past week, bringing with them more security personnel.
“Freedoms of belief and of expression are fundamental rights that have been denied to Palestinians on a regular basis. Israeli forces and political leaders need to diffuse this tense situation by allowing full access to holy sites for all people under their occupation.
“They have a responsibility to do what they can to deescalate this situation that only serves to intensify and exacerbate religious sensitivities and the extremely fragile situation on the ground in Jerusalem.”