Friday, February 03, 2023

This morning's article at the official Palestinian Wafa news agency is pretty much identical to articles written every Friday for months:
Tens of thousands performed Friday prayers at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, despite the strict military measures imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities at the gates of the mosque and the entrances to the Old City in occupied Jerusalem .

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

Our correspondent reported that the occupation forces deployed in the streets of the city and the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and stationed at its gates, and stopped the worshipers and checked their identity cards .
I read these every week, with the only difference being the number of estimated worshippers - 70,000 last week, 75,000 two weeks ago, 55,000 three weeks ago. 

But what I hadn't noticed is that the worshippers are coming from the West Bank as well as Jerusalem and Israel. 

I thought that Israel didn't allow West Bank Palestinians to enter the compound. That's how things used to be, except for Ramadan.

Apparently, Israel eased the restrictions last Ramadan - and continued easing them. From AP, April 5:
Israel will allow women, children and men over 40 from the West Bank to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday in an apparent bid to help calm tensions during the holy month of Ramadan.

The government said in a statement that it could further relax restrictions if things stay quiet. 
I cannot find any articles since then on whether Israeli officials further loosened restrictions since then, but it appears that they have, even after Ramadan. In previous years articles would complain that "occupation forces prevented the entry of hundreds of citizens from the West Bank to Jerusalem to perform the Friday prayer at Al-Aqsa." That verbiage is gone. Now I'm only seeing that Israeli police are checking identity cards and not allowing a few people to enter, probably based on their inciting disturbances in the past. 

If younger men from the West Bank were being restricted from coming, I think that Palestinian media would be reporting it. Probably young men need entry permits to worship, but that's it. 

If this conjecture is true, that means that Israel quietly, without fanfare, allows thousands of Palestinians to enter Jerusalem every week to pray, very possibly including young men. 

And no one has reported this change in policy!

This is yet another proof that there is no "apartheid." Israel is concerned about the security of its citizens. The level of restrictions against non-citizen Palestinians has nothing to do with their being Arabs or Muslims or non-Jews; it is entirely based on their potential threat to Israeli citizens and whether they are inciting violence. 

The media, keenly interested in Israeli restrictions on Palestinians, loses interest when those restrictions are eased.  After all, no one is rioting so why inform readers that things have changed?

If anything, Jews in Jerusalem should be concerned that there are so many more potentially violent West Bank Palestinians coming every Friday. 

What are the rules? How is security done? What is done to ensure that the visitors don't stay in Jerusalem after prayers? These are the sorts of questions that Israeli media should be researching. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 18 years and 38,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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