A battle was fought on the Temple Mount on Sunday morning between Palestinians who resorted to violence and the Israeli police who stood firm, protecting the rights of Jews to visit their holiest site on a special day. And just as the IDF won exactly 52 years ago, justice prevailed again.
The 52nd celebration of Jerusalem Day began Saturday evening and will continue through to Sunday Evening. This fell during the final days of the month-long Ramadan period which ends on Wednesday. Though the Ramadan is intended to be a period of intensified Muslim devotion, it is frequently a period of intensified Muslim violence in Israel and abroad. As such, the Israeli police have closed the Temple Mount to non-Muslims in the final days of Ramadan for the last 30 years.
The police originally announced that this would be the case this year as well but several groups petitioned the High Court to protest for the right to visit Judaism’s holiest site on the anniversary of the day it was returned to the Jews after 2,000 years. Last year, more than 2,000 Jews visited the site on Jerusalem Day. The court rejected the petition, leaving the decision in the hands of the police. Ultimately, the police opened the site to Jewish visitors on Sunday morning.
In response, Muslims rioted at around 7:00 am on Sunday morning prior to Jews entering the compound.
“A riot began that included the hurling of stones, chairs and various objects,” a police statement said.
Elishama Sandman of Yera-eh, a Temple Mount advocacy group, was among the first Jews to ascend.
“There were clear signs that a struggle had taken place before we got there,” Sandman told Breaking Israel News. “Stones and debris were all over. The Arabs were yelling at us the entire time. It took me back to two years ago when this happened every day. And when we approached the Mosque, the Arabs began to throw chairs at us. The police were very professional and shut it down within seconds. This is something that didn’t happen two years ago. It was actually inspiring to see the police fighting for Jews to be on the Temple Mount. The IDF conquered the Temple Mount in 1967 but there is still a battle going on. Now it is being fought by Jews going to the Temple Mount and by the police defending our right as Jews to be there.”
“Subsequently, Jerusalem District Commander Maj. Gen. Doron Yadid ordered police forces to enter the Temple Mount and deal with the rioters.”
תיעוד: ידויי אבנים וזריקת חפצים לעבר כוחות ישראליים בהר הבית@HaimOmri pic.twitter.com/1S0dlDWCJs
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The activity did not go unnoticed in the Arab world. Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, on Sunday said there “will be consequences” to what he labeled as an “attack on the Temple Mount worshippers.”
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also issued a statement, warning that Israel “will pay a price” for allowing “the settlers” to harm the compound. “Israel is responsible for the current situation in Jerusalem,” the statement said. “The Palestinian nation has the right to defend itself and its holy places against the Israeli aggression.”