The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee authorized the IDF to call up an extra 800 Border Patrol reservists in response to escalating violence across Jerusalem, reinforcing the 5,000 police officers presently deployed in the city.
The emergency call-up comes amidst an ongoing wave of Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount, as well as against Israelis in Judea and Samaria.
“Border Patrol fighters have a rich and successful history of dealing with hostile and violent activity,” Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said. “Stationing Border Patrol troops in the capital will help bring back order quickly.”
During prayers on the Temple Mount on Friday, Palestinians declared a day of rage, leading to the emergency draft of security personnel. Palestinians clashed with Israeli Police and Border Patrol units near the Damascus Gate following prayers, including throwing stones and firebombs. Police responded with non-lethal riot control measures.
Muslim men under the age of 40 will be prevented from going up to the Temple Mount and Al Aqsa Mosque.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, “We can see there are calls from extremists to try to incite riots in Jerusalem, and we will be implementing security measures in different areas to prevent any major incidents from taking place.”
The Temple Mount has been the focus of violent clashes since Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon outlawed the Murabitun and Murabatat groups, who had been paid by Islamist groups to harass Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.
The new policy led to a period of quiet which exploded over the Jewish New Year holiday as Muslims clashed with police in a new round of violence. Security officials uncovered pipe bombs stored on the Temple Mount in preparation to attack visitors, including piles of stones, fireworks and firebombs.
On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas vowed on Palestinian television to prevent the “filthy feet” of Jews from stepping foot on the Temple Mount.
“The Al-Aqsa (Mosque) is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours, and they (Jews) have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem,” Abbas stated. “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”
Nabil Abu Rudaineh, spokesman for the PA president’s office in Ramallah, said that the “ongoing Israeli onslaught against the occupied city of Jerusalem, especially the Aksa Mosque, was aimed at creating a new and dangerous reality.” Hamas said that the Israel’s actions were a “declaration of war.”
Over the last week, a spate of violent and deadly attacks against Israelis has rallied officials to crack down on Palestinian terror. Last Sunday, an Israeli was killed as a result of rocks thrown at his car. Recent days have seen rock and firebomb attacks all over Jerusalem. Two busses were attacked in separate incidents, and one was set on fire. The light rail train was attacked by rocks near Shuafat and the IDF base on Mount Scopus was attacked by Molotov cocktails, setting off a brush-fire.