by Daniel K. Eisenbud
Police say officers responded to rock-throwing by entering Temple Mount area, dispersing mobs with stun grenades.
One day after police closed the Temple Mount to Jews due to threats of imminent Arab rioting, hundreds of Palestinians attacked officers with rocks at the holy site minutes after concluding Friday prayers.
According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, at approximately 12:30 p.m. the group began throwing rocks at police officers stationed there without provocation.
“Police responded immediately by entering the Temple Mount area and dispersed the rioters using only stun grenades in order to prevent injuries,” he said.
Rosenfeld added that seven arrests were made after riot police attempted to quell the violence.
“Luckily there were no injuries to officers,” he said, noting that police had preemptively heightened security in the area upon receiving intelligence that the Arabs intended to riot after praying.
“Security assessments were also quickly made to ensure immediately after the riot to prevent any further disturbances in and around the Old City,” Rosenfeld said.
The violence came one day after police closed the Temple Mount to avert another riot, following numerous anonymous threats from Arabs of probable violence should Jews be permitted to ascend the holy site.
The frequently violent Arab response to Jewish visitation rights to the Temple Mount has a long and contentious history, dating back to when the Wakf Muslim religious trust was given oversight of the holy site following the 1967 War.
Although the Supreme Court upheld Jewish prayer rights there, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship there if they believe such activities will incite a “disturbance to the public order.”
Numerous right-wing Israeli politicians have repeatedly demanded Jewish sovereignty of the area, as well as greater access, to little avail.