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Police clash with Palestinians on Temple Mount as Jews visit during Shavuot holiday

Rioters barricade themselves in Al-Aqsa Mosque, throw stones at officers as Jewish groups tour flashpoint compound; no injuries or arrests reported

Israeli police officers scuffle with Palestinians on the Temple Mount, June 5, 2022. (Screenshot)
Israeli police officers scuffle with Palestinians on the Temple Mount, June 5, 2022. (Screenshot)

Police scuffled with Palestinians on Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount holy site on Sunday morning as Jews toured the compound during the Shavuot holiday.

Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the compound’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and threw stones at police in response to the visits. There were no reports of injuries or arrests in the incident.

Footage from the scene showed officers outside the mosque doors, while Palestinians barricaded inside threw stones out of windows and chanted “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great.”

Other videos showed a small group of Jews walking through the plaza surrounded by police, with Palestinians trailing the Jewish group holding Palestinian flags and shouting.

The visits by Jewish groups continued as usual under police protection, Hebrew media reported.

The Temple Mount — which also houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque — is administered by the Waqf, a religious trust run and funded by Jordan. The site is the holiest place for Jews, as the site of the biblical temples, and Al-Aqsa is the third holiest shrine in Islam, turning the area into a major flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

 

Under an increasingly frayed arrangement known as the status quo, Jews are generally allowed to visit the Temple Mount during limited hours, but not pray there or perform other acts of worship that can be seen as a provocation to Muslims.

National-religious Orthodox Jewish activists have increasingly pushed to allow Jewish prayer on the site, which was once a fringe view, and public opinion has begun to shift in that direction. A poll released late last month found that half of Jewish Israelis supported allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, with most of the respondents who supported that position saying they held the view “because it is proof of Israel’s sovereignty” over the site.

Late last month, a record number of Jews visited the Temple Mount to mark Jerusalem Day, prompting rebukes from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. According to the Israel Police, some 2,600 Jews were granted entry to the holy site in groups of 40-50.

Jerusalem Day is a national holiday marking Israel’s conquest of the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, but is now celebrated mostly by national-religious Jews. The holiday’s contentious Flag March, which goes through Palestinian areas of the Old City, is seen by opponents as a major provocation.

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