Palestinian rioters hurled rocks, chairs and fireworks at thousands of Israeli Jews who ascended the flashpoint Temple Mount on Sunday to celebrate Jerusalem Day, amid warnings by the Palestinian Authority that Israel was “playing with fire.”
The violence comes ahead of the controversial Flag March, in which Jews armed with Israeli flags march through the Old City of Jerusalem — including the Muslim Quarter — to celebrate the day, which marks the reunification of Jerusalem after Israeli troops recaptured it from Jordanian occupation during the 1967 defensive Six Day War.
Some Israelis waved Israeli flags on the Temple Mount, in violation of an arrangement with the Jordanian Islamic Waqf that administers the site, which is Judaism’s holiest and Islam’s third holiest.
Including far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir, who just last month was banned from visiting the flashpoint site. pic.twitter.com/IKXJ9ppxbQ
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) May 29, 2022
The arrangement also bars Jewish prayer on the site. Muslims are permitted to ascend the site, which houses the Al Aqsa Mosque, every day and pray there while Jewish visitors are restricted to certain hours and even uttering a Jewish prayer under one’s breath can be cause for detention.
A large group of Jews were removed from the site and detained, Israel Police said.
Some 1,800 Jews visited the site in the morning.
On Saturday night, the organizers of the Flag March called for marchers to heed the instructions of Israel Police and not be “provoked” by counter-protesters or Palestinians.
A spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday said Israel was “playing with fire” by allowing “settlers to desecrate holy sites” on Jerusalem Day.
“[Israel] is disregarding international law and considers itself above the law,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh said, according to remarks carried by the official WAFA news agency.
Abu Rudeineh called on “the international community, especially the US administration, to assume their responsibilities regarding what is taking place.”
Last year, Jerusalem Day marked the launch of an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, after the terror group fired rockets into civilian populations over what it claimed was a “violation of Al-Aqsa.”
The terror group on Saturday called on Palestinians “to rise up on Sunday to defend Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque.”