Israeli police allow Jews to visit the Jerusalem site at Flashpoint

Jerusalem (AP) — Israeli police escorted about 50 Jewish visitors to the sanctuary of Jerusalem on Sunday. Police actions in recent weeks have ignited the protests and violence that caused the war in Gaza, according to Islamic authorities overseeing the site.

Waqf said police had expelled young Palestinians from the Al-Aqsa Mosque grounds and banned Muslims under the age of 45 from entering the country. Muslims who entered the country had to leave their ID to the police at the entrance. Three Muslims, including security guards, were arrested.

Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the site was open for “regular visits” and police secured the area to prevent “incidents” without giving details. ..

Israeli police temporarily clashed with Palestinian protesters after a Friday prayer in an early test of the ceasefire that came into effect a few hours ago.

Waqf said on Sunday that it was the first time Jews had been allowed to visit the place since May 4, a week before the war broke out.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holy place in Islam. Located on a vast hill in the Old City of Jerusalem and home to a Bible temple, it is revered by the Jews as the most holy place. This place was often the site of Israeli and Palestinian violence and the epicenter of the 2000 Palestinian Intifada or uprising.

Israeli police repeatedly clashed with Palestinian protesters for several days until May 10, when the ruler of Gaza’s radical Hamas launched a long-range rocket in Jerusalem. The threatened expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families from the nearby Jerusalem district was cited as another major trigger for the 11-day war stopped by the ceasefire on Friday.

In recent years, more and more religious and nationalist Jews have visited this place. Palestinians are afraid that Israel will eventually take over the compound or plan to split it. The Israeli government has repeatedly stated that Waqf does not intend to change the status quo of overseeing Jordanian-controlled sites.

Posted on