Temple Mount crisis: Jerusalem Police Commander Yoram Halevi announced Friday that entry to Jerusalem’s Old City and the Temple Mount would be restricted to men over 50, as Israeli security forces attempt to prevent yet more riots by Muslim worshipers that have plagued the area in recent days. No age restrictions have been placed on women.
The repeat decision of last Friday was taken at the conclusion of a situation assessment conducted by security staff after Israel’s removal of all recently installed security measures at the Temple Mount failed to placate the worshipers and merely preceded fresh and reinvigorated waves of protest and violence.
Israel installed metal detectors, cameras and other measures following a July 14 attack in which two Israeli policemen were shot dead, nudging Palestinians into a fenzy of violent protests, encouraged by both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terror who twice called for a ‘day of rage.’
With the Friday prayers set to take place in the afternoon in the Al-Aqsa mosque, where worshipers returned to pray for the first time in days Thursday after receiving the approval of the grand mufti of Jerualem, and in anticipation of widespread unrest, Israel’s security teams say they took the decision in order to forestall violent outbreaks.
No extremists or agitators would be allowed to carry out their activities, a statement by the police read.
“The Temple Mount, like every holy place, is open and guarded according to the status quo at the site. The police expects from leaders and public officials to denounce expressions and acts of incitement and violence. It also expects that they will show responsibility and act to calm the mood,” the police statement added in an identical statement issued last Friday following its decision to keep the metal detectors in place.
Despite the fact that the Waqf announced Thursday that the situation on the compound had returned to normal, Palestinians were not content with the assurances, fearing Israel planned to impose the age restrictions on entrance to the Old City.
By Ynet News