10/05/2009, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Tension in Jerusalem after clashes at Temple Mount

by Joshua Lapide
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish believers stoned. Yesterday, two incidents of clashes between young Palestinians and Israeli police. Police close mosques to the Muslims under 50 years.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Temple Mount is closed to tourists today after clashes between police and young Palestinians took place yesterday in the vicinity, which ended with injuries and arrests. The tension is growing in the city. This morning, some ultra-Orthodox believers were stoned on the Mount of Olives. Police arrested the leaders and there was no hurt.

Yesterday in the morning and afternoon hundreds of young Palestinians clashed with police hurled stones and bottles, the police responded with stun grenades and water cannons and arrested three people and wounding seven.

The group of Palestinians demanded the reopening of the mount, closed last month by Israeli security forces after several clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police. The demonstrators were protesting against the intrusion of some Jewish believers come to pray on the mount, which they considered a provocation. According to police, the Jews in question were just tourists.

The Temple Mount, the third most holy site in Islam, is located in the old city on the foundations of an ancient Jewish temple. Several groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews claim possession and want to destroy the mosques. At the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur on Sept. 28, some ultra orthodox Jewish groups distributed leaflets calling for a mass visit to the mount. The head of Waqf, the group responsible for the Muslim buildings, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, asked the police to prevent the entry of Jewish groups. In response, the police allowed the entry of a dozen Israeli faithful, causing frustration among the Muslims. This led to clashes with the police, with 30 wounded and the closure of the Mount to Muslims under 50 years.

Yesterday the young Palestinians shouted: "We will give our blood and our soul, we will sacrifice ourselves for Al Aqsa”, demanding respect for their right to enter Temple Mount.

A member of Fatah, Hatem Abdel Qader, was arrested by police and released after several hours, with the obligation not to reside in the old town for 15 days.

To date, thousands of police and soldiers have been stationed in the Old City and around the plateau, while thousands of faithful Jews are free to pray at the Western Wall [the "Wailing Wall"] the base of the Temple Mount.

In September 2000, a "walk" on the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon triggered the Second Intifada.

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