War of Words over Temple Mount

Nearly two dozen Arabs, who barricaded themselves in a Temple Mount mosque Saturday, left Sunday as Arabs escalated a war of words over the site.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 5:59 PM

Arabs attacks police with rocks on Sunday
Arabs attacks police with rocks on Sunday
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Twenty Arabs, who had barricaded themselves on a Temple Mount mosque since Saturday, left the holy site on Sunday after police took the unusual action of entering the controversial area. Seven Arabs were arrested, and four policemen were lightly injured by rock-throwing protesters.

As quiet returned to the Temple Mount, louder voices escalated the Arab war of words that included incitement for more violence. The Qatari daily Al-Watan called for a new Palestinian Authority-led Intifada with the support of Muslim countries.

The Hamas minister of religious affairs urged violence to “protect our Islamic holy places” from Jewish claims. Nabil Abu Rdainah, an aide to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of preventing the PA from resuming talks on establishing a new PA state and trying to “affect the American efforts and destroy them.”

An Arab Muslim cleric from Jerusalem accused “extremist groups” of “storming” the Temple Mount.

Israeli police usually try to remain outside of the Temple Mount but were forced to surround it and enter part of it on Sunday to remove the protesters and to ensure the safety of tourists in the wake of increasing violence. Masked Arab threw stones at police as part of continuing rage following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s declaration that the Patriarchs Cave in Hevron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem are designated Jewish heritage sites to be renovated.

Arab sources said that police used tear gas and rubber bullets in clashes with Arabs. At least four policemen were treated for wounds inflicted by rock-throwing Arabs.

The PA announced it will hold a Cabinet meeting in Hevron on Monday as a sign of opposition to the Israeli decision to include the holy places as Jewish "heritage sites." Israel has kept the Patriarchs Cave open to Muslims since the city was restored to the Jewish State in 1967 during the Six-Day War. Jordan had occupied the city since 1948 and prohibited Jews from entering.



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