What’s happening in Jerusalem?: A roundup

Dozens of Palestinians and several Border Police officers wounded in third day of clashes over restrictions to Jerusalem’s holiest site.

What's happening in Jerusalem?: A roundup
Palestinian women face off with Border Police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City, September 13, 2015. (photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Tensions erupted in East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday, as dozens of Palestinians and three Border Police officers were wounded in the third day of clashes over restrictions on Muslim worship in one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites.

According to Ma’an News Agency, dozens Palestinians were wounded during clashes with Israeli security forces throughout the West Bank. Eighteen of them were lightly wounded near the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum, while protesting in support of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound amid ongoing entry restrictions.

Fifteen Palestinians were also wounded — including six with live bullets — in clashes near Ofer military prison, west of Ramallah. Clashes were also reported in Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya and near the 300 checkpoint in Bethlehem, where witnesses said Palestinian Authority security forces assaulted demonstrators and detained at least 13 youths.

According to Haaretz, three Israeli Border Police officers were wounded Friday in light-to-moderate condition and a Palestinian was moderately to seriously wounded during an operation in East Jerusalem’s Jabal Mukaber neighborhood. The IDF also reported that one Palestinian was lightly wounded after being shot in the leg with a Ruger rifle in the West Bank village of Aboud, adjacent to the settlement of Beit Aryeh.

On Thursday the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee convened a special, emergency meeting to call up Border Police reservists in response to the tensions. Approximately 800 Border Policemen have already been sent to reinforce the regular forces stationed in the capital.

Border Policemen seen in the alleys of the Old City, during clashes with Muslim worshippers, September 13, 2015. (photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)
Border Policemen seen in the alleys of the Old City, during clashes with Muslim worshippers, September 13, 2015. (photo: Faiz Abu-Rmeleh/Activestills.org)

Clashes erupted earlier this week after Israeli security forces received information indicating that young Palestinians intended to hole themselves up on the Temple Mount prior to the arrival of Jews who planned to go there on the eve of Rosh Hashanah.

According to Haaretz’s Nir Hasson, dozens of Israeli police broke through onto the Temple Mount on Sunday morning, which is under the daily administration of the Muslim religious trust, the Waqf. That spurred confrontations between Israeli security forces and young Palestinians at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the site.

The United Nations Security Council is expressing “grave concern” in response to the violence calling for restraint and calm. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly met with Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog in London on Friday, where he expressed concern over the escalating violence in Jerusalem and on Temple Mount.

Herzog told Kerry that the violence was triggered by incitement on the part of Islamic figures who have been encouraging youths to clash with Israeli security forces. In recent days Kerry has received phone calls from several Arab foreign ministers demanding that the U.S. intervene and press Israel vis-à-vis the developments on Temple Mount.

Tensions also rose in Israel’s south after a rocket fired on Friday night from Gaza exploded in an open area in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. A bus was damaged by shrapnel.

Earlier on Thursday, a bus was stoned and then torched in East Jerusalem. Palestinians threw stones at the bus as it was driving through East Jerusalem’s Ras al-Amud neighborhood. The driver fled, after which the bus was set on fire.

The attack on the bus came just a few days after 64-year-old Alexander Levlovitch was killed after he allegedly lost control of the vehicle near the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Baher in East Jerusalem when his car was hit by stones. The car then hit a power pole and landed in a ditch. Two passengers were lightly wounded in the crash.

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