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'Israeli violations' in Aqsa may lead to 3rd intifada, says Palestinian figure

Sheikh Raed Salah warns that Israel is deliberately working to divide Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound
Sheikh Raed Salah takes part in protest in Um al Fahm, Jerusalem on 9 November (MEE/Oren Ziv)

The leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Raed Salah, expects the outbreak of a third intifada – or a Palestinian uprising - in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem if the situation there remains unchanged.

"If the Israeli violations continue against Al-Aqsa mosque, that might lead to a third Intifada in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem," Salah said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

He warned that Israel is deliberately working on a spatial and temporal division of Al-Aqsa mosque.

"The response on the Arabic and Islamic level lies in putting pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop its arbitrary actions against Al-Aqsa mosque and Jerusalem," Salah said. "We will keep knocking on all doors, to raise the voice of Jerusalem."

Last week, Israeli forces stormed Al-Aqsa mosque a number of times, clashing with worshipers, attacking them with rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades, causing dozens of injuries.

Early in the week, the police said that they had been informed that protesters barricaded in the complex planned to disrupt visits by Jews ahead of the Jewish New Year.

On Friday, Israeli police prevented Muslim men under the age of 40 from entering the complex and also set up checkpoints throughout the Old City in Jerusalem.

Salah also welcomed the position of Jordan, which condemned what happened in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, urging it to "take action beyond condemnation and denunciation".

According to international law, Jordan is the official supervisor of Al-Waqf in East Jerusalem because it was the last local authority that oversaw the holy sites before the 1967 Israeli occupation.

Salah said that "the Israeli government took advantage of the current events in the Arab world, especially in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Egypt, which keep them busy" and less focused on Palestine. 

He also praised the positions of some countries, led by Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, who condemned the Israeli military moves in Al-Aqsa.

Salah is considered one of the prominent Islamic figures in Israel who opposed its settlement policies and what Palestinians call the "Judaisation" of East Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque.

Dubbed by many Palestinians as "Sheikh of Al-Aqsa," Salah has been arrested and prosecuted by Israel.