CAIRO - Israeli forces barred far-right Jews on Sunday, February 12, from entering Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine, in Al-Quds (Occupied East Jerusalem), amid warnings that Israel is planning to build a new cultural center on Arab and Muslim ruins near the Muslim holy site.
"A security assessment determined that the compound should be closed for visitors. Muslim worshipers can pray as usual," a police source told Yediot Ahronot.
Problems erupted following the distribution of hate rightist flayers urging the "purification of Temple Mount from the enemies of Israel."
"Member of the Likud Caucus, along with its thousands of members, headed by Moshe Feiglin are hereby invited to arrive at Temple Mount and praise God, and declare that healthy leadership begins with total control over Temple Mount, the flyers read.
"(Let us) purify this place from the enemies of Israel, who rob lands, and build the Temple on the ruins of mosques. We need not be afraid!"
The Israeli Police barred visitors from Al-Aqsa compound over concerns that the intent of far-right Likud member Moshe Feiglin and his followers to storm the compound would incite violence.
"Feiglin's people come to Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa mosque) almost every month," the source said.
The difference this time was the flyers.
Feiglin himself arrived at Al-Aqsa mosque with a group of his followers, but was forced to turn back.
"Calling for the destruction of a holy place â¦ is an attempt to harvest political gain through provocation," another police source said; adding that the department was investigating whether the flyers constitute criminal incitement.
"There are plenty of elements that want to use the Temple Mount compound and the Western Wall Plaza as a platform for political gain. We won't allow anyone to do so."
The publicized visit caused "agitation" among Palestinians in Al-Quds.
Hundreds of Palestinians who performed fajr (dawn) prayers at the mosque stayed inside the compound amidst a state of tension.
The visit comes amid warnings from Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage that the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has submitted plans for a new structure adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque that would be built on Arab ruins.
The building will serve settlers and foreign tourists who visit the square, the foundation said in a statement cited by Ma'an news agency on Saturday, February 11.
The building, according to the report, will be located in the northern part of the square.
It will consist of five floors, two of which will be underground. It is designed to include a Jewish museum, lecture halls, exhibition halls, a library and archives center, and a center for information.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation said the structure would be built on Islamic and Arab ruins.
The Israeli archeology department has been digging and excavating for about five years demolishing structures that date back to different Arab and Islamic eras, the statement said.
Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam's third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel occupied the holy city in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of the city, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements.
Erasing the remaining history of Arabs and Palestinians in Al-Quds, a new bill was approved by the Israeli Knesset last May that ordered Hebraizing all Arabic names of the city's neighborhoods.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net