Palestinian women hold pictures of Israeli soldiers attacking women in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque during a protest against the closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem in the West Bank City of Nablus, on July 18, 2017. The Al-Aqsa Mosque was closed on July 14 after three Palestinians and two Israelis policemen were killed in an armed attack. Israel announced on July 16 the reopening of some of the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque gradually, after setting up electronic gates, surveillance cameras and sensitive equipment for "security reasons," which the Palestinians strongly rejected. (Xinhua/Ayman Nobani)
by Osama Radi, Emad Drimly
RAMALLAH, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The current escalation of tension between the Palestinians and Israel in Jerusalem will hamper the efforts of resuming the stalled peace process between the two sides," Palestinian analysts warned Tuesday.
The occupied eastern part of the city of Jerusalem has been under intense tension since Friday, following Israel's closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque after three Palestinians and two Israelis policemen were killed in an armed attack.
On Sunday, Israel announced the reopening of some of the entrances to Al-Aqsa Mosque gradually, after setting up electronic gates, surveillance cameras and sensitive equipment for "security reasons," which the Palestinians strongly rejected.
The outside courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque have witnessed clashes around the clock for the past two days between Palestinian worshipers who refused to enter the mosque through the electronic gates and the Israeli police deployed in the area.
"Israel has no legal sovereignty over Jerusalem or on its Islamic and Christian holy sites," Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah told his cabinet during its weekly meeting that was held in Ramallah on Tuesday.
On Monday, Hamdallah held two phone calls with Jordanian Prime Minister Hani al-Mulqi and the Secretary General of Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
He called for urgent intervention in the face of Israeli actions against the religious and historical status of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Opposition factions, including Islamic Hamas Movement have also rejected Israel's recent actions in al-Aqsa Mosque, calling on the Palestinians to "escalate Jerusalem uprising, confront the Israeli occupation and break the restrictions imposed on Al-Aqsa Mosque."
"The Israeli closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque has set a dangerous precedent that the Palestinians fear will become repeatable in the future," said Hani al-Masri, a Ramallah-based political analyst and the director of the Ramallah-based Center for Research and Studies.
Al-Masri believes that the closure of al-Aqsa was considered by Israel to check the pulse and test the Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international reactions.
He stressed that the change in the status quo in al-Aqsa Mosque "has already begun with the installation of cameras and electronic gates, which paves the way for the repetition of the situation in the Ibrahimi Mosque (in Hebron, south of the West Bank).
Tension in the Al-Aqsa Mosque has often been the cause of a series of escalation between the Palestinians and Israel, including the "the tunnel uprising" that erupted in 1996 to protest Israel's digging and opening of the western tunnel under the al-Aqsa, which lasted for six months.
Palestinian observers attribute the current tension to a wave of confrontations in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa mosque a few months earlier in protest against Jewish groups entering the mosque.
Rajab Abu Sariya, another political analyst said that "Israel use troubles in Jerusalem whenever it finds itself under political pressure."
"The escalation of tension in Jerusalem is a detonator that can, at any time, ignite the occupied Palestinian territories and certainly affect the entire Middle East," Abu Sariya told Xinhua.