The Jewish Chronicle
Control clashes trigger Temple Mount arrest
TENSION INCREASED on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount over the weekend after waqf, the site’s Islamic custodian body, forced open a building at the edge of the compound that had been closed by Israel in 2003 and its head was arrested for questioning by police.
The forced entry by the waqf into the Bab a-Rahma building was seen as another attempt to assert their control, 16 years after it was closed by Israel over its use by an Islamic association aligned with Hamas.
After Israeli police barred the doors once more, supportive Palestinians returned and broke the doors open. Since then, police have refrained from evicting them, responding instead with the arrest of the waqf’s Secretary General Sheikh Abdel-Azeem Salhab. He was released a few hours later.
The weekend’s events followed a escalation in the struggle for control of the compound between all the sides involved.
The waqf has complained that Israeli police are growing increasingly lax at imposing the status quo on the Mount, which allows Jews to visit at prescribed hours during weekdays, but forbids them from praying.
Another recent development was the Jordanian royal house’s decision to add seven Palestinian members associated with the Fatah faction to the waqf council. The move was seen as a gesture by King Abdullah to his own Palestinian subjects living in Jordan.
The past 18 months have been relatively calm after violence around the Temple Mount in 2017.
But the threat of escalation remains on other fronts — such as on the borders of Gaza, and in the West Bank, where there is fury at an Israeli decision to freeze £100 million in Palestinian funds.