The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Palestinian arrested for attacking Jew on Temple Mount

A Palestinian suspected of attacking a Jewish visitor on the Temple Mount on Sunday afternoon was under arrest, police said Monday.

The suspect was apprehended Sunday night as he made his way out of the bitterly contested Jerusalem holy site, accompanied by a group of several dozen Palestinians. During his arrest, the Palestinian and several of his friends attacked policemen, and lightly injured two of them, police said. Both officers were taken to hospital for medical treatment. Two other Palestinians involved in the scuffle were also placed under arrest.

Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said Monday that the suspect had shoved a Jewish visitor during a visit to the ancient compound Sunday afternoon without any provocation, in what was the second such Arab-Jewish altercation at the site in the last week.

Earlier Sunday, police detained four ultra-nationalist Israeli Jews who prostrated themselves on the ground of the Temple Mount in prayer and then refused police request to cease and desist. The four, including prominent right-wing activist Yehuda Etzion, were forcibly removed by police from the mount, and then ordered to stay away from the site for the next fifteen days.

The decades-old status quo at the mount, which was restored earlier this month, allows Jews and Christians to visit but not pray at what is Judaism's holiest site, a right that is reserved for Muslims only.

Last week, three Islamic Wakf officials were ordered barred from the Temple Mount for a period ranging between one and two months after trying to prevent Jewish visitors from entering the site.

Sunday's fracas marked the second open Muslim-Jewish confrontation at the Mount since non-Muslim visits were resumed on August 20, after nearly three years when the site remained off limits to Jewish and Christian visitors due to concerns over renewed Palestinian violence.

In the ten days since the site has been reopened, thousands of visitors have flocked to the compound during the morning visiting hours. Nearly all of the visits have passed peacefully.