Israeli police came under assault by rock-throwing Arab protesters on the Temple Mount compound on Wednesday, as clashes were highlighted by pro-Hamas Arab MK Hanin Zoabi's (Balad) presence at the site.
"Dozens of masked protesters threw rocks and firecrackers at security forces who then entered the Temple Mount and pushed the demonstrators back inside the mosque," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.
Police had collected intelligence overnight about Muslim youths who were holing up in the mosque, which has effectively been turned into a combat facility by the Muslims.
The youths collected rocks, fireworks and prepared firebombs inside the Al Aqsa structure, and set up barricades to prevent police from closing the doors of Al Aqsa and shutting them inside, as police usually do in confrontations with them.
Early in the morning, when the Rambam Gate doors were opened for visitors, the young Muslims began firing fireworks at police who were at the gate.
As police entered the compound, which was originally built for the Jews who made pilgrimage to the First and Second Jewish Temples, the Muslims escaped into the Al Aqsa structure and fired hundreds of firework rockets directly at the policemen. They also used fire extinguishers to spray at the police.
The police issued a statement, according to which: "The police force under District Commander, Major General Moshe 'Chico' Edri, operated with skill and professionalism, while exhibiting determination and great courage under a barrage of rocks, fireworks, and metal bars, and began to remove the barricades that were placed at the entrance to the mosque. The masked men continued to fire fireworks at the police and injured several of them.”
A police force entered “a few meters” into the mosque in order to remove the barricades, then closed the doors to the mosque and restored quiet to the compound. Visitors can now enter the compound, according to police.
Later a guard of the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) which enjoys de facto rule of the site was arrested in the confrontations, after he threatened and Israeli police officer on the Temple Mount. The guard was taken in for questioning.
"You didn't learn from the Holocaust"
Zoabi also entered the Temple Mount compound, after initially being kept out as she verbally attacked security forces.
Her verbal barrage was caught on film, as she said "all the time they tell you we're terrorists and we want to fight you. We want to live, to pray, to go to our schools and our houses and our land, that's terror?"
She continued shouting in the faces of the Border Patrol officers, screaming "would you want them to do this in your street and against your people? There's someone who did it to you dozens of years ago. You didn't learn the lesson. Don't murder and don't be racist. Six million of you were murdered."
Video from the confrontation in Hebrew can be seen here:
Reports on Monday indicated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu secretly visited Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman, where he protested to maintain the discriminatory "status quo" on the holiest site in Judaism by which the Jordanian Waqf has banned Jewish prayer.
According to the reports, Netanyahu said he was considering banning Jewish entry to the site.