On Friday, three Palestinians and three Israelis died after the Netanyahu Administration infringed the status quo of the Temple Mount by installing metal detectors and banning Palestinian men under the age of fifty from entering the holy site.
Thousands of Palestinians were gathered in the area when Israeli security forces began to use force against the demonstrators, who responded by throwing stones at police.
In an ‘attempt to control the situation,’ numerous Israeli policemen used tear gas, water cannons, and fired real bullets randomly against the demonstrators, causing the death of three of them, and injuring hundreds more.
The demonstrations spread rapidly to Gaza and the West Bank, where a young Palestinian stabbed three Israelis to death in revenge for Netanyahu’s decision to violate a Muslim holy place.
Abbas announced, “the suspension of contacts with Israel on all levels and the suspension of coordination until all the measures currently being taken at al-Aqsa mosque are stopped.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issued statements condemning both incidents. He called “on all to refrain from any actions or words that could further escalate an already volatile situation.”
UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said, reporters, that “ultimately, what is important is for all of the people at the holy sites, including all the worshipers at the holy sites, to feel that their religious freedoms are being respected.”
On Saturday, Netanyahu said that the metal detectors will remain at the entrance of the Temple Mount, despite the fact that numerous advisors had recommended their removal. They also believe that Netanyahu’s unilateral action will worsen the Palestine-Israeli conflict, leading to unpredictable consequences.
Despite the different versions of the facts, many still believe that the second intifada began in September 2000 when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, seen by Palestinians as desecration and which has resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.
The Temple Mount is one of the holiest places in Islam and in Judaism. According to Judaism, this is the place where God’s divine presence is manifested more strongly than at any other holy site. For Muslims, the site is one of the first places where God was worshiped. They believe it was from here that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the “Divine Presence” on the back of a winged horse.
Over the last few years, the Palestinians have accused PM Netanyahu of planning to build a Third Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which is currently illegal under Israeli law. However, Netanyahu’s coalition with the far right-wing leader Avigdor Lieberman, who supports the construction of the new Jewish temple in the compound has many Palestinians concerned that Netanyahu will soon change the law in order to allow it.
Several international human rights organizations have said that the current situation in Jerusalem has deteriorated to the point that if it does not soon improve a new uprising may occur.
Some have suggested that Netanyahu and Lieberman are intentionally instigating the current increase in violence in Jerusalem with the intention of using it as a pretext to occupy the Temple Mount compound and expand what many consider to be their ethnic cleansing operations in Palestine.
The international community, however, has yet to condemn PM Netanyahu’s actions, which are currently illegal under Israeli law.
Over the next several weeks, several countries will likely be involved in the conflict. Until then, more incidents, which could occur in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as in Jerusalem, are expected.