Potential for flare-up in Jerusalem. Police reject rightists' request to hold cornerstone ceremony at Temple Mount. Fatah official in charge of Jerusalem portfolio urges Muslims to flock to al-Aqsa Mosque, barricade themselves there for fear of invasion
by Ali Waked
The Palestinian Authority is joining the Islamic Movement in its calls for Muslims to flock to the al-Aqsa Mosque in response to extremist Jews' plans to lay a cornerstone at the Temple Mount.
Hatem Abdel Kader, the Fatah official in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio, on Sunday urged Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israel to declare their plans to travel to the mosque and barricade themselves there starting Monday.
Meanwhile, police have declared they will not allow the Israeli rightists to go through with their plans to lay a cornerstone at the site.03.14.10Police said they have rejected requests from both Palestinians and rightists to hold a march in the area. "We will prevent, with a firm hand, any attempt by extremist from either side to disrupt order and security at the Temple Mount and in the east of the city," a statement by the Jerusalem District Police said.03.14.10Jerusalem Police Commander Aharon Franco said at a situation evaluation meeting that police forces were prepared and deployed around the compound and in the alleys of the Old City.
The Palestinian Authority urged Palestinians and Muslims to demonstrate vigilance in Jerusalem, following the opening of a synagogue in the Old City. Abdel Kader said, "We are facing the most dangerous three days since 1967."
According to the Fatah official, Israel is taking the utmost precautions as part of a broad and dangerous action plan meant to cause a dramatic change in the status quo. Abdel Kader urged Palestinians and Muslims to be prepared to stay in the mosque for fear of it being raided by Jewish extremist.
He accused Israel of distracting the world with the settlement issue in order to move forward with its plans to judaize Jerusalem, including the al-Aqsa Mosque. According to Abdel Kader, the full closure that was imposed on the West Bank, and the age restrictions for worshippers entering the site are part of this scheme.
He said that Fatah is slated to hold a meeting with the Islamic Movement on later Sunday to discuss joint action the parties can take to prevent any attempt to invade the mosques.
Earlier, some 50 Palestinians gathered in Beit Jala and threw stones at security forces in the area. The soldiers responded with teargas. The Rabbis for Human Rights organization said that the Palestinians had gathered in the area to hold a peaceful protest against the construction of the separation fence, and attempted to plant olive trees.
Saturday night Defense Minister Ehud Barak ruled that the full closure on the West Bank is to be extended until midnight Tuesday, amid concerns of possible riots in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In a rare move, police decided to impose a full closure on the West Bank Friday, following intelligence obtained by police of Palestinian youths' plans to riot in the capital. A number of clashes between Palestinians and security forces took place on Saturday.
Shmulik Grossman contributed to this report