Posts Tagged ‘al-Aqsa Mosque’

In Jerusalem, 17-year-old Palestinians killed in confrontation with Israeli security forces — Top Muslim cleric says he expects a “long test of wills” with Israel

July 21, 2017

JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of Muslims prayed Friday in the streets near a contested shrine in Jerusalem’s Old City, kneeling on mats spread on cobble stone to protest Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the holy site following a deadly attack there last week.

After the prayers, Palestinian stone-throwers clashes with Israeli security forces near the Old City and in several hotspots across the West Bank. Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber bullets, the army said.

In Jerusalem, a 17-year-old Palestinians was killed by live fire in the area of one of the confrontations, but the circumstances of his death were unclear.

Muslim leaders had urged the faithful not to enter the sacred compound until Israel removes the detectors, portraying Israel’s measures as an encroachment on Muslim rights — a charge Israel denies.

The city’s top Muslim cleric, Mohammed Hussein, told worshippers Friday that he expects a “long test of wills” with Israel.

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Palestinians run away from tear gas thrown by Israeli security forces

Israel also dug in, saying the devices would stay. Israel had installed the metal detectors after three Palestinians launched an attack from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen a week ago. Police said the metal detectors are needed to prevent further attacks.

On Friday, police severely restricted Muslim access to the area of the Muslim-administered shrine, which is revered by Muslims and Jews.

Police set up checkpoints in and around Jerusalem to prevent widespread protests.

Some 3,000 police were deployed near the Old City, turning away Muslim men under the age of 50. Some worshippers who came from Israel and the West Bank were intercepted before reaching Jerusalem.

The dispute over the detectors has led to rising tensions between Israel and the Muslim world.

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Palestinians run away from tear gas thrown by Israeli police officers outside Jerusalem’s Old City

Jordan, the custodian of the Jerusalem shrine, has repeatedly appealed to Israel to remove the devices. The two countries cooperate closely on regional security issues, but frequently disagree on Israel’s policies at the shrine, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

On Friday, several thousand Jordanians protested against Israel in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Demonstrators chanted, “the people want to liberate Al Aqsa,” referring to one of the mosques in the compound.

The raised 37-acre (15-hectare) platform in Jerusalem also houses the Dome of the Rock Mosque. It is the third holiest site of Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

The compound, once home to biblical Temples, is Judaism’s holiest site. The Western Wall, a Temple remnant, is the holiest site where Jews can pray.

The shrine sits at the center of rival Israeli and Palestinian national narratives and has triggered major confrontations in the past.

On Friday, thousands of worshippers gathered in the streets near the shrine, laying out their prayer mats under a scorching sun. Volunteers distributed water.

One of the main gathering points was the Old City’s Lion’s Gate, near the spot where the policemen were killed last week.

Jerusalem resident Hashem Abu Diab, 60, led the crowd at Lion’s Gate in chants of “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great,” before noon prayers, the highlight of the Muslim religious week.

Abu Diab said the dispute has united Jerusalem’s Palestinians who consider the compound as their last sanctuary from Israel’s 50-year occupation of the eastern part of the city.

“The Al Aqsa Mosque is the last place we have in this country,” he said. “If Al Aqsa goes, we lose everything. We don’t leave until they remove the metal detectors.”

Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, delivered the sermon at Lion’s Gate, where dozens of Israeli police stood near five metal detectors.

Hussein said the faithful must not enter the compound until Israel has removed the devices.

“We are exhausting Israel because all their military and intelligence are in the streets,” he said.” We are steadfast and we will not back off.”

Israeli police said in a statement that the metal detectors will remain in place, but suggested police may at times choose to only conduct spot checks. “Israeli police can decide on the level of checks,” said police spokeswoman Luba Samri.

The age restriction and police deployment came hours after Israel’s security Cabinet decided not to overrule an earlier police decision to install the metal detectors.

The decision to defer to police came amid reports of disagreement among Israel’s security services about the need for the metal detectors. The military and the Shin Bet security services, which deal directly with Palestinians and potential unrest, were reportedly opposed to the devices.

Israel had come under growing pressure this week, including from Jordan, to remove the metal detectors. The rule of Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty, said to trace its ancestry back to the Prophet Muhammad, rests to a large degree on its role as guardian of the site.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who oversees autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, asked the United States to “intervene urgently” and compel Israel to remove metal detectors, said an adviser, Nabil Abu Rdeneh.

Abbas discussed the growing tensions in Jerusalem in a phone call with Trump’s top adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Abu Rdeneh said.

The Palestinian leader told Kushner that the situation is “extremely dangerous and may go out of control,” Abu Rdeneh said.

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Associated Press writer Karin Laub in the West Bank contributed reporting.

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Muslim protesters clash with police in central Jerusalem — Tensions Mount After Holy Shrine Killings, Security Measures

July 21, 2017

By Luke Baker and Ori Lewis

Reuters

Palestinians react following tear gas that was shot by Israeli forces after Friday prayer on a street outside Jerusalem's Old city July 21, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

Palestinians react following tear gas that was shot by Israeli forces after Friday prayer on a street outside Jerusalem’s Old city July 21, 2017. (Reuters Photo)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police tightened security around Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday as Muslims protested against its installation of metal detectors at a flashpoint shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims.

There have been daily confrontations between Palestinians hurling rocks and Israeli police using stun grenades since the detectors were placed at the entrance to the shrine on Sunday, after the killing of two Israeli policemen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet decided on Thursday night to keep the detectors in place.

In protest, hundreds of worshippers gathered at various entrances to the compound, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, before Friday prayers, but refused to enter, preferring to pray outside.

“We reject Israeli restrictions at the Aqsa Mosque,” said Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein.

Image result for Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein, photos

Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein

Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions had urged the faithful to gather for a “day of rage” on Friday against the new security policies, which they see as changing delicate agreements that have governed the holy site for decades.

But by early afternoon, with police mobilizing extra units and placing barriers to carry out checks at entrances to the Old City, there had been little violence.

Access to the shrine for Muslims was limited to men over 50 as well as women of all ages. Roadblocks were in place on approach roads to Jerusalem to stop buses carrying Muslims to the site.

At one location near the Old City, stone throwers did try to break through a police line, and police used stun grenades.

The Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least 30 people had been hurt, two seriously and some suffered from tear gas inhalation.

Ahmad Abdul Salaam, a local businessman who came to pray outside the Noble Sanctuary said: “Putting these metal detectors at the entrance to our place of worship is like putting them at the entrance to our house. Are you really going to put me through a metal detector as I go into my house?”

The hill-top compound, which contains the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, has long been a source of religious friction. Since Israel captured and annexed the Old City, including the compound, in the 1967 Middle East war, it has also become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism.

Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas at Palestinian protesters during clashes following a protest in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, July 19.

Israeli soldiers shoot tear gas at Palestinian protesters during clashes following a protest in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, July 19.

Palestinians react following tear gas that was shot by Israeli forces after Friday prayer on a street outside Jerusalem’s Old city July 21, 2017.Ammar Awad

“This is our place of prayer, we have sovereignty here,” Salaam added.

Security Cabinet Decision

On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to press for the removal of the metal detectors.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations’ special coordinator for long-stalled Israel-Palestinian peace talks, appealed for calm and the White House urged a resolution. Jordan, which is the ultimate custodian of the holy site, has also been involved in mediation efforts.

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But Netanyahu’s 11-member security cabinet decided in a late-night meeting to keep the metal detectors in place to ensure no weapons were smuggled in, a week after three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen in the vicinity of the complex.

Far-right members of Netanyahu’s government – which relies on religious and right-wing parties for support – had publicly urged him to keep the devices in place.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy places,” the security cabinet said in a statement.

“The cabinet has authorized the police to take any decision in order to ensure free access to the holy places while maintaining security and public order.”

As well as anger at having to submit to Israeli security policies, Palestinians are alarmed at what they see as a slow chipping away at the status quo at the Noble Sanctuary.

Since Ottoman times, while Jews are permitted to visit the area – considered the holiest place in Judaism, where an ancient temple once stood – only Muslims are allowed to pray there.

Over the past decade, however, visits by religious-nationalist Jews have increased sharply and some attempt to pray. While police are supposed to eject them if they do, the rules are not always enforced, fuelling Muslim anger.

In 2000, a visit by then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon triggered clashes that spiraled into the second Intifada, or uprising, when an estimated 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians were killed in four years of violence.

Israel bars younger men from Muslim holy site amid continuing clashes

July 21, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

© Ahmad Gharabli, AFP |Palestinian Muslims pray next to Lions Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, on July 20, 2017, as they protest against new Israeli security measures there.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-21

Israel banned Muslim men under the age of 50 from a contested Jerusalem shrine on Friday, ahead of expected protests over the installation of metal detectors there.

Police reinforcements poured into Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods in the morning, particularly in and around the walled Old City where the shrine is located.

The security measures came just hours after Israel‘s security Cabinet reportedly decided in an overnight session not to overrule a police decision earlier this week to install the metal detectors at the gates of the shrine that is revered by Muslims and Jews.

The gates were fitted with metal detectors after Palestinian gunmen launched an attack from there last week, killing two Israeli policemen. Muslim leaders alleged that the metal detectors are part of a purported Israeli attempt to expand control over the site, which sits at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

Inspecting a body on Friday near what Jews call the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The area, home to the complex of Al Aqsa Mosque, is Jerusalem’s holiest site for both faiths. This photo from just after the killing of Israelis on July 14, 2017. Credit Ammar Awad/Reuters

Israel has denied such allegations, arguing that metal detectors are routine security devices.

Muslim leaders have called on worshippers to pray in the streets near the shrine rather than walk through metal detectors. Over the course of the week, growing numbers of Palestinian worshippers have participated in such street prayers, particularly in the evenings. Following such prayers, smaller numbers of Palestinian protesters have clashed with police.

CRISIS IN JERUSALEM OVER SECURITY MEASURES

On Thursday evening, police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters who, according to police, threw rocks and bottles.

Paramedics from the Red Crescent said 37 people were injured by rubber bullets, three of them seriously.

Friday is the highlight of the Muslim religious week, and tens of thousands of worshippers typically perform prayers at the shrine, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Muslim leaders have urged the faithful to forego prayers in smaller Jerusalem neighborhood mosques Friday and converge on the shrine, in an attempt to increase the crowd size.

Police announced Friday that Muslim men under the age of 50 would be banned from the shrine and that it was sending reinforcements to Jerusalem.

“Police and border police units mobilized in all areas and neighborhoods,” said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Israeli media reported earlier Friday that the security Cabinet decided to defer to police on the metal detectors. The decision came despite appeals from key Muslim countries, particularly Jordan, to remove the devices.

Jordan is the custodian of the Muslim shrine. Israel and Jordan have close security ties, but frequently clash over Israel’s policies at the holy site.

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Israel Limits Muslim Access to Jerusalem Site Amid Tensions — Muslims angry after installation of metal detectors

July 21, 2017

JERUSALEM — Israel banned Muslim men under the age of 50 from a contested Jerusalem shrine on Friday, ahead of expected protests over the installation of metal detectors there.

Police reinforcements poured into Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods in the morning, particularly in an around the walled Old City where the shrine is located.

The security measures came just hours after Israel’s security Cabinet reportedly decided in an overnight session not to overrule a police decision earlier this week to install the metal detectors at the gates of the shrine that is revered by Muslims and Jews.

The gates were fitted with metal detectors after Palestinian gunmen launched an attack from there last week, killing two Israeli policemen. Muslim leaders alleged that the metal detectors are part of a purported Israeli attempt to expand control over the site, which sits at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel has denied such allegations, arguing that metal detectors are routine security devices.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers at Temple Mount.

Palestinians stand in front of Israeli police officers and newly installed metal detectors at an entrance to the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City July 16, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Muslim leaders have called on worshippers to pray in the streets near the shrine rather than walk through metal detectors. Over the course of the week, growing numbers of Palestinian worshippers have participated in such street prayers, particularly in the evenings. Following such prayers, smaller numbers of Palestinian protesters have clashed with police.

On Thursday evening, police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters who, according to police, threw rocks and bottles.

Paramedics from the Red Crescent said 37 people were injured by rubber bullets, three of them seriously.

Metal detector placed this week at an entrance to the Temple Mount. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Friday is the highlight of the Muslim religious week, and tens of thousands of worshippers typically perform prayers at the shrine, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Muslim leaders have urged the faithful to forego prayers in smaller Jerusalem neighborhood mosques Friday and converge on the shrine, in an attempt to increase the crowd size.

Police announced Friday that Muslim men under the age of 50 would be banned from the shrine and that it was sending reinforcements to Jerusalem.

“Police and border police units mobilized in all areas and neighborhoods,” said spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Israeli media reported earlier Friday that the security Cabinet decided to defer to police on the metal detectors. The decision came despite appeals from key Muslim countries, particularly Jordan, to remove the devices.

Jordan is the custodian of the Muslim shrine. Israel and Jordan have close security ties, but frequently clash over Israel’s policies at the holy site.

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas during skirmishes with Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 26, 2016.

An Israeli soldier fires tear gas during skirmishes with Palestinian worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Israeli-occupied Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem), June 26, 2016.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/06/26/472239/Israel-alAqsa-Mosque-compound

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TEMPLE MOUNT TENSIONS RISE AS CABINET DECIDES TO KEEP METAL DETECTORS

BY TOVAH LAZAROFF
 JULY 21, 2017 07:15

 

The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Service) had argued against maintaining the metal detectors fearing it would lead to violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Security forces brace for a standoff with Muslim worshipers in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday afternoon after the security cabinet decided to leave the metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and to protecting the safety of worshipers and visitors,” the Prime Minister’s Office said. The Tel Aviv meeting began late Thursday night and ended in the early hours of the morning.

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The cabinet authorized the police to make any decisions necessary to ensure free access to the holy site, known to Muslims as the Al-Haram/Al-Sharif, while maintaining public order and security.

The cabinet essentially adopted the police stance, which sided with keeping the metal detectors. In addition, it was decided to restrict the entrance to the Temple Mount compound to the age of 50 and above.

The police said in a statement on Friday morning that it was decided to heighten security in and around the old city.

“Police and border police units are mobilized in all areas and neighborhoods and will respond to any incidents or disturbances throughout the day,” the statement reads.

The area of the Old City and the adjacent streets – including Sultan Souliman street – will be closed for traffic.

The statement added that there are intelligence indications that extremists are planning to “disrupt the order violently,” and that the forces on the ground are prepared to secure the Friday prayers.

Thousands of officers have been stationed near Temple Mount and the IDF has allocated five battalions to be used if necessary. On Friday morning the police prevented buses of Muslim worshipers from entering Jerusalem.

The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Service) had argued against maintaining the metal detectors fearing it would lead to violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 that “once the red line has been crossed of automatic weapons on the Temple Mount [as seen in last Friday’s terrorist attack], there is a need to change the security arrangements.” He said the metal detectors should remain because the focus should be on preventing future terrorist attacks.

Jerusalem Police head Asst. Chief Yoram Halevy said his officers could deal with any threats, so there was no need to remove the metal detectors.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said that he’s backing the police and that keeping the metal detectors are the right decision.

“The decision of Jerusalem Police District Commander Yoram Halevy to place these metal detectors near the Temple Mount is a brave decision,” said Barkat, “because this time last week we had two policemen killed. He is taking responsibility that things like this will not happen again.”

Barkat added that Israel should not be intimidated by threats and should not reward terrorism by backing down: “I welcome the police on their courageous decisions and cabinet for backing them up.”

“This is not a political issue, but a security related,” Barkat added. “No one is trying the change the status quo on Temple Mount, and I call on all Muslim residents to calm the spirits, avoid violence and listen to the police.”

Labor chairman Avi Gabbay said it was a mistake that the security cabinet decided to pass the buck to the police but he said that he believes the police and the IDF will stand up to the security challenge before them.

Zionist Union MK Omer Bar Lev, a former commander of the IDF’s Sayeret Matkal unit, said “the State of Israel fell into the trap laid for them by the terrorists to change our conflict with the Palestinians to a religious conflict between Islam and us.”

Bar Lev, who stated earlier this week that the metal detectors should be removed, accused Netanyahu and the Security Cabinet of “running from responsibility by leaving decisions to the police and rejecting the recommendations of the IDF and the Shin Bet security service.”

Kulanu MK Rachel Azaria, a former Jerusalem Deputy Mayor, said that in order to prevent an explosion on the Temple Mount, the security cabinet decision should have accompanied by intensive outreach work to the moderate Arab civil leaders of Jerusalem.

“Jerusalem is a complicated city and therefore solutions for it must be complex as well,” she said.

The situation was tense on Thursday night, with Muslims throwing stones and glass bottles at officers as they left evening prayers outside the Old City’s Lions’ Gate, according to police spokeswoman Luba Samri. Police responded with riot dispersal methods and five police officers were lightly injured, she added. Over 20 Palestinians were also injured, according to media reports.

The US and Jordan had worked behind the scenes to help Israel find a solution to the crisis that began last Friday, when three Israeli-Arab terrorists killed two policemen by Lions’ Gate. The terrorists were then killed in a shootout in the Temple Mount compound.

Fatah and the Wakf Islamic trust called on Jerusalem mosques to remain closed on Friday so worshipers could go to the Temple Mount.

“We object to these metal detectors because they seize the control we have as the Wakf to direct al-Aksa Mosque,” said al-Aksa Mosque director Sheikh Omar Kiswani. “This is a breach for an internal case: Al-Aksa Mosque is for Muslims – only for Muslims – and we will never accept these metal detectors.”

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called on Palestinians to head to the Temple Mount.

“My clear message to the Zionist enemy is that al-Aksa and Jerusalem are a red line,” said Haniyeh. “I say to the Zionist enemy that the policy of closure and of implementing punishment measures against the Jerusalemites and the holy sites will never pass.

You [Israelis] never learn from history, and do not read geography.

You are blinded by your power. My clear word to you is that you should stop, you are lighting a fire.”

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met in Ramallah with a group of European Union diplomats, and warned that the security situation could deteriorate if Israel continued in its attempts to change the status quo, according to WAFA, the Palestinian news agency.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called for calm.

“I welcome the commitment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to uphold and respect the status quo at the holy sites, and Palestinian President Abbas’s firm condemnation of violence, specifically the deadly attack on two Israeli policemen on 14 July,” he said.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that the US was “very concerned about tensions surrounding the Temple Mount/ Haram Al-Sharif, a site holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, and calls upon the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to make a good faith effort to reduce tensions, to find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.”

Gil Hoffman and Udi Shaham contributed to this article.

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Palestinian civilians urge ICC to speed up ‘war crimes’ probe

July 19, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | According to UN figures 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, were killed in fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas and other factions

THE HAGUE (AFP) – Palestinian lawyers and civil society groups Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to speed up inquiries and open a full investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza, east Jerusalem and the West Bank.”Since two years Palestine is under preliminary examination,” said lawyer Gilles Devers, adding “in Gaza, we think two years is too long.”

The Palestinian Authority has formally asked the ICC to investigate Israel, which is not a party to the Rome Statute that governs the court, for alleged war crimes.

It has presented the court with a dossier alleging abuses during the 2014 summer Gaza war, and for the Israeli occupation and settlement of Palestinian territories.

In January 2015, the tribunal opened a preliminary examination into alleged abuses by all sides in the conflict. And an ICC delegation visited Israel and the West Bank in late 2016.

But Palestinian activists told reporters Wednesday the investigation has stalled, calling for both the ICC and the Palestinian Authority to speed up efforts.

Lawyers representing 448 named victims, and more than 50 Palestinian trade unions and organisations, were handing over Wednesday a thick dossier to the ICC prosecutor’s office which they said showed “clearly that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed.”

The Gaza conflict, in which according to UN figures 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, were killed in fighting between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas and other factions, was clearly “a war crime” and the “ICC was competent” to handle it, said Devers, speaking in English.

Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had “an obligation” to move beyond a preliminary examination to a full investigation, he told reporters before meeting with representatives from her office.

The dossier has been drafted by more than 30 lawyers in the Palestinian territories, and it is the first time that Palestinian civil groups, including doctors, farmers, fishermen and teachers, have appealed directly to the ICC.

The group said it has taken the action because of “the lack of political will on behalf of the Palestinian Authority” which it said had not made an official complaint as a state member of the ICC.

Devers said the group was also hoping to persuade the ICC to open a full investigation “as a matter of urgency” into the situation in east Jerusalem.

Protests and scuffles between demonstrators and Israeli police have erupted in recent days outside the Haram al-Sharif compound, which includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The site is venerated by Muslims as the third holiest site in Islam, and by Jews as the most sacred site in Judaism.

But Israel closed the ultra-sensitive compound on Friday and Saturday, after an attack by an Arab Israeli on Friday left two Israeli police dead, as has triggered Palestinian fury by installing metal detectors at its entrances.

Islamic leaders boycott Jerusalem holy site over metal detectors

July 18, 2017

The Associated Press

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The Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.(Hadas Parush/Flash90)


© Menahem Kahana, AFP | A child rides a bicycle as Israeli border policemen install metal detectors outside the Lion’s Gate, a main entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on July 16, 2017.
Video by Shirli SITBON
Text by NEWS WIRES
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Latest update : 2017-07-18
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Islamic leaders called on Muslims on Monday to boycott a Jerusalem holy site in a gesture of protest after Israel set up metal detectors at the site’s entrance gates following a deadly Arab attack there last week.

For the first time in decades, Israel closed the site – sacred to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount – on Friday, after three Arab Muslim Israeli citizens opened fire from the holy compound with automatic weapons, killing two police officers before they were shot and killed.

Israel reopened the compound to Muslim worshippers on Sunday after imposing new security measures, including metal detectors at the entrance gates and additional security cameras.

The Waqf, Jordan’s Islamic authority that manages religious affairs at the site, was outraged over the metal detectors. Dozens of worshippers have prayed on the streets near the gate after refusing to enter via the metal detectors.

Police said Monday evening that some 200 Palestinians tried to block a road nearby and threw stones at officers who dispersed them. A day earlier, minor scuffles broke out as some Muslim worshippers tried to stop others from using the gates, Israeli media reported.

Police said that despite the tensions, hundreds of worshippers had entered the compound.

The Waqf, together with other Islamic groups, issued a statement Monday calling on Muslims “to reject and boycott all the Israeli aggression measures, including changing the historical status quo including imposing the metal detectors.”

They called on the faithful “not to enter the mosque through” the detectors. The statement further said that “if the metal detectors continue to be imposed, we call upon the people to pray in front of the gates of the mosque and in the streets of Jerusalem.”

The fate of the compound, holy to both Jews and Muslims, is an emotional issue and forms the centerpiece of rival Israeli and Palestinian national narratives. Any perceived changes to the delicate arrangements at the site can spark tensions. Its closure after Friday’s attack prompted condemnations from the Arab world.

Jordan called for its immediate reopening and there were protests in the streets there against Israel, with which Amman has a peace treaty.

Israel did not coordinate the changes with Jordan, which serves as the custodian of the Muslim-administered site, according to a Jordanian government official. Jordan’s stance is that anything installed at the site must be approved by the Waqf, or Muslim administration, and cannot change the status quo, said the official. He spoke on Sunday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the situation with reporters.

The scene of repeated confrontations

Jews revere the site, where the two Jewish temples stood in biblical times, as the Temple Mount. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the nearby Western Wall, a remnant of one of the temples, is the holiest place where Jews can pray.

Muslims regard the same hilltop compound as the Noble Sanctuary. Home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock, it is Islam’s third-holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

The Jerusalem shrine has been the scene of repeated confrontations but Friday’s brazen shooting was rare because it took place inside the compound and also because the attackers were from Israel’s Arab minority.

A rash of Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers erupted in 2015, partly over tensions at the holy site.

Police have been gradually reopening the site. On Monday it opened to visitors. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the security measures “are to ensure and prevent further incidents or attacks” and would continue.

Jerusalem police commissioner Yoram Halevy said the metal detectors were necessary for the site to reopen.

“I assume that with time they will understand that this is not terrible,” he told Army Radio. He said that security measures of this kind are commonplace in the world.

“When I go shopping on Friday I pass through a detector at the mall,” Halevy said. “We see them everywhere they have become a part of our lives.”

In the past two years, Palestinians have killed 45 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and attacks using cars to ram into Israeli civilians and troops.

During that period, Israeli forces have killed more than 254 Palestinians, most of them said by Israel to be attackers while others were killed in clashes with Israeli forces.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded on social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.

Palestinians say the attacks are triggered by anger over decades of Israeli rule in territories they claim for their future state.

(AP)

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Muslims heed calls to avoid holy site over Israeli security measures

July 17, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Majeda El-Batsh | Palestinians chant slogans outside the Lions Gate, a main entrance to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, due to newly implemented security measures by Israeli authorities, in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 17, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Muslims heeded calls Monday not to enter a Jerusalem holy site and protested outside after Israeli authorities installed metal detectors at entrances to the ultra-sensitive compound following an attack that killed two policemen.The compound was largely empty on Monday apart from tourists and Jewish visitors, with Muslims again praying and protesting outside the site instead of entering through the metal detectors.

The Haram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Several hundred people could be seen praying outside two different entrances to the site around midday on Monday.

There were protests after the prayer, with crowds shouting: “Aqsa mosque, we sacrifice our souls and our blood.” Police later sought to move them back.

“We will not break the solidarity of the people,” said Jamal Abdallah, a Palestinian who now lives in the US state of Arizona and was planning to visit Al-Aqsa, but changed his mind when he was told of the situation.

Israel installed the metal detectors after Friday’s attack near the holy site that saw three Arab Israelis open fire on Israeli police.

They then fled to the compound, where they were shot dead by security forces.

It was among the most serious incidents in Jerusalem in recent years and heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Israel took the highly unusual decision of closing the compound for Friday prayers, triggering anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site’s custodian.

The site remained closed on Saturday, while parts of Jerusalem’s Old City were also under lockdown.

Israeli authorities said the closure was necessary to carry out security checks, adding that the assailants had come from within the holy site to commit the attack.

They began reopening it on Sunday, but with metal detectors in place, while security cameras were also being installed in the area.

Al-Aqsa officials have refused to enter and have called on worshippers to do the same.

Palestinians view the new measures as Israel asserting further control over the site.

Crowds chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) as they gathered near the Lions Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday.

On Sunday night, skirmishes broke out between Israeli police and worshippers outside the entrance, with the Red Crescent reporting 17 people wounded.

With tensions high, two mosques in the northern Israeli Arab town of Maghar were targeted overnight, one with a stun grenade and another by gunshots. No serious damage was reported.

One of the two policemen killed in the attack lived in Maghar. Both of the officers were from the Druze minority, Arabs who belong to an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

– Netanyahu order –

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the decision to install the metal detectors and cameras following a meeting with security officials on Saturday.

He also spoke by phone with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Saturday night before leaving on a trip to France and Hungary.

Abdullah condemned the attack, but also called on Netanyahu to reopen the Al-Aqsa compound and stressed the need to “avoid any escalation at the site”.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas conveyed a similar message to Netanyahu when the two spoke by phone on Friday in the wake of the attack.

Proposals to change security measures at the compound have sparked controversy in the past.

A plan developed in 2015 between Israel and Jordan to install cameras at the site itself fell apart amid disagreement over how they would be operated.

The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967 and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

It is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Jews are allowed to visit but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

by Majeda El-Batsh
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Israel reopens Jerusalem mosques after attack — But Muslim worshippers were refusing to enter due to new security measures

July 16, 2017

AFP

© Thomas Coex, AFP | Israeli authorties are reopening the holy site, 16 July 2017.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-07-16

Israel reopened an ultra-sensitive holy site Sunday closed after an attack that killed two policemen, but Muslim worshippers were refusing to enter due to new security measures including metal detectors and cameras.

Crowds chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) as a number of initial visitors entered Jerusalem’sHaram al-Sharif compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The flashpoint holy site includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

But midday Muslim prayers were held outside the site due to the new security measures.

“We reject the changes imposed by the Israeli government,” Sheikh Omar Kiswani, Al-Aqsa director, told reporters outside.

Image result for Sheikh Omar Kiswani, Al-Aqsa director, photos

“We will not enter through these metal detectors.”

Three Arab Israeli assailants opened fire on Israeli police Friday in Jerusalem’s Old City before fleeing to the compound.

Israeli authorities said they had come from the flashpoint holy site to commit the attack.

Image result for Sheikh Omar Kiswani, Al-Aqsa director, photos

Israel took the highly unusual decision to close the Al-Aqsa mosque compound for Friday prayers, triggering anger from Muslims and Jordan, the holy site’s custodian.

The site remained closed on Saturday, while parts of Jerusalem’s Old City were also under lockdown.

Israeli authorities said the closure was necessary to carry out security checks and announced it would reopen the compound Sunday.

Police said Sunday that so far two gates leading to the holy site had been opened, equipped with metal detectors.

(AFP)

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Israel Opens Jerusalem Holy Site After Shooting — Islamic Movement in Israel Says “Al Aqsa Mosque is closer to freedom.”

July 16, 2017

JERUSALEM — The Latest on Israeli-Palestinian tensions following last week’s attack at a Jerusalem holy site, in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers before being killed (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

Israel has reopened a Jerusalem holy site for worshippers after taking the rare step of shutting it down following a deadly assault there that sparked concerns of a fresh round of violence.

Visitors were seen entering the compound — known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount — on Sunday after Israel imposed new security measures, including metal detectors at the entrance gates and additional security cameras.

For the first time in decades, Israel closed the site Friday after an attack by three Arab citizens of Israel who opened fire from the sacred site and killed two police officers before being shot dead.

The Jerusalem shrine has been the scene of repeated confrontations, including during the current wave of violence over the past two years.

___

9:30 a.m.

Israeli police say security forces have shot dead a Palestinian assailant behind a pair of recent shooting attacks.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says that in a joint operation with the military early Sunday forces tracked down the suspect. He says the 34-year-old Palestinian opened fire at the forces with an automatic weapon. The troops returned fire, shooting him dead.

On Friday, three Arab citizens of Israel opened fire at a Jerusalem holy site, killing two police officers before being shot dead. In a first in decades, the site was closed. Israel says it will be gradually reopened.

Since September 2015, Palestinian attackers have killed 45 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist. Israeli forces have killed more than 255 Palestinians, most of them identified as attackers.

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Jerusalem attacker on Facebook: ‘Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful’

Terrorists publish selfie on social media just before deadly shooting, which shows them standing beside Temple Mount’s Dome of the Rock shrine

 July 14, 2017, 11:09 am 6

Three Arab Israelis named by the Shin Bet as responsible for shooting dead two Israeli police officers next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017: Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19. (Channel 2 composite screenshot)

Three Arab Israelis named by the Shin Bet as responsible for shooting dead two Israeli police officers next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017: Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29; Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19. (Channel 2 composite screenshot)

One of the three men who carried out a deadly terror attack Friday morning at the Temple Mount posted on Facebook shortly before the shooting, saying “Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful, God willing.”

No automatic alt text available.

The text was accompanied by a selfie of two of the attackers — Arab Israelis who could not immediately be named in Israeli media under a Shin Bet gag order — showing them standing in front of the Dome of the Rock shrine at the holy site.

The post was published at around 7:00 a.m., moments before the attack.

Despite the gag order, the names and pictures of the assailants have been published widely on Palestinian social media.

The Facebook selfie garnered nearly two thousand likes and a thousand comments within three hours, the vast majority of which praised the attack.

Other pictures and videos from the attackers’ Facebook page showed intense interest in the Temple Mount and the Muslim holy sites located there.

One post from July 2016 shows a picture of the leader of the banned Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah, next to the Temple Mount.

Raed Saleh, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Raed Saleh, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The post reads: “Every year and the Al Aqsa Mosque is closer to freedom.”

Salah, who has been in and out of jail for incitement, often propagates the idea the Israel is threatening to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The preacher was once the mayor of the Arab-Israeli town of Umm el-Fahm and is still based there.

Pictures from the attacker’s Facebook also indicate he was a boxer.

Two Israelis police officers were killed and one was lightly wounded in the shooting attack on Friday morning, police said.

Watch:Terrorist is neutralized? Lying as if he was dead at Al-Aqsa Mosque, stands up and tries to escape, was shot and killed

The attackers opened fire from the Temple Mount, then ran back into the holy site, where pursuing police shot them dead.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri praised the attack.

“The Jerusalem operation is a natural response to the Israeli terrorism and desecration of the Al-Aqsa mosque. It confirms that the intifada continues and that our people are united behind the resistance,” he wrote.

Following the attack, Israel security forces closed the site and erected checkpoints around the Old City.

Hamas Celebrates Attack at Shrine Killing Israelis in “Religious War.” — Targeting Israelis Continues After Jerusalem Site Attack — Waqf official may have aided Israeli-Arab terrorists

July 15, 2017

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers are calling on Palestinians to attack Israeli forces in Jerusalem after a sacred site was closed following a deadly assault there.

Hamas described the closure of the site — known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount — in a statement Saturday as a “religious war” and Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the Palestinian “uprising” to target the Israeli army and West Bank settlers.

Israel made the rare move after three Palestinian assailants opened fire there Friday, killing two Israeli police officers before being shot dead. The attackers were devout Muslim citizens of Israel.

The Muslim-administered site is revered by both Muslims and Jews. Israel says it won’t reopen before Sunday.

Hamas has staged a rally celebrating the attack.

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Waqf official may have aided Israeli-Arab terrorists in Temple Mount attack — report

Police checking if perpetrators had help from Jordanian group that administers site, Channel 10 says; officers raid Umm al-Fahm homes of shooters, break up mourners’ tent

 July 14, 2017, 9:14 pm
WhatsApp Image 2017-07-14 at 11.47.26

Border Police officers walk on the Temple Mount after a shooting attack in the area left three people injured, two of them seriously, on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Israel Police made a number of arrests in the wake of the deadly terror attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday morning, which claimed the lives of two Israeli police officers, and officers were on the hunt for additional suspects who may have helped the three Israeli-Arab perpetrators, police said.

Raids were also conducted on the homes of the terrorists, all from the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, and a mourners’ tent for the terrorists was broken up.

Channel 10 reported Friday that among those detained were at least one official from the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, the Jordan-based organization that administers the Temple Mount, on suspicion that the shooters received help from inside.

The channel said the official was seen on security footage behaving suspiciously.

Police also said they arrested one person, a 22-year-old from the northern city on suspicion he was directly involved in the attack.

הפיגוע בהר הבית: כוחות היס”מ פירקו את סוכת האבלים באום אל פאחם @samiaah10

Police have not indicated what kind of assistance they believe the Waqf official provided, though Channel 10 said he may have helped the shooters stash the weapons used in the attack. A gag order was imposed on further aspects of the investigation relating to the Waqf.

Channel 10 noted the situation was complicated by the fact that the custodian group answers to Jordan, not Israel.

No automatic alt text available.

Channel 2 news said more vaguely that it was possible that the terrorists had received help from inside the compound, and that this was one of the reasons why police had ordered the closure of the area, for the first time in decades, will they carried out security checks.

The terrorists, Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19, used two Carlo-style submachine guns and a pistol to carry out the attack. One of them also tried to stab an officer after being apprehended.

A pistol and one of two Carlo-style submachine guns used in a shooting attack that left two Israeli seriously wounded near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

A pistol and one of two Carlo-style submachine guns used in a shooting attack that left two Israeli seriously wounded near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

After the shooting, the terrorists fled toward the Temple Mount and other officers gave chase. The police then opened fire, shooting the terrorists dead inside the complex.

Read the rest:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/police-arrest-suspects-in-temple-mount-attack-raid-homes-of-israeli-arab-terrorists/

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