Update on Al-Aqsa unrest

Just a quick update with what’s been happening today on the Temple Mount and Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa.

Last night, as the cabinet discussed the measures to be taken on the Temple Mount, the Arabs continued to riot violence, leaving 42 Arabs and 5 policemen injured:

Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Palestinians threw rocks and glass bottles at the officers outside the Old City’s Lions Gate following evening prayers. Police responded with tear gas and riot dispersal methods. Samri said 5 officers were hurt.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that 36 of the protesters were taken to the hospital for treatment. Two of them were in serious condition after being hit by rubber bullets.

As I mentioned last night, Israelis were worried that our government would cave in to pressure to remove the metal detectors at the entrance to Al-Aqsa. Thankfully, the cabinet did NOT surrender.

The Political-Security Cabinet decided on Thursday night, after a four-hour meeting, that the magnetometers will remain at the entrance to the Temple Mount as part of the new security measures at the compound. The decision was taken the evening before the Friday prayerrs at the site, when large numbers of Muslims ascend the Mount..

The Cabinet also authorized the police to make every decision “in order to ensure free access to the holy places, while maintaining security and public order” on the Temple Mount.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy sites. Israel is committed to protecting the safety of all worshipers and visitors to the Temple Mount,” said a statement.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Channel 2 News in an interview that the metal detectors must remain on the Temple Mount because “the security interest in preventing future attacks in the wake of a desire to imitate what happened [last week] has to prevail.”

“We must continue to install them (the metal detectors) on all roads to the Temple Mount. If the Shin Bet is opposed to the security measures, then it should offer alternatives, and that did not happen.”

They also instructed to prevent under-50 year old men from entering the Mosque. Yisrael Katz, Likud Minister for Transportation, said “we won’t concede our sovereignty on the Temple Mount“.

Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), who serves as a member of Israel’s Secrity Cabinet, on Friday said that the Cabinet decided to keep magnetometers on the Temple Mount and did not leave the decision up to the police.

“The Temple Mount is in our hands,” Katz said, quoting the soldiers who liberated Jerusalem’s Old City during the Six Day War. “We will not cede sovereignty. The State of Israel is responsible for preserving law and order on the Temple Mount.””Contrary to reports, the Security Cabinet decided to continue using every security precaution which was begun immediately following the despicable terror attack, including the use of metal detectors. The State of Israel is responsible for implementing this policy.”

Earlier on Friday, Israel Police announced that entry to the Old City and the Temple Mount would be closed to men below the age of 50, and that private vehicles would not be allowed to enter the Old City or the nearby Sultan Suleiman Street.

The police also closed certain roads around the Old City area:

Following internal police consultations on Friday morning, Jerusalem Police chief Yoram Halevy ordered the continued operation of the metal detectors and restricted entry to young men, allowing only those over 50 or women of any age to enter the Old City.

Muslim worshipers perform noon prayers by the Lions Gate, outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, July 20, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Checkpoints at the entrances to Jerusalem will also be bolstered, as well as police patrols in the alleyways of the Old City and on paths taken by Jewish and Muslim worshipers to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.

Police also announced that some roads around the Old City will be closed to vehicles, including Sultan Suleiman Street and various circumference roads in the Old City basin.

Halevy issued a special notice to officers posted at the metal detectors “emphasizing the importance of ensuring the dignity of the worshipers” as they pass through the gates.

UPDATE and Edit: It is important to note that the request for metal detectors emanated from the police. The Shin Bet and IDF objected to them because they might incite more violence and they prefer to “keep the peace”. directive emanated from the government to the police. If the choice had been left up to the police themselves, they might well have removed the magnetometers simply in order to “keep the peace”. This is certainly a short-term measure but that is how the police operate if left to their own devices. But they would not act against government directives. “Keeping the peace” is a short-term solution which will never last.

This is the way the government should act also regarding Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount – they should instruct the police to permit it, and it is up to the police then to enforce those rights.

In protest, the Mufti of Jerusalem called on Muslims to pray outside the Mosque rather than go through the security gates. I’m pretty sure that suits us all fine. It leaves the Temple Mount free for the Jews, and the Muslims can pray wherever they want.

Muslims pray outside Al-Aqsa, pointing their backsides towards the mosque

A win-win situation for all, as long as the Muslims stop their rioting.

I will update here if there is any more news before Shabbat.

UPDATE: 3 Palestinians killed, 200 injured in further riots.

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8 Responses to Update on Al-Aqsa unrest

  1. Actually the news reported that the police wanted the metal detectors it was the IDF and Shin Bet that wanted them removed. I am glad that the Cabinet did not give in to this blackmail. Can you imagine what they would do if they thought they could riot their way to what they want. Let them not come to the Temple Mount. Let them cede it back to the Jews, as it should have been after 1967.

    This is also the Islamists and a power play between Hamas and Abbas. But somehow the jews get caught in the middle of their crap.

    Kol Hakavode to the Jerusalem police and the municipal authority.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for the correction. I can’t understand the Shin Bet who wanted them removed. My mind boggles. Thank goodness better sense prevailed.

      As you said, if those extremists don’t want to pray there after going through security let them stay away! It might solve all our problems at the site.

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  3. Reality says:

    I was sure either the police or cabinet would give in.Everyone is so frightened of days of rage and riots,but this time finally some sense has prevailed.Let them rage,and riot,they do anyway without any excuse.And if the Har Habayit was so holy to them,they would pray there with or without magnetometers,just like we do at the Kotel.Its about time we stood up to their violent threats.

    • anneinpt says:

      I was also not 100% sure that Bibi would stand up to the pressure. The cabinet as a whole is stronger I think, but he has the last word as PM.

      As you say, the Muslims find any excuse to riot, and if they haven’t got one they’ll invent one. And if we can daven after going through security – outside Israel we have to go through heave security outside ordinary synagogues! – then they can too.

      It’s way beyond time we exerted our sovereignty there.

      • Earl says:

        Precisely 50 years beyond time. Eshkol and Dayan should have razed that mosque forthwith.

        But, yes- nice to see Bibi has seemingly grown a spine since Trump became POTUS. Credit, of course, always to Hotolevy, Lieberman, Bennet, Shaked…

        • anneinpt says:

          I can’t figure out if Bibi has grown a spine or was simply outvoted by the police. I mistakenly thought it was the police who didn’t want the metal detectors but I was wrong. It was the Shin Bet and the army (!) who thought they shouldn’t be installed – they were worried about the Arab reaction. But the police insisted, and they are the ones on the direct front lines.

          I do NOT understand the Shin Bet or army. Any whiff of weakness is exploited by the Arabs. Surely we should have learned that over the last 100 years?

          And last night there was another gruesome murder of 3 Israelis in their home in Samaria (see my next post). What was that about incitement?

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