Palestinians, U.S. Jews spar over 'Judaizing' Jerusalem
As clashes flare in Shoafat, Ramallah, Temple Mount, PA vows to 'confront' Israel's plans in Jerusalem.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority on Monday urged the world to "force [Israel] to put off its attempts to take over Jerusalem and Judaize it," prompting Orthodox Jews in the United States to vow never to give up their historical right to the ancient city.
The Palestinian cabinet, issuing a strong statement after a meeting in the West Bank town of Ramallah, condemned what it called a plan by Jews to "perform religious rituals" in the Temple Mount compound which contains the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site.
It also pledged "to confront Israel," as Israeli security forces clashed with Arab protesters for a second day in the Jerusalem area.
In response, the leading body of Orthodox Jews in America condemned the Palestinian Authority and the violence exhibited by Palestinian protesters.
"The Palestinians, determined to deny Jewish history and our connection to our eternal capital of Jerusalem, plotted violence as evidenced by stores of rocks and other materials discovered by the Israeli police," Nathan Diament, director of public policy forthe Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, said in a statement.
"Jerusalem has been at the center of Jewish life and faith for thousands of years. Just days ago, at the close of Yom Kippur, Jews around theworld declared, as we have for thousands of years, the hope and prayer 'Next Year in Jerusalem.'"
"A majority of Jews, in the U.S. and Israel, continue to oppose relinquishing Jewish sovereignty over our eternal capital," he added.
"The enemies of our people recognize this, and seek to deny our history. In the face of all this we reaffirm that 'for the sake of Zion we will not be silent' and we will not allow history to be denied."
Palestinians have warned that the tensions flaring over access to the holy compound housing the al-Aqsa mosque, an area also revered by Jews as the site of an ancient temple, could, on the background of stalled peace talks, ignite a third uprising.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has conditionally agreed to a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but peace talks have remained stalled for months despite U.S. efforts to revive them, over Israel's refusal to halt settlement construction.
Violence in Jerusalem flared on Sunday after Israel briefly shut gates leading to the compound around al-Aqsa, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, citing concerns for possible violence as hundreds of Jews held holiday prayers at the adjacent Western Wall.
The gates were partly reopened once calm was restored after stone-throwing protests by Palestinians in anger at being kept from reaching the holy site. There was no violence in the area on Monday when thousands of Jews worshipped at the Western Wall.