Jerusalem Riot Cleared By Israeli Police – Holy Week For Many Continues

Riot in Jerusalem?

While not surprising, another unfortunate riot has occurred.

A familiar and sacred site in Jerusalem that Jews call the Temple Mount, and Muslims refer to as the Noble Sanctuary, has once again been stained by violence and a riot.

In a scene all too familiar, Israeli police were forced to break up a protest by Palestinian Muslim worshipers, according to officials.

In an area that is a historical hot spot, tensions were already ratcheted up this week when terrorists murdered an Israeli police officer who was on his way to celebrate the Passover holiday with relatives in the West Bank, and also by another breakdown in peace talks.

A Police spokesman said the Muslim worshipers stood atop the popular Jerusalem site throwing stones and firecrackers. The riot ensued when Israeli police confronted them with tear gas and other “non-lethal means.”

The area of Jerusalem is particularly sensitive and has been the scene of riot after riot since the war of 1967 when Israel seized the area from Jordan, along with the rest of east Jerusalem.

According to Sheikh Azzam Tamimi, who is the head of the Waqf, an Islamic authority that manages the site, worshipers barricaded themselves inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque “to defend” the site from Jewish groups.

While Jews generally pray at the Western Wall, which is below the Temple Mount, the Muslim contingent has grown more and more perturbed at the increasing number of Jews who are going up to the Temple Mount to pray also. These compounding issues form the reason for this most recent Jerusalem riot.

The Temple Mount with the Western Wall below - Among the Holiest of places but also a long time point of religious and political tension.

While Israel permits Jews to ascend to the Temple Mount for visits, Jews are not allowed to actually pray there. And even just these “visits” by Jews start rumors that Israel is going to take over the site, and can spark another rock throwing riot.

Israeli TV stations showed footage of police in riot gear running across the rock-strewn compound.

Protesters inside a barricaded mosque threw whatever they could get their hands on at the riot police.

According to Tamimi, 30 people suffered from tear gas inhalation, were hit by rubber bullets, or both, though none of the injuries appeared to be serious.

Police closed the Temple Mount area following the riot.

Among all the Israeli/Arab conflicted areas of Jerusalem, none stoke more religious passion than the site of Wednesday’s riot.

Muslims believe it is where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven while Jews believe it is where the two Jewish Temples of the Bible stood.

While not directly related to the most recent Jerusalem riot, three Palestinian militant members of Hamas were killed when they mishandled explosives they were working on. Explosives that remind us that, along with riots, Jerusalem also has others concerns.