Watch: Tensions Explode As Israel Blocks Aqsa Mosque On Eid Holiday During COVID-Lockdown


The Muslim holy day of Eid comes at the end of Ramadan, and could be somewhat comparable to Easter for Christians in terms of importance on the Islamic calendar. 

The eve of Eid fell on Saturday, creating tensions at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem as worshipers pressed their way into the area which sits atop Temple Mount, given Israeli police attempted to prevent a mass gathering amid national coronavirus lockdown measures.

The situation turned explosive in East Jerusalem as Palestinians were prevented from entering, leading to running violent clashes with police.

It comes also amid growing Palestinian anger at Israeli PM Netanyahu’s plans to push forward in annexing large parts of the West Bank, notably the Jordan Valley, as part of Trump’s ‘deal of the century’.

And there’s already been running clashes with police in and around Jerusalem related to Israeli authorities closing down places of worship – mosques, churches, and synagogues alike – amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

In many places across the Gaza Strip and occupied West Bank over the weekend Palestinians reportedly performed what’s called Eid al-Fitr prayers marking the holiday in open squares and streets due to pandemic safety measures. 

Though the Muslim holiday is typically festive, it was a different story in East Jerusalem, were scores were reportedly arrested amid the clashes with Israeli police

After Israeli authorities have declared one of Islam’s holiest sites “closed” – along with local Muslim clerics – Palestinian activists declared the Israelis didn’t have the authority to do so:

Israel ruins the Joy of Eid .. 😕💔

Dozens of Israeli occupation soldiers aggressively attacked, assaulted and arrested Palestinian worshippers who performed Eid prayer at one of the gates of Al Aqsa mosque compound.#EidUlFitr #Act4Palestine

— Janna Mahmoud (@jannamahmoud3) May 24, 2020

The whole region is on edge as both Hamas and PA leadership under Abbas have hinted at preparations for a new intifada, after rejecting the Trump ‘peace plan’ and Tel Aviv’s push to annex parts of the occupied West Bank as part of the deal, which the Palestinians complain they weren’t privy to in the first place in terms of negotiations and discussions.

Worshiper prepare for Eid prayer in front of Al Asbat gate of Al Aqsa mosque

Photo taken by Abdalafo Bassam #Group4Palestine

— Zubeyir 🇹🇷🇵🇸 (@Zubeyir0102) May 24, 2020

After running clashes in East Jerusalem a number of people were seen doing prayers at gates and checkpoints outside the Temple Mount area while face-to-face with Israeli police lines. 

Israeli security forces arrest worshippers outside Al Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem

— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) May 24, 2020

Controversially, it appears the Muslim clerics overseeing al-Aqsa have complied with the ban on large worship gatherings there. 

This after even Mecca in Saudi Arabia closed its doors to Muslim pilgrims over the past two months for what’s believed to be the first such instance in history. 

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