: Obamas Visit to Al-Aqsa Irks Palestinians

26-02-2013, 04:04 AM
A possible visit by US President Barack Obama to Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islams third holiest shrine, is sparking uproar in the occupied Palestinian lands, amid warnings that a tour in the holy place under Israeli control would be counterproductive.

Any visitor is welcome to Al-Aqsa, Sheikh Akrameh Sabri, head of the higher Islamic council and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said at a press conference in east Jerusalem, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported.

But they should follow the regulations of the Waqf and enter through the Lions' Gate and not through Mughrabi Gate, to ensure Muslim sovereignty.
Obama is expected to visit Israel and the occupied West Bank in March to help revive the moribund peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

He is expected to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Mughrabi gate, which is controlled by Israel.

But Palestinians warn that Obamas visit to the site without coordination with the Palestinians would be counterproductive.

Hatem Abdel Qader, who heads the Jerusalem portfolio of the Fatah movement, said Obama's visit should be coordinated with the Palestinians and Jordanians.

Al-Aqsa is the Muslims first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).

Jews claim that their alleged Temple of Solomon exists underneath the Muslim holy place and want to destroy it to build their temple.

Al-Aqsa complex is controlled by the Islamic authority known as the Waqf, which allows Jews entry to the site only through one portal, the Mughrabi Gate, where Israeli police monitor visitors.

Muslim Site

Palestinians say that Obamas visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque should not carry any political meaning.

The visit shouldn't have a political theme to it because Al-Aqsa belongs to Muslims only and it is their place of worship and we refuse that any Israeli official accompanies the visitor, said Sabri.

Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, echoes a similar opinion.

The Jewish state had no sovereignty over Al-Aqsa or Jerusalem, he said in statements cited by Al-Aqsa Foundation.

The US president is likely to visit the Aqsa Mosque, but we should affirm that our position towards such situation will be in conformity with the constants of the Muslim and Arab nations, and the Palestinian people as well as with the issue of Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.

US-sponsored peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed last year over Israeli refusal to halt settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

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.
Obama’s Visit to Al-Aqsa Irks Palestinians - Middle East - News - OnIslam.net (http://www.onislam.net/english/news/middle-east/461534-palestinians-warn)...