Jews, Muslims Clash at Holy Site on Sunday as Each Side Fears Losing Historical Compound

  • Clashes occurred at the holy site of Temple Mount on Sunday as it’s referred to by Jews or the Noble Sanctuary as Muslims call it as Jewish and Muslim holidays overlapped, prompting both groups to visit the site.
  • According to reports, “tens of thousands of Muslims flocked to the site to mark the start of Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holiday honoring the time God stayed Abraham’s hand after asking him to sacrifice his son.”
  • Additionally, “hundreds of Israeli religious nationalists also showed up in observance of Ninth of Av, when Jews mourn the destruction of the temples and other historical calamities.”
  • Ahead of the clashes, “rumors circulated that Israeli police would allow Jews to visit the hilltop compound during Muslim prayers,” which “appeared to many Palestinians that Israel was further chipping away at their claims to the site.”
  • Demonstrators soon gathered at the gates to the holy site and began throwing rocks at the police. However, after push-back from right-wing Israeli leaders, “the police reversed an earlier decision to bar the Jewish visitors and let them in, as stun grenades echoed and tear gas filled the air.”
  • The site has long been a source of tension between the two groups, but tensions are heightened as the Israeli election is coming up next month.
  • Tensions are so high in the current climate that “even the smallest perceived changes to the status of the site — the emotional and symbolic center of the decades-old conflict — can spark violence.”
  • Currently, “the hilltop shrine is managed by an Islamic trust under Jordanian stewardship, and day-to-day affairs are governed by informal understandings with Israel known as the status quo.”
  • Despite the agreement, “Palestinians fear any erosion of the status quo could lead to an Israeli takeover or partition of the site.”
  • Under current rules, “Jews are allowed to visit the compound during certain times but are forbidden to pray there.”
  • With the latest clashes, “Israel’s decision to allow Jewish worshippers into the holy site was slammed by Jordan, as well as by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iran, all of which decried Israel’s violating the sanctity of Al-Aqsa.”
  • United Right member Bezalel Smotrich criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and tweeted: “Closing the Temple Mount to Jews on Tisha B’Av is a disgraceful and shameful act that reminds us of why we are fasting today. The decision to capitulate to terrorism and Arab violence in Judaism’s holiest place is why Israel is losing its deterrence in other sectors as well.”

Reference Links

  • AP: Clashes undermine fragile truce over Jerusalem holy site READ
  • Haaretz: Analysis // Temple Mount Clashes: Israeli, Palestinian Extremists Win Latest Round of Arm Twisting READ
  • Israel Hayom: PM rejects criticism over Temple Mount policies READ

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