Three Palestinians dead in confrontation at Jerusalem holy site


After the metal detectors were installed in front of shine in Jerusalem, some Palestinian Muslims confronted Israel security forces and as outcome at least three Palestinians are were killed.

Confrontations started occurring on daily basis since detectors were installed in front of Noble Sanctuary for Muslims, or Temple Mount as Jews call it. On Sunday two Israeli policemen were killed.

This shrine includes the golden Dome of the Rock and the third-holiest place in Islam, al Aqsa Mosque, however this is also the place where the ancient Jewish temple, the holiest place in Judaism, used to be

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghannam, age unknown adn Mohammed Sharaf, 17, received critical gunshots in East Jerusalem neighborhood which is not very close to the Old City, original riot spot. Health Ministry later also said that Mohammed Lafi, 18, as also killed.

Although the media reported that an Israeli from the nearby settlement in West Bank killed Sharaf, it is still not confirmed by the authorities. Channel 10 also reported that tear gas killed an eight-year-old boy, but that is too not confirmed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet made a decision to leave the detectors where they are in spite of international demand for it to be removed. He justified this by saying that they need to stay to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.

On Friday thousands of Muslims gathered for prayer at various entrances to the shrine and refused to get in the shrine in protest. They almost completely filled small alleyways in the Muslim quarter of the Old City.

Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein said, “We reject Israeli restrictions at the Aqsa Mosque.”

Palestinian politicians and Muslim leaders called the worshipers to gather on Friday for a “day of rage” and show their dissatisfaction towards the new Israeli policies that are changing agreements that have been made and are governing Jerusalem for a few decades.

As the police had mobilized extra units to secure the place and placed check barriers at the entrances to the Old City, by early afternoon there was not much violence. Shrine was open only for men over 50, but there was no age limit for women. Roadblocks were also placed on some entering roads to Jerusalem to stop the buses which were driving Muslims. Near to the Old City some Muslims tried to break through the police line by throwing stones, but they were stopped using stun grenades.

While the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service reported that 377 Muslims had been injured, Micky Rosenfeld, Israeli police spokesman said only four police officers were hurt in the clashes.

A local businessman who came to pray, Ahmad Abdul Salaam said: “Putting these metal detectors at the entrance to our place of worship is like putting them at the entrance to our house. Are you really going to put me through a metal detector as I go into my house?”

The compound placed on the top of the hill was always a source of religious friction.

Since the Middle East war in 1967 when Israel annexed the Old City it became a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. “This is our place of prayer, we have sovereignty here,” Salaam Tsaid.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogana urged Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to remove the detectors. The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov also called for calm, and White House appealed for resolution. The custodian of the holy site, Jordan is also involved in the mediation.

However Netanyahu’s security cabinet decided in a late night meeting to leave the detectors where they are to secure the complex, after last week’s incident, when tho Israeli policemen were shot by three Arab-Israeli gunmen near the site.

Security cabinet said in a statement: “Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy places.” Statement also said, “The cabinet has authorized the police to take any decision in order to ensure free access to the holy places while maintaining security and public order.”

Beside having to submit ti Israeli security policies, Palestinians are also furious at disruption of the status quo at the Noble Sanctuary.

Muslims are allowed to pray there ever since the Ottoman time, but Jews were only allowed to visit the site.

In the last few years, there have been attempts by nationalist Jews to coma and pray, and although police’s duty is to stop them the do not always do that, and that is angering the Palestinians.

Former Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon triggered riots in 2000 by visiting the place. These riots went on to became second Palestinian intifada. Around 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians died during the four years.