Temple Mount Opened to Jewish Worshippers Amid Tense Truce
In the first real test of the fragile cease-fire reached over the weekend between Israel and Hamas after nearly two weeks of fighting, Israeli authorities on Sunday allowed Jewish visitors to enter the highly contested Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. Some minor skirmishes between Muslim visitors and police ensued. The extremely volatile complex, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque and the area on which the first and second Jewish temples are said to have been erected, was closed for Jews for 19 days, the longest stretch since the site’s reopening following the Second Intifada. While normally the mountain is sealed to Jewish worshippers on weekends and throughout the final 10 days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, this year’s friction and eventual mini-war in Gaza led Jerusalem to prolong the closure by over a week. On Friday, thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites and Arab Israelis congregated near Al-Aqsa Mosque, waving Palestinian flags and chanting victory slogans after the Israeli-Hamas cease-fire took effect. Dozens were arrested for assaulting police officers.