Shevat 28, 5772, 21/02/12
For the second time this week, Muslims stoned Israeli police who were escorting Jewish and Christian pilgrims on the Temple Mount.
by Gavriel Queenann
Muslims hurled stones and shoes at police escorting Jewish and Christian visitors on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City on Tuesday.
"An officer was slightly wounded and treated at the scene," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that two Arabs were arrested.
Police say officers had been put on high alert earlier in the day after receiving reports Jewish and Muslim groups were set to clash at the site.
The alert was raised after various Muslim groups posted calls online urging people to head to the compound to "protect" it after a group of Jewish pilgrims said they were planning to ascend to Judaism's holiest site.
Police were deployed around the Temple Mount and throughout the Old City "following various calls on different Internet sites by terrorist groups calling on people to go protect the compound after calls from the extreme right to come today," Police spokeswoman Liba Samri said.
Over a dozen vans filled with riot police were reportedly parked by the Dung Gate near the Mughrabi ramp, which runs from the Western Wall plaza up to the Temple Mount.
On Sunday, police used tear gas to disperse Muslims who were throwing stones at tourists and police inside the compound. In that incident police arrested 18 people.
A similar protest took place last week when a group of Jewish worshippers sought access to the site.
Police say it "was not clear" why the "disturbances" broke out, but one local Arab told an AFP reporter stone throwers were targeting religious Jews who entered the site with a group of Christian tourists.
However, it was reported earlier on Tuesday that the Al-Aqsa Center had released a report that it had been informed Israeli authorities planned allow Jews access to the Temple Mount.
According to the report, Jews would be able to perform "Talmudic rituals" (i.e., pray) on the Temple Mount.
The Al Aqsa report goes on to say that Israeli police plan to use the new arrangement to "cleanse the Temple Mount of Muslims under flimsy pretexts."
According to another plan "revealed" by the Al Aqsa Center, Jews will "freely enter the mosque" between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., between Muslim prayer times. These alleged plans will be implemented this year.
The Temple Mount is the site of the historic Al-Aqsa Mosque (705 CE). However, it is also the site of the the Temple of Solomon (~950 BCE to 587 BCE) and the Second Temple (517 BCE to 70CE) and is indisputably Judaism's most sacred site.
The Muslim Waqf, which Israel has allowed to manage the site since liberating the Temple Mount in 1967, has long maintained a discriminatory policy seeking to bar Jews entry to the site.