Orthodox Jews look out Temple Mount.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Palestinians over the weekend expressed fear that Jerusalem Day celebrations
would turn violent as thousands of Israelis are set to march in various parts of
Palestinians shopkeepers in the Old City rejected instructions
from the police to close down their shops on Jerusalem Day on Sunday.
Palestinian Authority mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, warned
against attacks on Palestinians, especially in the Old City. He also voiced
concern that Jews would try to storm their way into the Temple Mount during
The mufti said that the Israeli authorities would
be held fully responsible for clashes that could erupt between Palestinians and
Israelis during the “provocative” marches, particularly inside the Old
Another senior Islamic religious official, Sheikh Yusef Idais,
warned that Israelis were preparing to perpetrate “massacres” against
Palestinians during Jerusalem Day celebrations.
Idais urged Palestinians
to converge on Jerusalem on Sunday to “confront the extremist settlers.” He said
that in previous years those who took part in celebrations inside the Old City
had chanted “Death to Arabs” and insults against the prophet
Idais predicted that Jerusalem would witness “violent
confrontations” during the celebrations and called on Arab youth in the city to
put up “strong resistance.”
Representatives of the Palestinian merchants
in the city issued a statement in which they said that the purpose of Sunday’s
celebrations was to “make Jerusalem a Jewish city and provoke the feelings of
Muslims and Christians.”
Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Committee for
Defending Silwan, condemned the authorities’ decision to block several roads and
neighborhoods during Jerusalem Day, noting that this would disrupt normal life
and prevent people from going to work and students from attending
Abu Diab said he expected Sunday to be a “dangerous and
difficult” day for Arabs in the city.