Israel relaxes Jerusalem, West Bank restrictions


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel lifted its closure on the West Bank, and allowed visitors to the Temple Mount.

The relaxing of restrictions on Wednesday came one day after Palestinian rioting in eastern Jerusalem and the Old City. Some 100 Palestinians and 14 Israeli troops, including a soldier by live gunfire, were injured.

The West Bank had been closed since March 11.

Jerusalem remained calm on Wednesday afternoon, though police remain on high alert, according to reports.

The rioting was to protest the rededication Monday night of the ancient Hurva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The violence also is linked reportedly to Israel’s approval of a 1,600-apartment building plan in an eastern Jerusalem Jewish neighborhood.

On Tuesday, rocks were thrown at two buses driving through Jaffa, an apparent response to the unrest.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden reportedly spoke on the phone Tuesday night, though no details of the conversation were released. The announcement of the building plan in eastern Jerusalem was made during Biden’s visit to Israel and has stirred tensions between Israel and the United States.

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