After a day of relatively few incidents concerning the building project and archeological digs around the ramp leading to the Temple Mount's Mughrabi Gate, violent protest picked up Monday, with a number of passers-by wounded in several stone-throwing incidents around the capital. Meanwhile, as the standoff continued between the government and Arab leadership, one of the leading Muslim protesters was indicted in a Jerusalem court on charges of attacking a police officer and of participating in a riot.
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The leader of the Islamic Movement's Northern Front, Sheikh Raed Salah and four additional Israeli Arabs were indicted in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Monday afternoon on charges stemming from an unlicensed protest held near the Dung Gate last Wednesday against the work near the Mughrabi Gate.
Police said that Salah, who is no stranger to prison for his political activities, approached a border policeman stationed near the gate, yelling that the policeman was a racist and a murderer, and spat in his face. Salah also allegedly encouraged the group of protesters to sit in the street and cause a public disturbance.
Following that incident, Salah was served with a restraining order barring him from coming within 60 meters of the Old City walls. But in the hearing Monday, the police asked that one of the conditions for their release be a restraining order barring the sheikh from coming within 150 meters of the Old City walls. That restraining order will stay in effect for 60 days.
It is not clear whether that order will have any effect on a massive demonstration that Salah said he is planning to coincide with the Friday prayers this week. Police have not yet said that they have received a request to hold a licensed protest, but added that any request would be considered, although no protest march will be permitted within the Temple Mount compound itself.
Violence increased after Sunday's relative lull. MDA teams were called to the Mount of Olives during the morning rush hour after vehicles with Israeli license plates were pelted by rocks thrown by east Jerusalem residents. Two Israelis were injured in the barrage. One of the victims was evacuated to the Hadassah-University Hospital at Mount Scopus for treatment, while the other was treated on the scene.
About an hour later on the Tunnel Road south of the city, a tragedy was averted when passers-by noted a suspicious package placed near the entrance to the southern tunnel on the southbound lanes. The road was closed to traffic while police bomb squads were dispatched to the scene. The sappers discovered that the package contained a small but functional pipe bomb.
Less than two hours later, Border Police officers near Rachel's Tomb apprehended three 17-year-old Bethlehem residents who threw rocks at a Border Police patrol. Upon searching the area where the youths had hidden, the troops discovered a knife, bullets, a mask and an Islamic Movement scarf.
Under questioning, the youths explained that they had come from Bethlehem to attack the Border Police that they knew were stationed in the area. The three were taken for questioning.
While that incident was underway, two similar ones, both involving east Jerusalem youth, occurred in two different neighborhoods. In Jabel Mukaber, Arab youths threw rocks at the local police station. Police dispersed them using stun grenades, but one border policewoman was lightly injured in her hand after being hit by a rock. Two suspects were arrested and the border policewoman was taken for treatment at Shaare Zedek Hospital.
At almost exactly the same time, a few kilometers away, a group of high school students threw rocks at passing police officers in A-Tur. Police dispersed them with stun grenades and arrested three of the students.
Just when the violent confrontations seemed to be dying down with the sunset, an Egged bus came under attack by stone-throwers just downhill from the Hebrew University campus at Mount Scopus. Three windows of the public bus, which was en route to Ma'aleh Adumim, were broken, and one passenger was injured.