Yehuda Glick at Temple Mount..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Following a moratorium on non-Muslim visitation to the Temple Mount last week after dozens of Arabs celebrating Ramadan attacked Jewish groups visiting the contested holy site, police said on Tuesday that regular visiting hours will likely resume next week, after the Muslim festival of Id El Fiter concludes.
Police ordered the suspension last Tuesday, during the final 10 days of the monthlong holiday, following three consecutive days of rioting by Arab youths, resulting in 58 arrests.
The mob threw rocks, chairs and other debris at Jewish visitors, and the officers protecting them.
No serious injuries were reported, although one woman was struck by a rock while praying at the Western Wall.
On Tuesday, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that after the post-Ramadan Muslim festival, which commences on Wednesday and concludes Friday, police intend to reinstate normal visiting hours, pending ongoing security assessments.
Noting that police successfully ensured that tens of thousands of Muslims from across the country observed four weeks of Friday prayers on the Mount without any violence, Rosenfeld said continuing security measures to protect non-Muslim visitors will remain in effect.
“What is taking place over the next few weeks is standard security measures and will be implemented in the Old City to prevent any incidents or terrorist attacks from taking place in Jerusalem, because we have seen a number of recent attacks that have taken place in the Hebron area, as well as in Netanya,” said Rosenfeld.
“So, as far as we’re concerned, the main focus now is to prevent sporadic terrorist attacks from taking place in the Old City, as we’ve seen in previous periods,” he said.
Rosenfeld added that standard security patrols will take place in and around the Temple Mount to ensure there are no incidents of violence against non-Muslim tourists.
“Immediately after the three days of Id El Fiter conclude, security assessments will be made by the Jerusalem District, and regular scheduled visits will continue on the Temple Mount as they did prior to tensions during Ramadan, which police had to respond to,” he said.
“Since the disturbances that took place last week, the Israeli Police have arrested 58 suspects who were involved, and police will continue to search for suspects involved in those disturbances,” he added.
Simultaneously, Rosenfeld said police are working closely with the Wakf Muslim Religious Trust, which oversees the site, to help ensure peace when regular visitation resumes. “Police are talking and coordinating with the Wakf on a regular basis,” he said.
Meanwhile, despite claims by right-wing critics who contended that suspending visitation was a capitulation to terrorism, Rosenfeld said police stand by the decision after intelligence indicated more violence would likely ensue, putting lives at risk.
“It was absolutely necessary to ensure public safety, including for people who were praying at the Western Wall,” he said