After two Israeli policemen were shot and killed, the response was to employ non-violent measures to curb future behavior. This was of course met with extreme fury and baseless accusations regarding motive. It is easy to see now how this area will explode and become the focus of prophesy for the region.
Israel bolstered security in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday and prepared for possible clashes with Muslim worshippers after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided metal detectors at a sensitive holy site would not be removed.
There have been daily confrontations between Palestinians hurling rocks and Israeli police using stun grenades since the detectors were placed at the entrance to the shrine, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, on Sunday, after the killing of two Israeli policemen.
Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions have urged the faithful to gather for a “day of rage” against the new security policies, which they see as changing delicate agreements that have governed the holy site for decades.
The Israeli police said extra units had been mobilised to bolster security in the Old City, while Muslim access to the shrine for prayers would be limited to women of all ages and men over 50. Roadblocks were in place on approach roads to Jerusalem to stop buses carrying Muslims to the site.
On Thursday, there were calls for Netanyahu to back down and remove the metal detectors so as not to inflame the situation. But after a late-night meeting of his security cabinet, Netanyahu decided the metal detectors should stay. Officials said they were necessary to ensure Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs do not smuggle weapons into the holy compound.
“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy places,” the security cabinet said in a statement.