RAMALLAH, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian Authority's Wakfs and Religious Affairs Ministry slammed on Sunday an Israeli minister's tour at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, urging the international community to stop Israel's measures that "harm the sacredness of the Al-Aqsa Mosque" in Jerusalem.
Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel was among a group of Israeli settlers who carried out a tour of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem.
The Palestinian ministry said in a statement that the Ariel's move "is a clear challenge to Muslims in Palestine and in the Islamic world during the month of Ramadan."
Palestinians described the tour as "provocative," complaining of a series of Israeli security measures that limit the access of Palestinian worshippers into the Islamic site, while police troops are seen facilitating the access of settler groups into it.
Ariel and dozens of settlers toured the compound yards in groups, only hours after Israeli police forcibly evicted hundreds of Muslim worshippers from the holy site, it said.
According to a 1967 agreement between Israel and Jordan that is the custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque, non-Muslim worshipers can visit the place but are prohibited to pray there.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Jewish people refer to it as the Temple Mount, while it is considered the third holiest site for Muslims.