Palestinians Attack Israeli Police At Jerusalem Holy Site, Hamas Calls For Religious War

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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Palestinian protestors attacked Israeli police Thursday at the Temple Mount, amid calls from Muslim leaders for a ‘Day of Rage’ over onsite Israeli security measures.

Palestinians hurled rocks and broken glass at Israeli police at the entrance to the Temple Mount, which Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary, according to police spokeswoman Luba Samri in an AP report. The site is the holiest place in Judaism and one of the holiest sites in Islam. Imams and Hamas leaders called for a “Day of Rage” to protest the installation of metal detectors and security cameras at the entrance to the Temple Mount after the July 14 Israeli Arab terrorist attack that killed two Israeli police at the site.

22 Palestinian protestors were injured in the Thursday attack on police and treated by the Palestinian Red Crescent. Police said no officers were injured during the incident.

The attack is the latest manifestation of growing tensions over the Temple Mount since the Israeli Arab terrorist attack. Police initially closed the holy site for an investigation that led them to believe that members of the Jordanian Waqf, the Muslim custodians of the site, aided the terrorists. Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas called for attacks on Israelis, after the closure, in a “religious war.”

The leader of the Waqf, Azzam Khatib, said the Waqf would concede nothing to the Israelis and placed responsibility for the tension solely on Israel, regardless of the terrorist attack that sparked the situation.

“We will never ever accept any changes in the mosque, and Israel has to put an end to this crisis by removing the metal detectors,” Khatib said.

The Waqf refused to ascend the Temple Mount after the installation of the metal detectors and security cameras. Imams and Palestinian leaders encouraged Israeli Arabs to take to the streets with demonstrations in Jerusalem, Samaria, and Judea. Palestinians responded by rioting in the streets of Jerusalem Monday evening to Tuesday morning. Police closed The Temple Mount to Jewish visitors Wednesday after two incidents of open Jewish prayer at the site, which violated the visitation rules for Jews.

That closure did not abate Islamic fury over the security measures, however, as Muslim leaders called for mass Friday protests at the site.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan predictably sided with the Waqf, and demanded that Israel remove the security measures. Erdogan has made statements calling Israeli sovereignty an insult to Palestinians and to the Muslim world.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been in negotiations with Jordan to find a solution that will ease the tension over the Temple Mount, according to AP. The White House also urged Netanyahu to solve the crisis.

Israeli politicians pressured Netanyahu not to concede to demands to take down the security measures and warned that doing so would put visitors to site at great risk.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, said that removing the security measures “will damage Israel’s power of deterrence and will endanger the lives of the visitors, the worshippers, and the police officers.”

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