Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat took to Facebook Wednesday morning to fend off accusations, coming mainly from Arab Israelis as well as Muslim organizations in neighboring countries, that Israel should not have placed metal detectors at the entrance to the capital's Temple Mount. "The police's decision to place that magnometers is a correct and necessary decision that will prevent an option for further terror attacks [to be carried out] at the site," he wrote.Barkat's sharply-worded Facebook post comes as Israel braces for a "day of rage" planned by Fatah in protest over the introduction of new security measures into the area. Earlier this week, Fatah encouraged Palestinians to participate in mass protests around main squares of Palestinian cities, and police predict that demonstrators will inevitably attempt to rally up altercations with security forces.
"Today was announced as a 'day of rage' in protest over the placement of metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount. The Mount is a holy place that is meant for prayer and to that end we will maintain the rights of all the worshipers and visitors to the site," the mayor added. "But we won't let any person use the mosque for terror purposes, as the terrorists have done." Barkat's post then turned especially fiery as he took a jab at Palestinian leaders such as Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen, who said Tuesday that the protest was necessary and that "What is happening in Jerusalem today is aimed at attacking al-Aksa Mosque." "Muslim leaders and the whole world have to understand that the Temple Mount can't be used as a refuge or as a planning and meeting point for terrorists and murderers," Barkat charged in his post. The holy site has recently become a hot topic and an issue of contention between the Israeli security establishment and Palestinians following Friday's lethal terror attack at the Temple Mount compound, in which three terrorists killed two border policemen. The terrorists then sought refuge in the Islamic structures at the Mount's compound. "I suggest to the demonstrators to turn their rage at the terrorists who created the need for this [the placement of metal detectors], and not the police," he concluded.
Riots near the Temple Mount (Courtesy)