Jerusalem (AP) — Hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are fighting under tight police guards on Sunday shortly after a brief clash of Muslim worshipers with Israeli security forces at Flashpoint Shrine. I visited the sacred place of.
No injuries have been reported, but the incident again heightened tensions at a hilltop complex worshiped by Jews and Muslims. A violent on-site clash earlier this year helped trigger an 11-day war between Israeli and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
The Jews respect the place as a mountain of temples where the Bible temple once stood. It is the most sacred place in Judaism. Today, there is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holy place in Islam. Tensions in the complex have frequently spread to violence over the years.
The Jews visited Tisha Bab, a day of mourning and repentance, looking back on the destruction of the First and Second Temples, an important event in Jewish history.
Islamic Waqf, who manages the site, said about 1,500 Jews had entered the premises. This is a much higher number than on a normal day. It accused the Israeli police of using aggressive tactics and said some visitors violated a long-standing status quo agreement prohibiting Jews from praying on the scene.
Prior to the visit, Israeli police said a small group of young Muslims threw rocks at security forces and immediately secured the area. Amateur videos showed that police fired what appeared to be a rubber bullet, a common crowd control tactic, and banned Muslim worshipers from entering the premises for several hours.
In a statement, Waqf, the Islamic organization that manages the site, said by allowing “Jewish militants to attack mosques, perform provocative tours, and perform public prayers and rituals.” Israel has accused the mosque of “violating its holiness.”
The region is “a pure Islamic mosque that does not accept divisions or partnerships,” he said.
The visit took place a few days before the Muslims celebrated the festival of Eid al-Adha, or the feast of sacrifice.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudene accused Israel of “dragging the region into a religious war.”
Jordan, the maintainer of the Islamic site in Jerusalem, said he had sent a letter of protest to Israel and urged him to respect the status quo.
“Israel’s actions against the mosque are rejected and condemned,” said Jordan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Daifala al-Fayz.
Naftali Bennett, the new Prime Minister of Israel, praised the police for handling the visit and vowed to protect the “freedom of religion” of Jews and Islams in the field.
His comments aroused speculation that Israel might be trying to change the norms of the place to enable Jewish prayer.
However, Public Security Minister Omel Barrev told Channel 13 that Israel remains committed to the status quo and that Jewish prayers on the ground are “unlawful.”