Clashes Erupt on Temple Mount as Jews Mark Jerusalem Day in Final Days of Ramadan

Palestinians hurl stones as some 120 Jews enter the holy site ■ Tens of thousands of religious Zionist youth march in annual parade

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Police forces on Temple Mount as Jews mark Jerusalem Day, Jerusalem, Israel, June 2, 2019.
Police forces on Temple Mount as Jews mark Jerusalem Day, Jerusalem, Israel, June 2, 2019. Credit: Israel Police

Tens of thousands of religious Zionist youths participated in the annual flag parade to celebrate Jerusalem Day on Sunday following clashes between Palestinians and Jews on Temple Mount.

Israel Police entered the Temple Mount compound earlier in the day in response to tension over the police's decision to allow the latter access to the compound on Jerusalem Day.

Police said hundreds of Palestinians were protesting as a result of Jews entering the Mount, hurling stones and chairs at security forces, which are responding with riot-dispersal measures, including rubber-tipped bullets.

Protesters were pushed back toward the Al-Aqsa Mosque Sunday morning, barricading themselves inside while throwing chairs and other objects at the police, who eventually managed to breach the mosque and scatter the riots.

Police then locked the gates to Al-Aqsa Mosque to prevent youths from barricading themselves and throwing stones from inside. The doors to the mosque have been closed since Jews began entering the Temple Mount Sunday morning.

Jews enter Temple Mount on Jerusalem Day, Jerusalem's Old City, Israel, June 2, 2019. Credit: Emil Salman

The violence resumed when Palestinian youths attempted to open the doors.

Several suspects were later arrested including a West Bank resident and a foreigner who continued protesting.

Israel police forces inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem's Old City, Israel, June 2, 2019.

Police officers are deployed on the Mount to allow Jews to enter and hold Jerusalem Day events as planned.

For the first time in 30 years, Jerusalem Day falls on the last three days of Ramadan. Some 120 Jews entered Temple Mount, prompting the Palestinians to hurl stones and other objects at them.

The police have closed the Mount — the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam — to Jews every year for the last 10 days of Ramadan.

Later in the day, the Jerusalem Day march began in the center of the capital and the participants then proceeded in the direction of the Old City and the Western Wall, passing through the Muslim Quarter.

The left-wing Ir Amim nonprofit group petitioned the High Court of Justice asking to prevent the march from passing through the Muslim Quarter, saying it would be offensive to local residents during the last few days of Ramadan, but the petition was denied.

Most of the stores in the Muslim Quarter were closed on Sunday, as on Jerusalem Day in most years, because of the march. Some of the participants sang hate songs as marchers were guarded by police and many streets in the center and eastern part of the city part were closed to traffic.

Some of the marches sang “Zachreni Na" (Remember Me) with words from the Book of Judges about Samson, which includes the words: “May I be avenged for but one of my two eyes, may I be avenged for but one of my two eyes of the Philistines,” replacing "Philistines" with "Palestine."

Jordan's Minister of Islamic Affairs and Holy Sites, Abdul Nasser Musa Abu Al Basal, issued a statement condemning Israel's "aggression against those at prayer," saying it negated international law and etiquette.

Abu Al Basal called on Israel not to intervene in matters pertaining to the mosque and encouraged "peace-seeking nations" to exert pressure on Israel to "cease its provocation."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri released a statement saying that the "forced evacuation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque while attacking the [Palestinian] worshipers severely harms the holy site and constitutes a serious escalation." Hamas added that Israel's aggression towards the mosque and Muslim worshippers proves the Israeli fallacy of freedom of religion and preservation of holy sites.

"This is a moment of truth for the international community and Muslim sages throughout the world," he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Jews are waiting at the Mugrabi Gate, the only place through which non-Muslims may enter the Temple Mount. It is also the point where Israeli security forces enter if there are disturbances on the mount.

On Friday, A 50-year-old man was critically wounded in a suspected stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Old City, and another was lightly wounded, emergency services said.

Israeli police said officers at the scene in Jerusalem shot and killed the suspect, a Palestinian from the West Bank allowed into Israel for the last Friday of Ramadan. The attack occurred in the early morning, around 6:20 A.M., police said.

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