JERUSALEM (Apr. 12)
In a warning to Arab demonstrators that violence on the Temple Mount will not be tolerated, Police Inspector General David Kraus said Wednesday that police will not hesitate to enter Moslem shrines to prevent them from serving as arsenals for weapons such as “stones, clubs and bottles.”
Kraus said the police were determined to avert a repetition of last Friday’s riots on the Temple Mount, which he described as one of the worst since the city was reunited in 1967.
Among the security measures planned to prevent a recurrence of trouble is the barring of “known troublemakers” from entering the Mount for Friday prayers, and a demand that suspect worshipers deposit their IDs at the entrance to the Temple Mount before entering the holy site.
The army is expected to close off roads leading from the West Bank into Jerusalem to limit the Friday prayers to residents of Jerusalem only.
These plans are the initial result of the recent violence. Both Jewish and Arab worshipers were hurt in the clashes Friday, which began when worshipers first attacked the local police post with stones and then threw stones down on Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall.
In an apparent reprisal, an unidentified gunman killed one Arab near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City on Monday night. This murder ignited another round of violent protests, bringing tensions in the city between Jews and Arabs to a new high.
Unrest has continued in Jerusalem throughout the week: Some 20 Arab youths stoned an Israeli bank branch in East Jerusalem on Wednesday and 10 youths were arrested as suspects. Most shops in East Jerusalem observed the second day of a three-day strike called to protest the Jaffa Gate murder.