Israel Arrests 33 in East Jerusalem Over Temple Mount Riots

Police say they have arrested 'the core group' of rioters involved in clashes at the Temple Mount over the past two weeks

Palestinians shout slogans during a protest over the new security measures at the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 20, 2017.
RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

Dozens of Israel Police and Border Guard officers raided homes in East Jerusalem on Sunday night and arrested 33 people, including seven minors, on suspicion of involvement in violent clashes related to the Temple Mount crisis the past two weeks. The suspects were taken for interrogation.

The police carried out the raids in the neighborhoods of Tur, Shuafat, Beit Hanina, Wadi Joz, Ras al-Amud, Isawiya and the Old City. The youngest of the minors arrested was 13. At the end of their interrogations, the detainees will be brought to hearings to have their remands extended.

The police said that during the protests, dozens of people blocked roads and threw Molotov cocktails, stones and other objects.

"We arrested the core group of rioters who took an active part in the violent riots directed against the security forces," the Israel Police commented.

"As an Israeli, it is worrying that the police continue to behave in the same aggressive ways that recently failed so badly on Temple Mount," said Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at Ir-Amim. "The mass arrests that occur regularly for Jewish holidays, such as Tisha B'Av, are another example of trampling basic Palestinian rights. They buttress Palestinian claims that the Temple movements, which aspire to profoundly change the situation on the Temple Mount, enjoy the protection of the police."

On July 14, three Israeli Arabs killed two Border Police officers in an attack at the Temple Mount. The next day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered metal detectors installed at the site, at the recommendation of Israel Police, as a security measure to prevent similar attacks.

However, Muslim worshippers refused to pass through the metal detectors, praying outside the entrances. Violent clashes erupted, wherein three Palestinians were killed. Israeli authorities ended up removing the metal detectors and security cameras, and the Palestinians announced that the status quo was restored.