US calls for Israeli, Palestinian restraint in Jerusalem after clashes

State Department expresses concern over escalating tensions around Temple Mount after clashes between Palestinian rioters, Israeli security forces.

September 14, 2015 21:55
2 minute read.
Border Police officers patrol Temple Mount area

Border Police officers patrol Temple Mount. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON - The US State Department on Monday voiced concern about violence at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem in light of recent tensions over the Jewish New Year between Palestinians and Israelis .

"The United States is deeply concerned by the increase in violence and escalating tensions surrounding the (al-)Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, referring to the contested holy site.

"We strongly condemn all acts of violence. It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount."

Earlier on Monday, clashes occurred at the site for a second day in a row. An Israeli police officer on Jerusalem's Temple Mount was injured by two stone-throwing youth as police prepared the site for Jewish visitors for the Jewish New Year.

Police arrested three Palestinian who had thrown rocks and iron bars at officers

Following the disturbances, quiet was restored to the premises and Jewish visitors and tourists began to enter the site. Police said that around 500 people visited on Monday morning.

Jordan's King Abdullah warned Israel on Monday that any further "provocation" in Jerusalem  would damage ties between the two countries, AFP reported. 

"Any more provocation in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel," Abdullah said. Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994. 

"Jordan will not have a choice but to take actions, unfortunately," he said at a press conference in Amman with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. 

The Jordanian government condemned Israel on Sunday for what it terms as the "storming" of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City.

On the eve of the Jewish New Year Sunday, Palestinian rioters clashed with Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount.

Police raided the plaza outside al-Aksa Mosque in what they said was a bid to head off Palestinian attempts to disrupt visits by Jews and foreign tourists on the eve of the Jewish New Year.

The Palestinian youths, Israeli police said in a statement, had intended "to disrupt the routine of visits to the Temple Mount on the eve of Rosh Hashana", the Jewish New Year, which began at sunset on Sunday.

Police used tear gas and threw stun grenades towards the Palestinian youths, who barricaded themselves inside the mosque and hurled rocks and flares, a Reuters witness said.

Noam Amir/Maariv Hashavua contributed to this report.

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