CMEP Bulletin: Tensions in Jerusalem
Weekly update from Churches for Middle East Peace
Tensions over the Temple Mount or Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem spiked and fears of more violence increased after the shooting on Wednesday of an activist Rabbi who has campaigned to change the status quo by expanding Jewish access and rebuilding a Jewish Temple on the site. This was followed by the killing of a Palestinian suspect at his home early Thursday by Israeli police and the announcement by Israeli authorities that the Temple mount would be closed on Friday, reportedly the first time it has been closed since 2000. Since 1967 under an agreement the site has been controlled by Jordanian Muslim religious authorities (Waqf) who allow non-Muslims to visit the site at certain times during the day but not to pray there. Closing of the site was denounced by Jordanian and Palestinians officials. Police reinforcements were brought into Jerusalem on Friday, but despite threats order was generally maintained. Secretary Kerry called for calm, avoiding provocations and maintaining the status quo.