Israeli police have raided al-Aqsa mosque's compound, clashing with Muslim worshippers and arresting Palestinian protesters.

Al Jazeera has learnt that the clashes erupted on Sunday after Israeli police tried to enter the compound in occupied Jerusalem's Old City.

The site is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and is revered by Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), comprising al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

At least 10 people were injured and another 15 detained, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem said.

Israeli police put the number of arrests at 12.

Early on Sunday, Israel police deployed extra troops after calls for demonstrations around the holy site.

The Palestinian calls came amid rumours that rightwing Jewish activists were planning to gather at al-Aqsa compound.

The rumours circulated after a fringe Israeli group, the Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights on the Temple Mount, called on Jews to gather at the mosque compound as well as the adjacent Western Wall.

Spreading violence

Palestinian officials said the Israeli police closed off the compound to visitors, leaving hundreds of worshippers inside.

Jivara al-Budairi, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said: "Clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli police spread to the Old City neighbourhoods of Bab Hutta, Bab al-Majlis and Aqabat al-Tkiye.

She said the injured could not be moved out of the compound because of the Israeli police siege.

She said the violence in the Old City erupted after the Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinian students and youths in the area.

The youths retaliated by throwing stones at the soldiers.

Columns of black smoke could be seen rising from areas close to the mosque compound, our correspondent said.

It seems that Palestinian youths set ablaze tyres in areas where Israeli police and army forces were heavily deployed, she said.

A large number of Palestinians began a march from the Old City towards al-Aqsa mosque, she said.

The neighbourhood's merchants have, meanwhile, announced a comprehensive strike and closed all shops, al-Budairi said.

Conflicting accounts

Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, said the raid and arrests took place after Palestinian youths threw stones and a petrol bomb at a police patrol near the mosque.

Shmuel Ben-Ruby, the Jerusalem police spokesman, admitted that security forces used stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators.

He accused the protesters of pouring oil on the ground to make the police forces slip, and of hurling a firebomb.

Ben-Ruby said police did not enter mosque itself.

But Kamal Khatib, a spokesman for the Israeli Arab Islamic Movement, which has been at the forefront of recent al-Asa demonstrations, blamed Israeli police for the clashes.

"The police always excuse their attacks by saying that the worshippers threw stones," he told the AFP news agency.

"It is clear they just want to justify their crimes."

Khatib further accused the police of stopping buses filled with Muslim worshippers in northern Israel in a bid to prevent them from reaching Jerusalem.

'Cordoned off'

Describing the situation to Al Jazeera, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, said: "Israeli forces entered the compound from the Maghareba and Silsila gates.

"The forces cordoned off the compound, preventing all Muslims from entering the mosque.

"The situation is extremely serious, and I expect it to escalate.

"The Israelis have beaten the mosque's guards and staff, as well as worshippers, including women.

"I was personally prevented from entering the mosque. They are preventing us by force from reaching the mosque, where Sheikh Abdul Azeem Salhab, head of the endowments council, several endowments department staff and a number of worshippers are at present under siege.

"We are besieged in al-Haram al-Sharif yard, while they are trapped inside al-Aqsa mosque.

“A large number of Israeli policemen and security officers are deployed inside al-Haram al-Sharif. They have detained most of the Palestinian worshippers who were inside the compound."

Recent tensions

Tensions exploded into violence on September 27, when Palestinians hurled rocks at a group of visitors whom they suspected of being rightwing Jewish extremists.

Israel captured the compound from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East War and it has since served as a symbol of the two sides' competing claims to Jerusalem.

Day-to-day administration of the site remains in Muslim hands.

In September 2000, the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada, erupted after Ariel Sharon, a rightwing politician who went on to become Israel's prime minister, visited the site.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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Hi Neri,
"It is all start from Jewish extremists that digging and annoncing the building of the 3rd tample with what see as support of MK and governmant. this make Muslem extremists excuse to claim that there is a plan for that"

I could not disagree more. Firstly there is no such thing as Jewish extremists digging anything. The only digging being done on the temple mount is by the wakf who are disposing of all the archelogical finds they discover. I do believe this "digging" is an excellent example of the blood libels but forward by themoslem world. When the goverment dug out an exit from the kotel tunnles they claimed the Jews were trying to destroy Al akza. Anyone who has been in the tunnles know this cannot be further from the truth, there was simply an opening made to allow people to get out on the North side of the temple mount (Al Akza is in the south). So too here, one group claims they should have rights on the temple mount and this is used for a pretext for rioting. How many of these "extremist" were actually on or even near the temple mount, none! The police were showing footage through the temple mount cameras of youth collecting stones the day before, these are not spontanious but planned roits that use pretext to happen.

As a peacemaker you should be fighting to allow all religions to use the temple mount. I feel that the left in Israel gives up on equality when it comes to the rights of Jews. If arabs are forbidden to build in certain areas it is discrimination but if Jews arent then it is justice. Removing Arabs from their home is ethnic clensing or transfer but removing Jews is ok because it is for a greater cause.

I think we have to learn to check our politics at the door when it comes to human rights and equality, something few people are willing to do.
On Ynet today concerning Rabbinical stances on the topic..Interesting that the more militant Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is adament about not "touching" the Mount, while Rabbi Sherlo, very broad minded and active in the social sphere takes the more "militant" stance..but does so in the name or human rights and equality..

--from ynet--
Rabbi Yuval Sherlo, who will be participating in Sunday's conference, ...."This is a weighty halachic issue," said Rabbi Sherlo to Ynet, "and I don't understand how you be opposed to it."

According to him, today, 42 years after the reunification of Jerusalem, one can see "the spiritual price of this prohibition" which he defines as "an ingrained awareness that we are interested in the Western Wall and the Arabs in the Temple Mount. The rabbis are increasingly those responsible for this, who, paradoxically, have distanced the people of Israel from being conscience of the Temple." ...

Rabbi Sherlo demands "equality at the least" between Jews and Arabs visiting the Temple Mount and claims that visiting the site today is "a humiliating act" mainly because of the prohibition of Jewish prayer on the Mount that is enforced by the Waqf. Rabbi Sherlo expressed his deep disappointment with the rights groups who have kept quiet on this issue of freedom of religion and worship.

"The same people who claimed that it is forbidden to stop the gay pride parade from taking place so as not to give in to violence are not fighting here for the rights of Jews to pray," claimed Rabbi Sherlo. "In moral principles, one must be consistent and systematic. There is nothing more damaging to them that hypocrisy and manipulations that are used only when it is convenient."


Rabbi Shlomo Aviner is opposed to allowing Jews onto the Temple Mount. "There are definitely honorable and good things about those enthusiastic about the Temple Mount. However, the very essence of this phenomenon is, in my opinion, an utterly damaging mistake."

In an article published Sunday morning (Mekor Rishon), Rabbi Aviner called for followers to make do with learning about the subject and to avoid real actions in the Temple complex. He wrote, "The issue of the Temple is beyond human intellect like many other topics. Therefore, one must stand before it in awe without thinking that it can be dealt with using our human capacities."

"There are a many great genius scholars and rabbis who have emphatically expressed their opinion that the Temple Mount must not be touched at all," wrote Rabbi Aviner, claiming that those who claimed as such were no less moral, no less brave, and no less idealistic for doing so.

"He who says not to touch it is not necessarily weak, and the enthusiast is not necessarily the hero," said Rabbi Aviner.
This is not relevant. Moslems are not allowed to drink alcohol so is it ok to make it illegal to sell it to them.....Like i said not the point.
I think a key passage is Rabbi Aviner's assertion that:

"The issue of the Temple is beyond human intellect like many other topics. Therefore, one must stand before it in awe without thinking that it can be dealt with using our human capacities.

This is not an issue of Halacha, but of realizing that hooking up our messianic and spiritual goals with the the nitty gritty of real politics is tricky business. Trying to show our national authority over the Temple Mount basically drags this Holy site into an area of earthly conflict unbecoming of it. So, he says..Keep it in Awe..Keep it in your consciousness..when the time comes it will be there..It is not a means or path to redemption but the target and sign hat Redemption has come.

The means to redemption is: Jews coming to and creating a just society in Israel. (And for some this is dependent on keeping Jewish law and ritual too. But even they know to be a bit flexible on this point...knowing that it takes time and isa long process of education and maybe reevaluation of what this actually means.)

On the issue of the Temple i would think at least as much restraint is called for.
This is an interesting comment from a rabbi who recently advised IDF soldiers that cruelty is virtuous when employed by Jews. Based on his history of incitements to terror and violence -- resulting in the successful slaughter of more than one thousand Palestinian civilians in the course of the Gaza onslaught -- we can assume Rabbi Aviner is not concerned so much with the humanity of the Palestinians as he is with the proper interpretation of Halachah or the protection of Jewish interests..
I fear you may be totally right about what Aviner's basic concerns are...Although the fact that he does put the issue of the Temple into the realm beyond our daily life and practical goals can be helpful.

we got Aviners in all sides of the conflict ... I am sure we can find some Hamas spiritual-political leaders with same ethno-centric concerns.

we need to avoid of becoming what we critisize. and if we do not want to become pro-Israel or pro-Palestine Aviners we need to include the Aviners (from both sides) in the change process.

I would start with much moderate ones, but I know that even the Aviners are concern for the future of their children, the Palestinaisn and Jewish children.

You do not understand that Jews and Muslims are complex society there are extremists groups in any human group, other wise when it comes to human rights and equality, something does not work.

here some reading for you:
Digging for Trouble: The Politics of Archaeology in East Jerusalem

Jewish group asks AG to halt dig in Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation and the Israel Antiquities Authority have begun excavations dozens of meters from the Temple Mount, with the goal of creating an underground passage linking the Western Wall tunnels to an ancient synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter.

The move sparked opposition from the nonprofit organization Ir Amim, which wrote to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz Tuesday to ask him to order the tunnel construction halted. It also asked him to open a criminal investigation into alleged construction and trespassing offenses.

I think that at this stage of the conflict and the relationship of Israel and Arab Muslims we should wait to stage of political agreement, other wise we are in the hands of extremists who use human rights and equality retoric from both sides of the conflict.
These digs have nothing to do with the temple mount at all they are diggs in th cities themselves but they have little to do with the riots or as you put it "It is all start from Jewish extremists that digging ..... this make Muslem extremists excuse to claim that there is a plan for that."
. The riots were caused by "Jews trying to collapse the mosque". I think what should be concering is all the illegal digging done on the mount my the Wakf

In terms of keeping the status quo,do you believe this across the board. There are many injustices done to the arabs,should they also "wait to stage of political agreement". I am just saying we cannoyt have our cake and eat it too. You cannot say that arabs should be able to use roads that they currently not due to security reasons on one hand and on the other say Jews are not allowed to live in certain parts of Jerusalem. we have to apply our belief equally,no more picking and choosing.
This is not issue of is it true or not, it is issue of normal reaction of extremists from both sides and the need of wisdom and moderation

and I did not said anything about roads and the use of it, why did you broght that up?
Perhaps i have over responded in too much detail about Jewish reaction to the issue of the Temple Mount/Al Aksa Compound. I think that internally the Jewish population must not bury its head in the sand and must openly deal with this topic so i offered a view into the internal debate within the Religious Zionist camp itself.

I believe that on both sides, Moslem and Jewish, it is not only a small group of extremists that will bring us down. I believe that a good number of honest, "normal" people are already being sucked into this as they (Moslem and Jewish) feel that symbols meaningful and close to them are being "attacked" or "robbed from them" by the other side.

I am sure there are religious and traditionally minded Moslems here as well. I would like to hear from them about what is heard in their communities.
I amnot very comfortable with the "extremists on both sides" comparison. Yes there have been a handful of Jews terrorists who have killed innocent Arabs but, you can not compare that to the well over a hundred suicide bombers over the last years. Not to mention the support system. A few nuts in the settlements who have not done more than make somenoise. To a well orginized "govermental" infrastructure who not only indocturnizes, identifty, trains and sends out these killers but supply them with the wepons they use.



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