JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A far-right politician who wants Jews to be allowed to pray at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa compound visited the site on Sunday, defying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s calls for restraint after clashes this week between Israeli police and Palestinians.
Sunday was the first day the compound, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, was open to non-Muslims since an Israeli-American activist was shot and seriously wounded after speaking out against the prayer ban.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Muslim men over 50 prayed at the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday amid intense security, a day after Israel closed all access to the sacred compound for the first time in more than a decade following violence on the streets.
More than 1,000 Israeli police were deployed around the Old City’s cobbled streets and the ancient gates that lead to Al Aqsa, a spokeswoman said, in addition to undercover anti-riot units and observation balloons hovering in the sky.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Muslim worshippers over the age of 50 returned to pray at Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, a day after Israeli authorities shut down all access to the sacred compound following violence in East Jerusalem.
The Muslim quarter of the Old City was calm early in the day, the Muslim holy day, and police said pre-dawn prayers had passed off without incident. However, security was tight ahead of midday prayers, when more people were expected to attend.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police on Thursday shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian man suspected of having tried hours earlier to kill a far-right Jewish activist, leading to fierce clashes in East Jerusalem and fears of a new Palestinian uprising.
The Al-Aqsa compound, or Temple Mount, a holy site at the heart of the latest violence, was shut down for almost an entire day to all visitors as a security precaution. It was the first full closure of the site, venerated by both Jews and Muslims, in 14 years. Late on Thursday Israeli police reopened the complex.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli police on Thursday shot dead a 32-year-old Palestinian suspected of having tried hours earlier to kill a far-right Jewish activist, leading to clashes in East Jerusalem and fears of a new Palestinian uprising.
Moataz Hejazi’s body lay in a pool of blood among satellite dishes on the rooftop of a three-story house in Abu Tor, a district of Arab East Jerusalem, as Israeli forces sealed the area and repelled stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.
RAMALLAH West Bank (Reuters) – The Palestinians’ chief peace negotiator has laid out in the clearest terms yet plans to establish an independent Palestinian state within three years, even if it means ignoring pleas from the United States not to push ahead.
Expressing deep frustration and a degree of resignation that years of efforts to forge a two-state solution with the Israelis have made next to no progress, Saeb Erekat said there was no option other than to make a unilateral push for statehood.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – If there were a heat map showing instability in the Middle East, the area around most of Israel’s borders would have turned a steadily deeper shade of red over the past few years.
With attacks by Hezbollah from Lebanon, the threat from Islamic State and the Nusra Front in Syria and growing unrest in Egypt’s Sinai, the north and south are on edge. By comparison, the eastern frontier with Jordan looks like an oasis of calm.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli and Palestinian police kept a tight watch over the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday amid high tension between Muslims and Jewish visitors to the holy site and calls from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to defend it by “all means”.
Clashes have flared repeatedly in the past few weeks as increasing numbers of Jews have visited the sacred area during the Jewish holidays, angering Palestinians who see this as part of an Israeli agenda to alter a long-preserved status quo.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – European officials are looking at new ways to press Israel to halt its building of settlements on land the Palestinians want for a state, as frustration over the construction program reaches a new high, European diplomats say.
The discussions are at an early stage, but officials say the European Union may look at stopping Jewish settlers convicted of crimes from visiting the EU and could examine the fine print of a free-trade agreement, although there is no talk of sanctions.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Erel Margalit has packed a lot in, from frontline combat in Lebanon to a PhD in philosophy at Columbia University, advising Jerusalem’s former mayor and launching a billion dollar venture capital firm. Now his focus is politics, and trying to reboot the original “start-up nation”.
Dressed in a designer black t-shirt and dark jeans, 53-year-old Margalit retains the air and style of a multi-millionaire high-tech entrepreneur. With fluent, American-accented English, he is as much at home in Silicon Valley or New York as Israel.