Jerusalem Police Thwart Arab Riot on the Temple Mount

“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” (Psalm 11:5)

Temple Mount Riots
Palestinians throw stones towards Israeli police during clashes following Friday prayers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound, on December 6, 2013. (Photo: Sliman Khader/Flash 90)

Police in Jerusalem have imposed a limited access ban to Muslims on the Temple Mount Sunday morning. The ban was announced as a result of attempted riots by Arab youth on the Temple Mount on Saturday night.

Five Arab youths were arrested late Saturday night when they were caught attempting to climb the eastern wall of the Temple Mount compound. Police arrested the youth and took them in for questioning. They were found to have teargas in their possession.

The decision to restrict access to the Temple Mount was made by Police Commander Yossi Pariente after several attempted and successful riots on the Temple Mount over the last week.

In one incident last Wednesday, Palestinian youth rioted on the Temple Mount, clashing with Israeli police forces. The rioters threw firecrackers and rocks at police, prompting a complete shutdown of the Temple Mount. On Monday, Hamas activists took over the Temple Mount complex, waving Hamas flags and barring the entry of Jewish visitors on the eve of Passover.

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On Friday, dozens of Arab youth attempted to break through police barriers near the Shalem police station located near the Damascus Gate. Jerusalem police received intelligence that following Friday’s prayers, Arab riots would break out. In anticipation of the riots, Jerusalem police dispatched hundreds of its officers around the Temple Mount.

Pariente announced early Sunday morning that only Muslims with Israeli ID cards would be allowed to enter the Temple Mount. He further stipulated that only men and women over the age of 50 would be allowed access. Israeli security services have deployed extra police units in and around the Old City of Jerusalem.

The announcement is the second time in a one week period in which access to the Temple Mount has been limited to Muslim visitors. On Thursday, the compound was closed to non-Muslim visitors as Muslims rioted in honor of “Prisoners Day,” in which thousands of Arab residents in Judea, Samaria and Gaza demand the release of terrorists from Israeli prison.