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Tensions Remain High Following Temple Mount Shootout

Israeli-Arab Lawmaker Warns of 'Third Intifada'

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17 Jul 2017 (All day)
Tensions Remain High Following Temple Mount Shootout
Tensions remained high in and around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday following last Friday’s shooting attack which killed two Israeli police officers and left the three terrorists who initiated the violence dead as well. The area was re-opened on Sunday with metal detectors at the entrances, which Islamic authorities in Jerusalem called a totally unnecessary and insulting measure, advising their followers to avoid entering the site. Other voices in the Islamic world called for a general Palestinian uprising to protest the security measures.

“This is a severe violation of the status quo,” said Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of al-Aksa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount. “How could they check hundreds of thousands of people who come here every Ramadan?”

“It is far more than breaching the status quo,” added MK Taleb Abu Arar of the Joint (Arab) List in a statement to the Jerusalem Post. “The Israeli government is defiling the mosques. They took advantage of the situation to impose a complete control over the compound... This move is fanning the flames and I see Israel as only the responsible cause of this situation. This is our mosque and when we enter it we want to feel that. The Jews have no rights whatsoever to this mosque – it is for Muslims only. We will not accept being checked every time we want to get inside. We are asking to go back to normal and enter freely, as it was three day ago.”

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh went even further, warning during an interview Saturday evening with Channel 2’s Meet the Press that “Closing the Aksa Mosque is explosive. The Second Intifada broke out on al-Aksa. I warn against the third.”

Leaders from all of Israel’s Arab political factions hastened to point out that they condemned the attack itself, saying that their struggle was a political and cultural one and should not be conducted with kinetic violence. However, many voices in the Arab and Islamic public in Israel also blamed Israel for, in the first place, creating the situation which led to the shooting.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdullah issued a statement Saturday condemning the attack and calling for calm. He also asked Israel to re-open the Temple Mount.
Less qualified statements of condemnation also came from the UN and several world governments.

In related news, legislation advanced in the Knesset on Sunday to place strong legal blocks in the path of any future attempt to divide Jerusalem, including by requiring a minimum 80 votes in the Knesset to approve any legislation giving up Israeli sovereignty over any part of the city.

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