While walking along the narrow, busy streets of the Old City in Jerusalem I suddenly heard some yelling in Arabic and Hebrew near one of the passages to the al-Aqsa mosque. I quickly ran over and saw a ‘clash’ taking place between elderly Palestinian women and Israeli soldiers.
While arguing in Arabic with the soldiers, who were blocking the passage, denying them entry to the mosque, some of the women where inviting bystanding tourists to film and take pictures of this scene and show it to the ‘outside world’.
My Palestinian friend, who was standing next to me, told me that the soldiers weren’t letting men and women under the age of 50 pass through to the mosque. This was apparently a daily thing. A routine that began about a year ago and takes place from morning to the forenoon where the mosque place would open for Jews, settlers, and some tourists.
The fact that Jews and settlers would even want to go in suprised me so I approached some of the nearby standing Palestinians and asked them about it. Some felt that the Jews only wanted to enter to provoke, others said that the Jews had begun praying in that place for some reason they did not know, and some believed that all this was the ‘next step’ in their plan to build the new temple.
Whatever the reason, the frustration and anger seemed clear among the Palestinians who did not seem happy about these new limitations on visiting their holy mosque.