Jerusalem clashes

This item appears on page 62 of the November 2015 issue.

Palestinian protesters entered Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and the al-Aqsa Mosque on Sept. 13 due to concerns among Palestinians that Israeli police might force open the al-Aqsa Mosque to Jewish worshipers during Rosh Hashanah (one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar). 

Palestinians armed with rocks and fire-bombs barricaded themselves in the mosque and used them against Israeli police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Both Palestinian aid organizations and Israeli police reported only minor injuries during the initial skirmishes. 

The Temple Mount, controlled by Jordan under an agreement with Israel but patrolled by Israeli security, is considered holy to Islam and is the holiest site in Judaism. Jews are allowed to worship on the Temple Mount but not in the mosque. During the successive Jewish festivals of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, the Temple Mount becomes increasingly popular among Jewish worshipers.

Violence escalated in late September and Israeli security forces killed at least two Palestinians. On Oct. 2, an American-Israeli and his Israeli wife were killed in the West Bank in a drive-by shooting. Israeli security forces closed the Old City of Jerusalem to most Palestinians on Oct. 5 after a series of stabbings left one Israeli dead and two wounded.