This story originally appeared in Mondoweiss on
April 17, 2022. It is shared here with permission.

Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday and attacked Palestinian worshipers at the site in order to facilitate Jewish tours of the site for the Passover holiday. 

The raids on the compound on Sunday were the second in 48 hours, and featured heavily armed Israeli police officers beating Palestinians with batons, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds, and locking worshipers inside the prayer halls. 

Video footage taken inside the compound was widely shared on social media, as Palestinians decried Israel’s use of force against worshipers, who had come to pray out the holy site during the holy month of Ramadan.

Footage showed Israeli forces beating a father in front of his son, and manhandling worshipers as they were praying in a bid to force them out of the compound. 

Local media reported that Israeli forces also fired tear gas into the ancient Qibli prayer hall, the site of the majority of Israel’s attacks on Friday. Video footage also showed people screaming and banging on the caged windows of the prayer hall, after Israeli forces had allegedly locked them inside.

The attacks on Palestinian worshipers on Sunday were carried out in order to facilitate groups of Jewish settlers who came to the compound for the Passover holidays. Under the protection of Israeli forces, the Jewish settlers were allowed to tour around the compound peacefully.

Israeli forces were also filmed beating Palestinians, including one woman, outside the compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.

Jordan, the official custodian of the Al-Aqsa mosque, called for international pressure to be put on Israel to end its “illegal provocative measures” on the compound. 

The presence of Jewish settlers and Israeli forces at the Mosque, which is the third holiest site in Islam, is often violent, and is viewed by Palestinians as provocative, and encroaching on the limited spaces that have been left for Palestinians in Jerusalem. 

Following Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, an agreement was signed with Jordan, allowing for non-Muslim visitation, but no non-Muslim worship, at the site. 

Despite this agreement, Israeli settlers and forces regularly raid the compound, often on Jewish holidays, sparking protests and resulting in the violent suppression of Palestinian worshipers.