Palestinian protesters on Temple Mount 370.
(photo credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters)
Two police officers sustained light injuries Sunday morning upon opening the Temple Mount’s Mughrabi Gate entrance for visitation, when a throng of Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at them.
According to police, the violence began shortly before 8 a.m. when two petrol bombs and a barrage of rocks were hurled at the officers without provocation.
“Riot control units were promptly dispersed to the Temple Mount, where non-lethal stun grenades were used to disperse the rioters,” said Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld shortly after the incident.
Rosenfeld said the two officers were treated at an area hospital, and have since been released. At least two arrests were made before the holy site was temporary closed down, he added.
“Security assessments were made following the incident and it was decided to limit visitation to prevent any further disruptions,” said Rosenfeld.
The contested holy site was opened later Sunday afternoon for restrictive visitation to avert more violence, he said.
Last month, Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and a group of right-wing activists were besieged by hundreds of Arab youths incensed by the politician’s visit to the Temple Mount, forcing police to remove him and his guests for their own safety.
In February, Feiglin initiated what may be the first Knesset hearing over reclaiming Jewish sovereignty of the site.
The frequently violent Arab response to Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount has a history dating back to when the Wakf Muslim religious trust was given oversight following the Six Day War in 1967.
Although the Supreme Court upheld Jewish prayer rights there, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship if it believes such activity will incite a “disturbance to public order.”
Right-wing and some mainstream Israeli politicians and activists continue to demand that the government assert control over the area and allow greater access to members of all religions.