Clashes between Palestinians and Israelis over the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem have put the Middle East region on edge. The latest round of tensions began with the murder of Israeli police officers, Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Hael Sathawi and Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shanan. Sathawi and Shanan were gunned down by Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Jabareen, Mohammed Hamed Abd Al-Latif Jabareen, and Mohammed Ahmed Mafdal Jabareen. All three attackers were Israelis of Arab descent.
Sami Abu Zuhri of Hamas, told the Haaretz, “the attack in Jerusalem is a natural reaction to Israeli terror and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and is proof of the continuing resistance to the occupation and that the Palestinian people are united and supportive of the resistance.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the shooting in the aftermath of the attack. The Israeli response of installing metal detectors at the entrance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque has drawn the ire of adherents of the Muslim religious tradition around the world.
The tensions have become intense throughout the Middle East region. An unprecedented boycott of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount compound has been orchestrated by Muslim religious leaders in Jerusalem.
“We will continue to pray outside the Al-Aqsa mosque as long as the metal detectors are at the gates,” Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Hussein, stated.
This past Friday, protests were ignited in Ankara, Turkey; Sana’a, Yemen; and Amman, Jordan, amongst a host of other places. In East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, the protests turned deadly. Three Palestinians were killed and 300 more were reported wounded during clashes with Israeli security forces.
As a response to the clashes resulting from the installation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount compound, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended all official Palestinian authority communications with Israeli officials.
Jerusalem resident Hashem Abu Diab stated the following.
“The Al Aqsa Mosque is the last place we have in this country. If Al-Aqsa goes, we lose everything. We don’t leave until they remove the metal detectors.”
Government leaders and officials from around the world have remarked with their concerns about the Temple Mount crisis.
“I condemn Israel’s insistence on its position despite all warnings… and the excessive use of force by Israeli forces against our brothers gathered for Friday prayers,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey stated.
Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal wrote the following in the Jordan Times.
“Can the people of Jerusalem — the living, breathing city, not just a city of heritage — ever live in peace without a clear definition of the management of holy space in Jerusalem? This great city, at the heart of the three greatest religions in the world, deserves clarity — for without clarity, we can only expect more pain, more bloodshed, and more unbridled anger. Political definitions of state sovereignty do not change the attitudes of Arabs, Christian and Muslim, and Jews. For them, for us, the issues surrounding Jerusalem are emotional, spiritual — ethereal and legal.”
Analysts are concerned that the current situation in Jerusalem may be leading to more consequential clashes and bloodshed in the greater Middle East region.
[Featured Image by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images]