Israel on Friday prevented Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah from entering the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where strict security measures have been in place following days of violence.
The ban came as Hamdallah’s convoy was en route to the site, where the al-Aqsa Mosque is situated, the Walla website reported. According to the Ynet news website, Hamdallah was not allowed into Jerusalem at all.
The convoy also included head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service Majed Faraj and head of the Palestinian preventative security services Ziad Hab al-Rieh, Ynet said.
According to Israel Radio, the Palestinian officials had earlier had a formal request to visit the Temple Mount denied, but decided to try to visit anyway.
In an effort to prevent clashes following Friday prayers at the mosque, Israel banned all men under the age of 40 from entering the Temple Mount. Some 200 Palestinians rioted near the Damascus Gate, having been barred from the holy site.
Clashes also broke out at various other points across the capital Friday. Three Border Police officers were wounded when their vehicle was hit by a petrol bomb in the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood early Friday evening. The policemen then fired on the rioters, wounding one person.
In an unusual move, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee convened an emergency session Friday, and okayed the call-up of several hundred Border Police reservists.
The violence began Sunday when police, acting on a tip from the Shin Bet security service, raided the Temple Mount and found pipebombs and other improvised weapons, apparently prepared in advance for an organized riot. Despite Israeli denials, Palestinians are claiming that Israel plans to make changes to the status quo at the Temple Mount, where Jews can visit but are prevented from praying.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas said this week that Israel would not be able to change the status quo.
“Al-Aqsa is ours, the Holy Sepulcher is ours,” Abbas said, referring to the Old City church that Christians believe is the site of Jesus’ crucifixion. “They do not have the right to pollute them with their dirty feet, we do not allow them and we will do everything possible to protect Jerusalem.”