Israel eases restrictions on West Bank visitors to Temple Mount

Elders of Zion note the large number of Palestinians from the West Bank who now regularly come to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers, a lie to those who disparage Israel, which supposedly has very strict controls on incoming visitors. He noted that in a recent week, 60,000 Palestinians attended Friday prayers, and for weeks before that, similarly large groups participated. Meanwhile, Jewish visitors, who are believed to be rioting at the al-Aqsa compound, number no more than a few hundred per day. More on the easing of restrictions on Palestinian visitors to Al-Aqsa can be found here: “Israel allows more Palestinians to visit Temple Mount than you may know from the media,” Elder of Zion, February 3, 2023:

This morning’s article [Feb. 3] Almost identical to articles written every Friday for months in the official Palestinian Wafa news agency:

Thousands of people offered Friday prayers at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque despite Israeli occupation authorities’ heavy military presence at the mosque’s gates and the entrance to the Old City of occupied Jerusalem.

This so-called “strict military system” involves nothing more than checking the identity cards of Muslims trying to get to the Temple Mount, to keep out those with a previous history of inciting violence. Of the 60,000 Palestinians who came for Friday prayers last week, perhaps 20 or 30 were kept out for security reasons. Hardly a strict rule.

The Department of Islamic Endowments in Jerusalem estimated that about 60,000 Muslims prayed Friday prayers in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, from Jerusalem and the West Bank, and in the land of 1948. [how Palestinians refer to Israel].

Our correspondent reported that occupying forces deployed in the streets of the city and around Al-Aqsa Mosque and stationed at its gates and stopped worshipers and checked their identity cards.

As already mentioned above, Israeli police check IDs to weed out known troublemakers. And they do the same with Jewish worshippers, not wanting to enter the Temple Mount those “far-right” Jews who might try to start trouble with the Palestinians, for example, by praying loudly on the Mount.

I read these every week, the only difference is the estimated number of worshipers – 70,000 last week, 75,000 two weeks ago, 55,000 three weeks ago.

In other words, thousands of worshipers come to Al-Aqsa every Friday. But few in the non-Muslim world realize this. Ask any non-Muslim in the Western world to estimate how many Muslims attend Friday prayers at al-Aqsa – I’ve done it myself – and the highest estimate would be “several thousand”. Many people have been brainwashed into believing that these horrible Israelis keep the number of Muslim visitors down. They don’t realize how many Palestinians visit regularly and how, on special occasions, more than 200,000 Muslims have been known to climb the Temple Mount. If the size of that Muslim crowd were better known, there might be more sympathy for the Israelis who are ultimately responsible for security in the mountains.

but what am i [Elder of Ziyon] did not notice that worshipers were coming from the West Bank as well as Jerusalem and Israel.

I thought Israel did not allow West Bank Palestinians into the compound. Everything would have been like this without Ramadan.

Apparently, Israel relaxed restrictions last Ramadan – and continues to relax them. From the AP, April 5:

Israel will allow West Bank women, children and men over 40 to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday to help calm tensions during the holy month of Ramadan.

The government said in a statement that it may relax further restrictions if the situation calms down.

I can’t find any articles since then about whether Israeli officials have further relaxed the restrictions, but it appears they are still in place after Ramadan. Articles in previous years would allege that “occupation forces blocked the entry of hundreds of citizens from the West Bank to Jerusalem for Friday prayers at al-Aqsa.” That diction is gone. Now I just see that the Israeli police are checking IDs and not letting some people in, probably based on their provocative troubles in the past….

Without any public announcement, for the past year – since early last April – Israel has been allowing Palestinian worshipers from the West Bank into the Temple Mount, starting with those Israel believes are least likely to cause trouble: women, children and men over 40. Moreover, Israelis The government issued a statement that if things were calm – that meant no riots, no Muslims would attack Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount with rocks and Molotov cocktails or throw the same at Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. Much lower – it will further “relax restrictions.” This clearly meant that men from the West Bank under the age of forty would now be allowed to visit the Temple Mount. The Palestinian media is no longer complaining that young men are being prevented from going to the Mount, which of course means that the ban on them has been lifted. Israeli police still check IDs for potential troublemakers, who might incite attacks on Jewish visitors, but that is the extent of their control over entry. Some “few people” are barred from entering. Twenty, maybe thirty, of the 60,000 may return based on their prior history of violence; That amount is 1/20m 1%, an infinite number.

Israel is not trying to punish or harass or restrict Palestinians who wish to worship at Al-Aqsa. The number of Arabs is huge. 60,000, 75,000, 150,000, even 250,000 Muslims are allowed to pray inside Al-Aqsa and on the 35-acre esplanade outside the mosque. Israel only closes a handful of those it considers a high security risk. The Jewish state has steadily, quietly, relaxed earlier restrictions on visitors to al-Aqsa from the West Bank. First Israel allowed children, women and men over 40 from the West Bank, deemed by Israel to be less likely to riot or attack Jewish visitors to the Mount or Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below. Now it is allowing men under 40 from the West Bank to join the service, with only known troublemakers kept out. For Israeli Arabs, their access to al-Aqsa was never blocked, except for those with a history of violence.

Why, do you think, has no article appeared anywhere in the mainstream Western media about Israel now allowing Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank, regardless of age or gender, to visit the Temple Mount and worship at Al-Aqsa? Do the Israeli Arabs already? And isn’t that something for which Israel should be praised? Or is that the reason, we may suspect, why it is not being reported? It makes Israel look good and it never will.