Police arrested 18 Muslims on Sunday during unrest on the Temple Mount in the
capital, after 50 protesters pelted tourists and officers with
Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said the protesters
were reacting to reports that a group of Jews bent on destroying the Aksa Mosque
and the Dome of the Rock and building the Third Temple on the site planned to
ascend the Temple Mount en masse.
There were similar rumors of such an
attempt to be led by Likud activist Moshe Feiglin last Sunday.
officers were wounded during the clashes, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said,
describing the incident as a “disturbance on the Temple
Stone-throwers attacked a group of Christian tourists that was
visiting the site. At least 40 officers entered the Temple Mount to deal with
the situation, Rosenfeld said.
Police arrested three suspects during the
Police arrested 10 additional suspects as they exited the Aksa
Mosque after afternoon prayers, and five later in the afternoon. Additional
arrests are expected.
Rosenfeld said the Wakf Islamic trust, which
manages the Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount, cooperated with police to
calm the situation.
The incident came after unfounded Palestinians
reports that a group of “religious [Jewish] Israelis” tried to “storm” the
Temple Mount on Sunday morning, according to Jordanian semi-official newspaper
Palestinian sources claimed over the weekend that a group of
Jews would try to storm the Temple Mount in order to “strengthen Israeli
sovereignty over the site,” according to the newspaper.
visitors were on the Temple Mount during the altercation, police said. The site
remained opened to tourists throughout the day.
Last week, Likud
activists, including Feiglin, tried to enter the Temple Mount, but police barred
them from entry. Officers accused the activists of trying to disrupt public
order after a poster publicizing the event called for thousands to come and
“Purify the site from the enemies of Israel who stole the land, and build the
Third Temple on the ruins of the mosques.” Feiglin denied that Likud activists
made the posters.
Last Sunday protests also broke out in Amman, near the
Israeli Embassy, in reaction to the news of the attempt by Likud members to
visit the Temple Mount.