Jordan: Israeli 'provocations' at Temple Mount threaten peace
After riots subside, Jordanian Communications Minister Sharif calls on Israel to prevent entrance of security forces, Jewish extremists to east Jerusalem compound. Islamic Movement: Police threatened women, children who merely wanted to pray
Following Sunday's riots at the Temple Mount, Jordan called on Israel to prevent the entrance of security personnel and Jewish extremists to the east Jerusalem compound that houses the al- Aqsa Mosque.
"Any new provocative attempts by Israeli troops and Jewish extremists such as what happened today in the shrine's compound represent a flagrant violation of international law and conventions and set the stage for more tension and acts of violence," Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communication Nabil Sharif said in a statement.
"Jordan, out of its historical responsibilities in being the custodian of the holy places in Jerusalem, is extremely worried about what is taking place and warns against going ahead with this provocative behavior on the part of Israeli troops," he added.
Sharif urged "an immediate end to such dangerous practices which threaten to derail all opportunities of peace and stability in the region".
During the riots, Israeli forces stormed the Temple Mount compound, firing stun grenades to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing Palestinian protesters in a fresh eruption of violence at the most volatile spot in the Holy Land.
Temple Mount area, Sunday (Photo: Reuters)
A wall of Israeli riot police behind plexiglass shields closed in on the crowd, sending many protesters — overwhelmingly young men — running for cover into the black-domed Al-Aqsa mosque. The mosque is one part of the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
Dozens of protesters remained holed up inside the mosque for several hours, occasionally opening shuttered doors to throw objects at police. The Israeli forces did not enter the building, and the protesters eventually left peacefully and the compound was closed, police said.
Nine police officers sustained light injuries during the riots, while 21 people were arrested. The compound is expected to be reopened for visitors and worshippers on Monday.
Shortly after the riots subsided, a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli security guard at the Qalandiya checkpoint, located north of Jerusalem. The assailant was apprehended, while the man was evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital with light to moderate injuries.
East Jerusalem Arabs throw stones (Photo: AP)
Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen accused a small group of Muslim extremists of trying to foment violence — echoing a charge made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks ago.
"The police will act with a strong hand against anyone who disrupts order on the Temple Mount and against those incite to riot," Cohen said.
However, the Islamic Movement in Israel said Muslims who had gathered at the compound on Sunday had no intention of rioting.
"Police threatened women, children and adults who merely arrived at the site to pray," said the spokesperson for the movement's northern branch.
Attorney Zadi Nujeidat told Ynet that he arrived at the Temple Mount at around 4:30 am along with hundreds of other Muslim worshippers. According to the spokesperson, worshippers were urged to flock to the compound after Jewish extremists said they planned on visiting the site.
"Police threw stun grenades and beat people with batons. The worshipers didn’t know what was going on," said Nujeidat.
The Muslim worshippers left the compound at around 4 pm.
"We will always pray at the Temple Mount; it is our religious and historic right, and no one can take it away from us," the Islamic Movement spokesman said.
The Muslim Convention group condemned what it called the Israeli "violations" at the Temple Mount and urged the Muslim community worldwide to defend the compound.
The group warned that any harm to the al-Aqsa Mosque will result in "unexpected implications" to peace and security.
Efrat Weiss and the news agencies contributed to the report