March 16, 2014 Sunday 14 AdarII 5774
Uri Ariel, denied entry to Jerusalem holy site after Arab teens throw rocks, says rioters control access to Temple Mount.
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel was told that access to the Temple Mount was restricted when he arrived for a scheduled visit on Monday morning.
Despite the fact that the minister's visit had been planned far in advance, riots early on Monday morning by teens wearing face masks and throwing stones and firecrackers at police caused authorities to restrict access by Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.
Ariel did eventually ascend the Temple Mount as planned, with the appropriate security escort.
"The reality in which rioters control the agenda on the Temple Mount and prevent Jews from accessing the area is not acceptable. I went up the Mount this morning and I intend to continue to do so in the future and I call on the security forces to help maintain Jewish sovereignty and allow any Jew to access the [Temple] Mount."
According to police, dozens of Palestinian teens rioted at the Temple Mount on Sunday morning. One youth was lightly injured when police dispersed the protesters with stun grenades and riot dispersal equipment. The young man was taken to the hospital.
The Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported that four protesters were wounded by rubber bullets and that access to the Temple Mount was also restricted to Muslims until 8 a.m. when security forces allowed women and students entry on a restricted basis.
Last month, riots broke out on the Temple mount after Friday prayers, when hundreds of Palestinians attacked officers with rocks.The violence came one day after police closed the holy site to Jews to avert another riot, following numerous anonymous threats from Arabs of probable violence should any Jews ascend.
The event was followed by a debate in the Knesset over whether the Temple Mount should be put under full Israeli sovereignty. The debate drew scathing criticism in Jordan's parliament where politicians called for the annulment of Israel's peace treaty with Jordan.
In the peace treaty signed between the two governments nearly 20 years ago, Israel acknowledged the Hashemite Kingdom’s “special role” in the custodianship of the holy sites in Jerusalem. The Wakf Muslim religious trust was given oversight of the holy site following the Six Day War in 1967.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement striking down the proposition, saying, “The policy of the government of Israel has been and continues to be the maintenance of the status quo at the Temple Mount, including freedom of access for all faiths to the holy sites.”
Although the Supreme Court upheld Jewish prayer rights on the site, the court allows police to prevent any form of worship there if they believe such activities will incite a “disturbance to the public order.”