A review of the major events that have marked the history of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Tensions have again flared in recent days after Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as worshippers gathered for early morning prayers.
More than 300 Palestinians were arrested and at least 170 wounded as Israeli forces launched incursions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem since April 15. The 14-hectare (35-acre compound) houses al-Qibli Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Israeli authorities said they entered the compound to facilitate visits by far-right Jews to the holy site.
Below is a timeline of raids, closures and restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound over the past decade:
More than 20 Palestinians are wounded in several incidents in and around Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, bringing the number of wounded since April 15 to more than 170. This also follows deadly violence in Israel and the occupied West Bank starting in late March in which 36 people were killed.
Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque using tear gas shells and sound bombs, injuring at least 59 Palestinians.
The Israeli government allows Jews to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem in a move that risks shifting the site’s status quo.
A ceasefire is announced. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), up until May 27, 256 Palestinians, including 66 children and 40 women, are killed by Israel. Thirteen people are killed in Israel, including two children, one Indian woman and two Thai men working in Israel.
INTERACTIVE- Al Aqsa Mosque Compound map
Unrest extends to the wider West Bank, culminating in a “day of rage”, with 10 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, the highest number of Palestinian fatalities recorded in a single day in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, since the United Nations began recording fatalities in 2005.
Israel ignores an ultimatum to withdraw its forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in the city’s east. The early-morning incursion by Israeli police firing tear gas and stun grenades into the compound raises tensions significantly, not least during the holy month of Ramadan. Hamas fires rockets into Israel from Gaza, and Israel begins a campaign of air strikes against Gaza.
Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades. This coincides with Laylat al-Qadr (May 8), observed by Muslims. Hundreds of Palestinians are injured, drawing international condemnation.
Tensions rise in East Jerusalem since Ramadan begins on April 13, with violent incidents against Palestinians by Israeli settlers and forces on a daily basis. These are mainly in and around the Old City, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, over the imminent threat of forced eviction of Palestinian families from their homes, initiated by Israeli settler organisations.
Al-Aqsa Mosque compound closes again for three weeks following a spike in coronavirus cases.
Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound reopens to worshippers and visitors after more than two months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Al-Aqsa Mosque compound remains closed to Muslim worshippers throughout the holy month of Ramadan because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Islamic Waqf announces Al-Aqsa will close its doors to worshippers as a precaution against the coronavirus, adding that outdoor prayers will still be allowed at the complex that houses Islam’s third holiest site.
Worshippers are injured by Israeli forces using rubber-coated steel bullets as thousands descend on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first Friday prayers after then-United States President Donald Trump announced the city, where al-Haram al-Sharif is located, would remain the “undivided capital” of Israel.
Israeli soldiers use tear gas and rubber-coated rounds on Muslim worshippers, injuring scores, including a Palestinian member of Israel’s Knesset, Ahmad Tibi, amid calls by Jewish nationalist and religious politicians for Jews to visit the holy compound.
Plans to build a controversial cable car to the Western Wall in Jerusalem pass a major stage in the approval process. The cable car will run from West Jerusalem to the roof of the planned Kedem Compound, a massive, settler-run visitor centre in the heart of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan.
Israel bans several Islamic officials appointed by Jordan from entering al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem because of their role in opening the Gate of Mercy – a gate that has been closed by Israeli court order since 2003. The month before, thousands streamed into the closed-off section during Friday prayers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces he will lift the ban on Jewish Israeli parliamentarians visiting al-Haram al-Sharif, three years after the government forbade them from entering the flashpoint site. This altered the status quo agreement that had been in effect between Israel and Jordan since 2015.
Israel approves 47 million shekels ($14.5m) in funding over two years to continue digging tunnels beneath houses in Silwan, connecting various archaeological sites within the village, expanding the underground connection between Silwan and the Old City, and excavating on the slopes of Mount Zion.
A tally by the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre shows that in July, Israeli forces killed eight Palestinians in Jerusalem and its environs, injured 600, arrested 425 and demolished 12 buildings.
Hundreds of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound. Palestinian sources say at least 1,023 settlers entered the compound under heavy police protection.
Israel removes all measures at the Al-Aqsa compound gates added after the July 14 attack, including the metal railings and scaffolding where security cameras were previously placed, as Palestinians celebrate. The Waqf, an Islamic trust that has authority over the Al-Aqsa compound, proceeds to give its approval for Palestinians to resume prayers inside the mosque.
Israel removes metal detectors at the Al-Aqsa compound, to be replaced by more advanced security cameras. The Palestinian envoy to the United Nations urges the Security Council to protect the holy site from Israel’s “reckless and destructive” agenda. Palestinians continued their daily demonstrations, protesting the newly installed cameras. They say they will not accept anything that was added after July 14, when a shooting attack occurred that left three Palestinians and two Israeli police officers dead.
Palestinians protest as Israel installs new security cameras at the Al-Aqsa compound entrance in a move to find alternatives to metal detectors. Palestinians reject the new measures, saying the cameras reflect Israel’s attempt to expand its control over the holy site.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he will freeze all contact with Israel until it removes the security measures at Al-Aqsa. Hundreds of Palestinians are reported wounded as Israeli forces use tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition against protesters, leading to condemnation by the UN. Multiple deaths are reported in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.
Israel tightens restrictions on Al-Aqsa Mosque, announcing that men under the age of 50 will not be allowed to enter the compound or pray there. At least 3,000 Israeli police forces are deployed to the site, as Palestinians prepare for a “day of anger” to protest the new security measures. According to a Palestinian advocacy group, at least 10 activists are detained.
Palestinians reject Israeli security measures. After a deadly attack at Al-Aqsa compound, Israel installs metal detectors and security cameras at the site before reopening the mosque. Al-Aqsa officials reject the new measures, refusing to pray there.
After a fatal shooting incident in which three Palestinians and two Israeli officers are killed, Israel shuts down Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Friday prayers are cancelled for the first time since 1969.
Three Palestinian gunmen open fire near Al-Aqsa compound, leaving two Israeli police officers dead. The three men are shot dead in the gunfight.
About 250,000 Palestinians visit Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan. Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza and Arab neighbourhoods in Israel converge on the Al-Aqsa compound for Friday prayers. Men over 40, and women and children of all ages, are allowed by Israeli forces to enter the site without permits. Israeli authorities deploy thousands of troops.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passes an anti-Israel resolution on Al-Aqsa. The UN agency condemns Israel for restricting Muslims’ access to the mosque and for increased aggression by police and soldiers. Israel suspends its cooperation with the agency in response to the resolution.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II denounces Israel’s violations at Al-Aqsa Mosque. As custodian of the holy site, Jordan vows to fight against repeated violations by Israel, saying that these are “blatant attempts” to change the status quo in Jerusalem. The comments follow an incident in which hundreds of Jewish settlers and activists visit Al-Aqsa to commemorate the destruction of two ancient temples, and some try to pray at the site.
Israel closes Al-Aqsa to non-Muslims during Ramadan. Israeli authorities close the holy site to Jewish and non-Muslim visitors following protests against Jews visiting the mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.
Jewish visitors enter Al-Aqsa compound. Following protests against Jewish visitors to the site, several Palestinians are injured by Israeli forces. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society says the injuries came from tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and beatings. The protests ensued after Jews were allowed onto the site during the last 10 days of Ramadan, during which only Muslim worshippers are permitted.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) says Israel violated promises to Jordan regarding the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. An ICG report warns that the calm around the compound is “deceiving” as Netanyahu has failed to maintain the status quo at the site. While he promised Jordan that he would limit Israeli access to the compound and bar ministers and Knesset members from visiting, it was reported that he did not actually limit Jewish access in any way.
Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Witnesses say that more than 30 far-right Jewish settlers entered the site in three groups, despite a heavy security presence. The visit came after Jewish organisations called for their members to be permitted to enter the compound.
Israeli right-wing activists push for a takeover of Al-Aqsa compound. As Israel takes harsh measures to suppress increasing Palestinian unrest in Jerusalem, right-wing Jewish organisations call for control of the holy site, which they refer to as the Temple Mount. One of these groups, Returning to the Mount, has posts on its Facebook page calling for the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, to be replaced by a Jewish temple.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bars Jewish politicians from Al-Aqsa and orders police to restrict government ministers and Knesset members from entering the mosque compound. Jews and non-Muslims can still visit the site, but are not allowed to pray there.
Police forces use stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets against Palestinians. As a result, the Jerusalem District Police once again limit Palestinian access to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, barring Muslim men under the age of 50 from visiting the site.
Jewish visitors double over five years. An activist for the right of Jews to pray at the compound says that about 10,900 Jews visited al-Haram al-Sharif in 2014. Arnon Segal says this figure is double the number of Jewish visitors in 2009.
Fears mount over potential site partitioning. Protests continue for a third day in the Old City of Jerusalem and inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Palestinians are denied entry to the mosque to make room for Jewish groups to mark the start of their new year. Palestinians fear that allowing Jewish activists – who claim the mosque sits on the site of a destroyed Jewish temple – to enter the site is the first step towards eventual partitioning of the site along religious lines.
Israel’s defence minister signs a regulation outlawing the Mourabitat and Mourabitoun – Palestinians who view themselves as defenders or sentinels of the Noble Sanctuary. The groups normally gather at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to protest what they see as increasing Israeli control over the holy site and shout religious oaths at Israelis who enter the compound under armed guard. The Israeli authority’s move also allows for the prosecution of those who finance the Mourabitoun’s activities.
Israeli forces continue to impose restrictions on Palestinians’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the third consecutive week. Israeli forces have prevented women from entering the site between 7am and 11am for nearly three weeks. Israeli Jerusalem police commander Avi Bitton tells Ma’an News that the restrictions on women were imposed “to prevent any tensions in the area, as they violate order and present a threat to visitors”.
Israeli police deny access to all Palestinian women and men under the age of 30, between 7am and 11am on Sunday, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments in Jerusalem says.
Israeli forces injure 19 Al-Aqsa Mosque guards on Sunday. Compound director Omar Kiswani says 19 Islamic Endowment Department guards have suffered various bruises, fractures and cuts after being assaulted by Israeli forces with batons.
A group of right-wing Jews enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark the anniversary of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, known by Israelis as “Jerusalem Day”. May 17 is a largely right-wing Israeli national holiday marked by racism and violence against Palestinians.
Accompanied by armed security, a group of right-wing Israelis enters Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Purim, a Jewish holiday. At least one Palestinian is detained for protesting against their attempts to pray near the Chain Gate as they are leaving the compound.
Thousands attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for the first time in months after Israel lifts age restrictions on access to the holy site. US Secretary of State John Kerry says “firm commitments” were made to maintain the status quo at the compound, and Israel and Jordan also agreed to take steps to “de-escalate the situation” in Jerusalem.
Israeli police use tear gas and stun grenades on Palestinian worshippers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound as right-wing Jews enter the site. At least nine are injured, and several others are treated for tear gas inhalation. Jordan, the custodian of the holy sites, recalls its ambassador to Israel in protest.
Moshe Feiglin again enters Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, despite calls for “restraint” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Feiglin, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud bloc, is a leading advocate of Jewish access to the compound. On the same day, right-wing housing minister Uri Ariel calls for a change to the status quo at the compound by allowing Jews not only to visit the site, but to pray there.
Israeli authorities close Al-Aqsa Mosque after the shooting of Yehuda Glick, a far-right Israeli rabbi who advocates for forced entry into the mosque. This is the first time the mosque is closed since 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem. Israel’s public security minister says the mosque will remain closed “until further notice”, triggering an angry reaction from Abbas, who calls the move “a declaration of war”. Glick, an American-born fanatic, is the chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Fund.
Israeli forces fire stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at worshippers.
A total of 110 people are injured in Jerusalem after Israeli forces raid the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Fistfights break out inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police officers who escort the right-wing Knesset Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin into the compound.
Israeli police deploy in large numbers around Jerusalem early on Friday as restrictions are imposed on Palestinian worshippers entering Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
A total of 28 Palestinians are injured after Israeli forces quash a march in support of Palestinian administrative detainees who have been on a hunger strike for more than 50 days.
Worshippers under 50 are denied entry to Al-Aqsa for the second day. Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City restrict entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque to worshippers under the age of 50, with the exception of students who study in the compound. At the same time, the police allow a Jewish group to tour the compound. Dozens of Palestinians perform prayers near the main gates of the compound for two days in a row.
Dozens of Palestinian worshippers are wounded and others are detained after Israeli forces storm the Al-Aqsa courtyard, firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.
Israeli soldiers and police fire stun grenades at Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The violence breaks out after Israeli authorities open a gate of al-Haram al-Sharif to non-Muslim visitors after morning prayers.
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