The Palestinian national unity government on Sunday urged the governments of Arab and Islamic countries to end "incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque" by Jewish settlers under the protection of Israeli forces.
Government Spokesperson Yousef Al-Mahmoud said in a statement that the settlers stepped atop the Dome of the Rock inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, under the protection of the Israeli police and military forces, describing it as "insistence by the Israeli government to desecrate holy sites and attacking the most sacred site for Arabs and Muslims in occupied Arab Jerusalem city, violating all norms, international laws, human principles and ethics," Xinhua news agency reported.
Al-Mahmoud held the Israeli government responsible for "all crimes committed by settler gangs towards Al-Aqsa Mosque," and warned of possible consequences resulting from "those escalating aggressive steps," that could possibly lead to "triggering a horrific religion conflict".
Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. For Muslims, it is considered the third holiest site, and it is located in a spacious compound besides the golden Dome of the Rock, together known as Al-Haram Al-Sharif or Noble Sanctuary, inside the Old City of Jerusalem that was referred to by Unesco as an Islamic site.
Al-Haram Al-Sharif has been administered by the Jordanian Islamic Waqf Ministry since 1948, but after Israel took over, it was obliged to respect the status quo and not make any changes to the status, laws and institutions in occupied East Jerusalem.
Palestinians repeatedly warned against Israeli government attempts to break this status quo agreement with Jordan and impose changes to the holy site.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, to be the capital of their future state, while Israel refuses to divide the city and wants "Greater Jerusalem" as its capital.