Security forces near Old City
Photo: AFP
Arabs riot in east Jerusalem
Photo: AFP

Palestinian FM urges UN to ease Jerusalem tension

Ahead of Friday prayers at Temple Mount, Malki calls for Ban's 'immediate intervention to prevent Israel from escalating situation in Jerusalem.' Jerusalem Police on high alert. High Court rejects petition demanding Jews be granted access to holy site over the weekend

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki called on UN chief Ban Ki-moon Thursday to intervene to prevent further escalation in Jerusalem.


Malki told reporters he briefed Ban at the United Nations on "Israeli escalation measures against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the actions the Israelis have been taking in recent days against al-Aqsa mosque."


He said he asked for Ban's "immediate intervention to prevent Israel from escalating the situation in Jerusalem."


Also Thursday, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition filed by the Temple Mount Human Rights group, headed by Yehuda Glick, who demanded that Jews receive access to the holy site on Friday and Saturday.


The judge said police were responsible for making the decision and that the court could not become involved.


Jerusalem Police plans to limit the entrance of Muslim worshippers to Temple Mount during Friday prayer services to males over the age of 50 who carry an Israeli ID. The access of female worshippers will not be limited.


In addition, police will deploy massive forces in the Old City and villages in the eastern part of the capital in an attempt to keep the peace and prevent riots.


"For the past five or six days Arab-Israeli leaders of all the factions, as well as religious leaders in Israel and abroad have been calling on their supporters to arrive at the Temple Mount and fight for al-Aqsa," said Israel Police Operations Branch Chief, Cmdr. Bentzi Sao.


"In the past such calls have led to severe incidents, and we are prepared to prevent any escalation," he said.


Police during Jerusalem riots (Photo: AP)


Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch held a special briefing Thursday with Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, Foreign Ministry officials, and the State Prosecutors Office ahead of deployment for Friday prayers in Jerusalem.


The minister appealed to worshippers, Jewish and Muslim alike, to maintain restraint during the prayers on Friday.


Meanwhile, Muslim leaders once again urged worshippers to arrive at the Temple Mount Friday. Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, called on Muslims and Arabs worldwide to protest against Israel's conduct in the Old City.


Hamas and Fatah joined the call to rally against "Israeli aggression" in Jerusalem. The head of the Palestinian Sharia court, Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi urge Arab countries to take concrete measures in the face of Israel's plan to "Judaize the city."


Israeli police detained the leader of the Islamic Movement's northern branch on Tuesday on charges of incitement during recent days of tension in Jerusalem, raising fears of further violence.


Sheikh Raed Salah was arrested during clashes between Palestinians and police in the neighborhood of Wadi Joz in east Jerusalem on the third day of sporadic violence in and around the Holy City.


Tensions have run high since Sunday, after authorities closed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City after local Arabs were urged to "protect al-Aqsa" amid rumors that a group of Jewish extremists planned on visiting the site.


On Tuesday, some 2,000 police officers deployed in strength across Jerusalem as an annual Jewish march took place with no reported incidents.


Thousands of people marched through the streets of Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Sukkot, with one group passing through the annexed Arab eastern sector.


Efrat Weiss, Ali Waked and Aviad Glickman contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 10.08.09, 22:35
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