Following violent protests in the Temple Mount area over the last two days, the police announced on Tuesday morning its intention to prevent tourists and Jewish Israelis from visiting the holy site until the end of Ramadan in an effort to calm tensions.
The protests were a result of Muslim visitors’ complaints over a supposed violation of the status-quo, which forbids Jews from visiting the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month. The police initially said that it would make efforts to allow these visits to go on as usual, but eventually changed its mind.
For the past few years, the authorities’ policy was to bar Jews from visiting the site during Ramadan’s final few days, given the heightened tensions as Muslims congregate there. This year however, the policy was changed, but then subsequently changed once again due to the eruption of violence.
A statement released by the police said, “The temple mount will be closed to visitors” – meaning to Jewish visitors. It also stated that “Any disturbance of the peace will be dealt with aggressively. The police is in continuous contact with the local leadership and the Waqf, and is demanding that they work to prevent any and all disturbances of the peace at the (Temple Mount).”