Israel Closes Jerusalem Holy Site To Non-Muslims After Violence
Israel’s police announced that the site that Muslims call the Haram al-Sharif and Jews the Temple Mount, will be closed to non-Muslims for the next three days after two days of clashes. Muslims who are coming to the site in large numbers to pray during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will be allowed to visit. The clashes began after young Muslims at the site tried to prevent Jews from visiting on Monday. Dozens, who had barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa Mosque overnight, threw rocks and other projectiles at security forces as Jews began to visit the site. Israeli police fired tear gas and drove the rioters into the mosque, arresting five demonstrators. Jordan condemned Israel for allowing police to enter the holy site. In previous years, Jews were not allowed to visit during Ramadan, for fear of these types of clashes. Israeli hardliners condemned the decision by the police, saying it punished the innocent and rewarded those who instigated the violence. In a status quo that was put in force when Israel captured the site during the 1967 war, Jews are not allowed to pray at the site, but are allowed to visit. In the past year, there has been an increase in the number of Jewish visitors to the site, where Jews believe the First and Second Temples were built. Muslims say the site is where the prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven. On Fridays during Ramadan, tens of thousands of Muslims come to the site to pray.