Border Police officers patrol Temple Mount.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee authorized the IDF to call up extra Border Patrol reservists in response to the escalation in Jerusalem, on Friday.
“Border Patrol fighters have a rich and successful history of dealing with hostile and violent activity,” Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said. “Stationing Border Patrol troops in the capital will help bring back order quickly.”
The precautionary security ramp-up comes after Palestinian calls for a “day of rage” in Jerusalem following Friday prayers.
Police have preemptively deployed some 800 extra officers to patrol the Old City and Arab neighborhoods throughout the capital, and will bar Muslim men under the age of 40 from ascending the Temple Mount.
The call for violence follows several days of rioting on the Temple Mount after Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon banned the Islamist extremist groups Murabitun and Murabatat from the compound for their constant intimidation of and violence against Jewish visitors.
Following Ya’alon’s order, the PLO Executive Committee held an emergency meeting in Ramallah and called for “confronting Israeli terror schemes” against Islamic holy sites, while Hamas said that the government’s move was tantamount to a “declaration of war.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Thursday that security assessments have been made throughout the week, resulting in the hundreds of extra special patrol, Border Police, and undercover units assigned to protect the capital.
“We can see there are calls from extremists to try to incite riots in Jerusalem, and we will be implementing security measures in different areas to prevent any major incidents from taking place,” said Rosenfeld.
He added that many of the reinforcements will be stationed in and around the Old City to respond to possible rioting on the Temple Mount after Friday prayers conclude, as well as in flashpoint Arab neighborhoods in the capital.
“All police units will continue to make security assessments and respond immediately to any incidents throughout Jerusalem, if necessary,” he said.
On Thursday the Palestinian Authority again rejected Israel’s new measures on the Temple Mount, claiming the Israeli government is seeking to create new facts on the ground in Jerusalem.
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA president’s office in Ramallah, said that the “ongoing Israeli onslaught against the occupied city of Jerusalem, especially the Aksa Mosque, was aimed at creating a new and dangerous reality.”
He said that Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, condemn the recent Israeli measures that followed days of rioting at the Temple Mount and in parts of east Jerusalem.
The PA Ministry of Information accused the Israeli government of “declaring war” on the Palestinians and their holy sites.