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Tourists Targeted amid Jerusalem Riots

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 11, 2007

Rebecca Anna Stoil and Joshua Brannon

A bus carrying Canadian tourists in east Jerusalem was pelted with stones Saturday in what police described as an organized protest spurred by Hamas. The incident came a day after security forces stormed the Temple Mount to disperse Muslims violently protesting the construction work at the Mughrabi Gate. The Canadian tourists, who were near the Mount of Olives when the bus came under attack, escaped unharmed, after police rushed to the scene to escort the bus to safety. The bus, however, was damaged by the rocks.

Earlier Saturday, teenagers in east Jerusalem ignited large garbage containers just outside the Old City and threw rocks at nearby police while burning an Israeli flag. Three youths were arrested while throwing rocks at police near the bus terminal on Sultan Suleiman Street, across the street from Damascus Gate. Six masked assailants were arrested after throwing rocks at police near the Flower Gate. The six were caught on film by security video cameras. Jerusalem police chief Ilan Franco said the Saturday events seemed to indicate a "specific organization" that pointed to Hamas's instigation of the acts of public disorder that began early last week but reached a peak following the Friday prayers at the Temple Mount.

Some 2,700 police were stationed throughout Jerusalem Friday in order to maintain order in advance of and following the prayers at the holy site. Although entrance to the Temple Mount was restricted to Muslim-Israeli men over the age of 45 and Muslim-Israeli women of all ages, protests broke out immediately following the prayer service, with participants throwing rocks.

Worshipers were evacuated from the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount to avoid harm. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police only entered the Temple Mount after youth who had managed to sneak into the compound began throwing rocks, following firey anti-Israel sermons broadcast on speakers across the courtyard. According to Rosenfeld, 200 police officers entered through the compound's gates, and after being met by a hail of stones, fired stun grenades and used batons to disperse the protesters.

Approximately 150 protesters entered Al-Aksa Mosque itself, but police said they refrained from entering the mosque due to religious sensitivity, as Muslims consider it their third-holiest site. The standoff ended following negotiations between police and leaders of the Muslim community, including MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab List).

Throughout the day, a total of 15 police officers and 18 protestors were wounded in the scuffle, both on the Temple Mount and in Old City streets leading to its gates.

Youths threw rocks at police forces near a number of the gates leading to the Old City. After the melee at the Temple Mount, a group of protesters launched what police described as a "massive" hail of rocks, iron rods and even a petrol bomb toward police officers who were positioned at the Lions' Gate, outside of the Temple Mount compound. Police said that, in general, the amount of planning in anticipation of Friday's incidents allowed police to offer an organized response and prevent further conflagrations. Police were fully outfitted with riot gear, which studies have proven to reduce police violence.

Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi personally reviewed the police preparations for the Friday prayers. He began by visiting the police stationed near the Temple Mount, where he held an on-site situation assessment with Franco. Then he instructed Police Operations Commander Bertie Ohayon to increase the number of police in the Northern District, in advance of a protest scheduled in Nazareth later in the afternoon. After less than two hours at the Temple Mount, Karadi flew by helicopter to Nazareth, to oversee preparations for the march planned there by the Northern Front of the Islamic Movement. Police estimate that 5,000 marchers attended the protest, which ended peacefully.

But the Arab Higher Committee said Saturday that Friday's protests did not represent the end of the struggle against the archaeological dig and rebuilding of the ramp leading to the Mughrabi Gate. The organization held the second emergency meeting in a week over the weekend, and said that they planned to call on the UN to force Israel to halt construction on the site.

Protests also took place on Friday in Tulkarm and Jenin and at the Kalandiya border crossing and on Saturday, dozens of Palestinians threw stones at troops in Bethlehem. The IDF said that 30 Palestinians were arrested.

High Alert in Jerusalem as Arab Leadership Plans More Rioting

reprinted from Arutz 7
08:34 Feb 11, '07 / 23 Shevat 5767

by Gil Ronen

A state of high alert was declared this morning on the Temple Mount, as renovation work at Rambam Gate (or Mughrabim Gate) continues.

Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky said he was "worried about the city's situation and hoped there would not be further deterioration," a reference to the riots by Muslim worshippers Friday at the nearby Al-Aksa mosque. Lupoliansky invited the head of the Muslim Waqf, Adnan Husseini, to meet with him and try to defuse the tension.

Sheikh Raed Salah, who heads the northern wing of the Islamic Movement, said that he intends to erect a protest tent near the Old City, which he is currently forbidden from entering by virtue of a restraining order.

The Supreme Supervision Committee of Israel's Arabs announced Saturday that it does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the site of the Al-Aksa mosque and sees East Jerusalem as occupied territory. The committee includes representatives from most factions and organizations in the Israeli Arab sector, held a special session to discuss the renovation work being done near the Rambam Gate.

The group decided at Saturday's meeting to organize a demonstration of Israeli Arabs at the Al Aksa mosque next week. In addition, it was decided that Israeli Arab leaders would hold a protest session Monday in front of the Rambam Gate and meet with the Muslim Waqf officials responsible for the mosque.

The committee called upon Arab schools to organize field trips for children to Al Aksa, so they can "be appraised of the situation," and to set aside two hours of the weekly school schedule for discussing the matter. Additional activities are planned in Arab villages and cities throughout Israel.

The committee intends to send letters to foreign embassies demanding they interceded with Israel regarding the work being done at Rambam Gate. It also intends to meet regularly to follow up on the situation at the Gate.

The committee's leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, charged that "the Zionist establishment is carrying out terrorist acts in Al Aksa." Committee member Knesset Member Hana Sweid also claimed that the Olmert government is trying to "Judaize" the areas adjacent to Al Aksa by buying land and apartments, and building a synagogue.

Government to Discuss Temple Mount Repairs

reprinted from Arutz 7
05:57 Feb 11, '07 / 23 Shevat 5767

( The government will discuss the repairs to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate on Sunday. Many Muslim leaders have protested the repairs, which are intended to strengthen the walkway to the main Temple Mount entrance.

Violent protests against the repairs took place on Friday, and sporadic violence continued over the weekend. The Muslim leaders who called for the protests claim that Israel is actually attempting to topple the mosques located on the Mount.

A council of Israeli Arabs, including Arab Members of Knesset, turned to international sources and requested that they intervene to stop the repairs. The group also asked foreign ambassadors in Israel to pressure the government in the matter. Group leaders plan to meet with Muslim Religious Trust (Waqf) leaders on Monday.

Canadian Tour Bus Stoned in Jerusalem

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 10, 2007 staff, Joshua Brannon, and AP

19 Palestinians - mostly teenagers - were arrested on Saturday after they threw rocks at Israeli police and attacked a Canadian tourist bus in a new wave of protests against ongoing Israeli construction near the Temple Mount compound.

The violence came a day after police stormed the disputed compound in Jerusalem's Old City, using tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Muslims, who rioted after Friday prayers. Protests against the construction have spread throughout the Muslim world, where demonstrators accused Israel of plotting to harm Islamic shrines.

Earlier, Palestinian teenagers set large garbage containers on fire in the streets of east Jerusalem just outside the Old City and threw rocks at police gathered nearby. Some of the rocks smashed the windows of cars parked on the side of the road. They also lit an Israeli flag on fire.

The police, some on horseback and others in riot gear, responded by firing tear gas to disperse the protesters. Angry Palestinians also pelted a bus carrying vacationing Canadians on a tour of the Mount of Olives holy site in east Jerusalem.

"We were just driving and all of a sudden a bunch of kids started picking up rocks and whatever they could get their hands on and started throwing it at the bus," said tourist Dave Wood. "This is our first day in the Holy City and it was quite disturbing to say the least."

A police station in east Jerusalem was also stoned, said Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby. No one was injured in the incidents Saturday, he said.

"We expect during today there will be some more (protests)," Ben Ruby said.

Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter told Israel Radio on Saturday that Israel would disprove the Arab propaganda that seeks to convince the world that the al-Aksa Mosque is in danger because of renovations being done outside the Mughrabi Gate into the Temple Mount compound.

Dichter said police entered the compound on Friday in order to prevent rocks from being thrown into the Western Wall Jewish prayer area below, something he said was "crossing a red line" and would not be tolerated. On Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah II joined leaders in Egypt and Indonesia in condemning what he called Israel's "violations" against protestors at Jerusalem's Temple Mount compound, and he warned such practices would only enhance violence and place "obstacles" in the path of peace.

"Jordan will push ahead with Arab and Islamic contacts as well as on the international level to ensure that Israel halts such deeds, which only lead to the expansion of the violence cycle and places obstacles versus efforts aimed at re-launching the peace process," Abdullah told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a telephone conversation, a royal court statement said.

"The King expressed concerns over the dangerous Israeli escalation against the Islamic holy places and rejected all pretexts cited by Israel as a cover-up for its violations of al-Aksa Mosque," it added.

Abdullah's comments came after some 300 Muslim worshippers who had barricaded themselves inside al-Aksa Mosque amid violent scenes on Jerusalem's Temple Mount left the holy site on Friday afternoon.

Fifteen policemen were wounded in fierce clashes with Muslim worshippers who attacked police with Molotov cocktails, rocks and glass bottles on and around the Mount, while the Western Wall was evacuated to ensure the safety of Jewish worshippers.

Hundreds were protesting against the restricted access to Friday afternoon prayers at al-Aksa Mosque imposed by Israel amid fears of unrest over the excavation work near the Temple Mount.

Some 200 policemen streamed onto the Temple Mount compound to try to quell the violence, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Police fired stun grenades and 17 arrests were made. 18 Muslim rioters were wounded in the scuffles. Rosenfeld told reporters Friday that 200 police entered the mosque compound after noon prayers on Friday but denies allegations that they entered the compound while prayers were going on. According to Rosenfeld, police only reacted after the end of prayers and accompanying "inciteful" sermons rhetoric when they were confronted by a bombardment of stones by youth.

He added that the violence was incited during the afternoon prayers and that up to 150 youth ran inside the mosque during the clashes. There was a dialogue, he said, between Jerusalem District Police and the representatives of the Muslim community that aided in eventually dispersing the Muslim youth.

Rosenfeld claimed that police only used batons and stun-grenades to disperse protesters and denies the use of rubber bullets in the clashes.

Arabs protests also took place in the West Bank towns of Tulkarm and Jenin and at the Kalandiya border crossing, as well as in the Israeli-Arab town of Nazareth in northern Israel. By Friday evening protests in Nazareth came to an end.

Jordan Islamists Threaten Abdullah Over Mugrabi Project

reprinted from Arutz 7
22:38 Feb 10, '07 / 22 Shevat 5767

( Islamists in Jordan over the weekend called for a jihad to "save the Al Aqsa mosque," and vowed revolt against their Arab rulers if they do not take steps to make Israel halt its reconstruction project of the Mugrabi Gate bridge.

The committee of Muslim scholars in Jordan's largest political opposition group, the Islamic Action Front, or IAF, said in a statement that they "urge ... proclaiming jihad to liberate Al Aqsa and save it from destruction and sabotage from Jewish usurpers." If not, they said, they would turn their anger against the Arab regimes that did not take action against Israel - starting with Jordan's King Abdullah, they said.

Rioters Leaving Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
14:17 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( The rioters who had been shut up inside the Al Aksa mosque on the Temple mount are now leaving the Mount, after an agreement between them and the police was brokered by MK Taleb a-Sana. A-Sana promised Jerusalem Police Chief Franco that the evacuation would take place quietly.

The police made it clear that if rock throwing resumed, the police would use force to disperse the rioters.

Six Lightly Injured in Temple Mount Riot

reprinted from Arutz 7
14:15 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( Six people - three policemen and three Arabs - have been treated for light injuries suffered in the Temple Mount rioting, according to Israel's medical emergency service, Magen David Adom. The policemen were evacuated to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, and the Arabs to Hadassah Hospital on Har Hatzofim (Mount Scopus).

The Temple Mount is Judaism's most holy site. The al-aska mosque is a monument to Islamic imperialism and occupation. The Waqf has been destorying Jewish artifacts and engaged in illegal building and excavation for years. ITheir authority should have been curtailed in 1967 but Dayan in his wisdom simply handed the key to the Wafq and said 'keep up the good work'. Dayan did not comprehend the meaning of the destroyed synagogues and Jewish cemetaries under Arab occupation. Today we pay the price.

Muslim Riot on Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
13:41 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

by Ezra HaLevi

Arabs rioted Friday on and around the Temple Mount, wounding police officers and causing the evacuation of the Western Wall prayer plaza.

Stones were thrown at worshipers and police Friday, despite the decision to limit entry to the Temple Mount to Muslims over the age of 45. Three police officers were wounded by rioters.

Young rioters pelted police with stones and then took cover inside the Al-Aksa Mosque. Security sources said the youths had probably holed up inside the mosque earlier this week, and waited for Friday to begin rioting. Police refrained from entering the mosque due to concerns that it would serve Muslim propoganda efforts and claims that Israel is seeking to destroy it.

3,000 members of the security forces were standing by in expectation of Arab violence as a result of calls for an Israeli-Arab Intifada by Muslim leaders. The calls come in response to the repair and replacement of the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate walkway, which was in danger of collapse.

Police entered the Mount, Judaism's holiest site and fired stun grenades at the rioters in response to the violence.

Police Charging Into Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
13:41 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( Police are charging into the Temple Mount to disperse Arab rioters, after Arabs began throwing rocks at police. The police are commanded by Israeli Police chief Moshe Karadi.

The Western Wall Plaza has been temporarily cleared of Jewish worshippers, although they have reportedly not been attacked.

Arab MK: "Many Injured" Inside Al Aksa

reprinted from Arutz 7
14:12 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( MK Ibrahim Sarsur of (Islamic Movement, United Arab List) says the police have "turned Al Aksa mosque into a jail" and are preventing the injured people inside from getting medical treatment. Sarsur, who participated in the Friday service on the Temple Mount, says the police have closed off the entrances and exits to Al Aksa Mosque with iron chains. "The situation inside is very tense," said Sarsur. "We ask the police to evacuate the compound and let the worshippers go home safely."

Sarsur added a second request: "that the police let medical crews into the compound to evacuate the many injured people inside to hospitals, so they can get proper medical care."

Police Surrounding Al Aksa Mosque

reprinted from Arutz 7
13:41 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( A large police force is surrounding the Al Aksa mosque on the Temple mount in Jerusalem. A group of dozens of Muslim youths are holed up inside the mosque. The youths apparently entered the mosque earlier this week and were waiting for Friday to begin their violence. The police force is headed by Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franco, and Israeli Police Chief Moshe Karadi is nearby, in the Kotel police station.

Three policemen have been lightly injured and are receiving treatment.

Army Radio reporter said the Temple Mount is now fully "under Israeli control." The sound of stun grenades going of can be heard very clearly from outside the Temple area.

Jail Authority on Elevated Alert

reprinted from Arutz 7
13:15 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( The Israeli Jail Service has declared a state of elevated readiness in the jails holding security prisoners, in case the rioting on the Temple Mount spreads there.

About 10,000 Arab prisoners are currently held in Israeli jails.

Rioting in Jerusalem: Policeman Lightly Injured

reprinted from Arutz 7
12:05 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( A policeman has been lightly injured Friday morning from rocks thrown at him by Arab youths who were rioting on Sultan Suleiman Street in East Jerusalem. The policeman required no medical attention. The police are combing the area and looking for the attackers.

Police used force to disperse a march by 50 Arab youths on Salah a-Din Street in the Old City, arresting five of them. The police believed the youths were about to begin throwing rocks, and decided to stop the march.

Police May Further Limit Temple Mount Entrance

reprinted from Arutz 7
07:12 Feb 11, '07 / 23 Shevat 5767

( Over the past few days, police have limited entrance to the mosques on the Temple Mount to Muslim men aged forty-five and older. The limitation was meant to prevent riots, following Muslim protests over the repair work being done on the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate. Women of all ages were allowed entrance.

Following violent protests over the weekend, police say they may further limit entrance requirements until rioting stops. Several women joined the rioters in throwing rocks and bottles at police, as did older men.

Police say they may begin to limit entrance to men of fifty years of age and older, or perhaps even sixty-five. Women may be subject to age restrictions as well.

Muslim Protesters Leave al-Aksa Mosque after Standoff

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 9, 2007 staff and AP

Some 300 Muslim worshippers who had barricaded themselves inside al-Aksa Mosque amid violent scenes on Jerusalem's Temple Mount began to leave the holy site on Friday afternoon. Fifteen policemen were wounded in fierce clashes with Muslim worshippers who attacked police with Molotov cocktails, rocks and glass bottles on and around the Mount.

Hundreds were protesting against the restricted access to Friday afternoon prayers at al-Aksa Mosque imposed by Israel amid fears of unrest over the excavation work near the Temple Mount.

Some 200 policemen streamed onto the Temple Mount compound to try to quell the violence, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Police fired stun grenades and 17 arrests were made. 18 Muslim rioters were wounded in the scuffles. The Western Wall was evacuated to ensure the safety of Jewish worshippers.

Earlier, five Arab youths were arrested on suspicion of throwing stones at police during protests on Salah al-Din road in east Jerusalem.

Police controlled the protesters with batons.

Muslim entry to the Temple Mount was restricted to men over the age of 45 with Israeli IDs. Some 3,000 police officers - more than double the normal amount - were deployed throughout the Old City and nearby areas of east Jerusalem.

There was also an increased police presence in Nazareth ahead of a march planned by the Islamic Movement in protest of the excavations. Police were expecting the procession to pass peacefully, Israel Radio reported. Meanwhile, in an interview with Israel Radio on Friday morning, archaeologist Meir Ben Dov, who headed previous excavation work at the Temple Mount site, said there was no need for the renovations to be carried out at the Mughrabi Gate and that the planned bridge was not required.

Ben Dov added that the excavations near the Temple Mount were illegal and that Israel had not received the required permits.

Also on Friday morning, Arab countries appealed to the United Nations Security Council to put a stop to the excavation work.

Representatives of the countries called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to conduct a debate on the issue next week, Israel Radio reported.

Police Brace for Temple Mount Trouble

reprinted from Arutz 7
09:55 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( More than 2,000 Israeli police officers have taken up positions around the Temple Mount Friday, in anticipation of possible Arab rioting on the Muslim day of prayer. Muslim leaders in Israel and abroad have been inciting their faithful to hold mass protests against construction work being carrying out on a walkway near the Western Wall Plaza.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert decided Thursday to go on with the construction project despite the tension surrounding it. Political sources said Israeli security experts believed that the situation would not escalate beyond protests by Israeli Arabs.

Israel's General Security Service currently has concrete information about 13 planned terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.

Mayor Invites Wakf Head to Meeting

reprinted from Arutz 7
04:57 Feb 09, '07 / 21 Shevat 5767

( Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski has invited Adnan Husseini, the head of Jerusalem"s Wakf Muslim Authority to a meeting at his office to discuss tensions that have arisen in the wake of excavations near the Temple Mount, which Muslim leaders have claimed is undermining the structural integrity of the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.

The Wakf has not taken actions or protested against the excavations, though it has expressed its reservations about the project. Israel"s Antiquities Authority and police have kept the Wakf abreast of all developments.

Indonesia Urges Israel to Halt Jerusalem Excavation

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 9, 2007

Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, appealed to Israel to halt excavation work near Jerusalem's Temple Mount, saying Friday it could exacerbate Middle East tensions.

"It has potential to disturb the most respected mosque for Muslims all over the world," said Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda. "We urge Israel to stop its archaeological excavation works around the holy Al Aksa mosque."

Controversial Excavations to be Broadcast

reprinted from Arutz 7
21:31 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

( Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to an initiative proposed by MK Yisrael Hasson (Yisrael Beiteinu) under which cameras would record and broadcast the excavations currently underway near the Temple Mount.

The excavation, for a new bridge linking the Temple Mount with the Western Wall Plaza, is the given reason for Arab protests in the Old City. The protesters, led by Sheikh Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement, claim that the purpose of the excavations is to cause damage to the Al-Aksa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount. The camera would make the excavation completely transparent, with the intent that this would prevent any misinformation about the dig.



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