Muslim Wire

Hamas blamed for resurgent violence on Temple Mount

Posted in Non Muslims, Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 26, 2009

Nine police officers and an Australian reporter were lightly wounded Sunday during clashes between security forces and Arab rioters in the capital. Police entered the Temple Mount twice during another day of fierce rioting by the mostly young rioters, who tossed rocks and at least one firebomb.

Police said the riots began when officers were accompanying a group of tourists up to the mount. Police saw Muslim youth gathering rocks to throw and pouring oil onto the ground to hinder access of security forces and the visitors.

Police reinforcements then stormed the mount, only to be pelted with stones and a fire bomb by the rioters. The rioters were dispersed with stun grenades and rubber bullets, with about one hundred of the rioters retreating to the Aksa mosque.

Security forces ascended the mount for a second time when Arab youths began hurling rocks just as police officers were talking to the Waqf Muslim Authority trying to convince the youths to leave the Aksa Mosque. Officers had promised not to arrest them if they came out.

Police didn’t enter the mosque, from which the rioters tossed various objects, such as chairs, at the security forces. The youths eventually left at the end of the day and the compound was closed.

Arab youths also hurled rocks at police in the alleyways of the Muslim Quarter, burning garbage and wood in the streets. There were also clashes until after noon in nearby Ras el-Amud.

In all, about 20 Arab rioters were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and violence against police officers. Among them were Ali Abu Sheikha, of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, and Khatem Abd al-Kader, holder of the Jerusalem portfolio in Fatah, who had been banished from the Old City earlier in October on charges of inciting riots.

Although police had been bracing for the possibility of renewed clashes, no restrictions had initially been placed on Muslims entering the Temple Mount for Sunday prayers, or on visitors who arrived in the morning to tour the compound.

After the morning clashes, access to the site was restricted to Muslim women, and men over 50 holding Israeli ID cards.

A Muslim cleric then issued a call over the Temple Mount loudspeaker to “come and defend” the Aksa Mosque.

“Throughout the day, very large groups of Arab residents of east Jerusalem and other Israeli Arabs have come to the area at the encouragement of the Islamic Movement,” Police Chief Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen told reporters. “I urge them (the Islamic Movement) to show restraint and not to incite.”

Cohen said that police would deal with all rioters on the Temple Mount as well as the inciters “with a strong hand.”

Police issued a statement blaming Hamas for inciting violence in a bid to “disrupt order on the Temple Mount.”

Meanwhile, Hamas condemned Israel for “infiltrating the Aksa Mosque” and “defiling” it. The group called on Palestinians to rise up against Israel, for Arabs and Muslims worldwide to punish Israel. “The real battle begins again,” declared spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority condemned the Israeli operation. “Jerusalem is a red line that Israel should not cross,” said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

IIsraeli Arab MKs also blamed Israel for the escalation in tensions, as usual. MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Tal) said that Israel had “broken the law,” complaining that he had waited 50 minutes in order to ascend the Temple Mount. UAL-Ta’al MK Taleb a-Sanaa said that Israel was provoking “a billion Muslims” and sparking unnecessary riots by allowing “extremist elements to defile the mosque.”

National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari, stated that security forces were too soft on the rioters. He said Israel was “forfeiting” the Temple Mount, he said, suggesting that a “Muslim autonomy” was being created in the capital.


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