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Home > News & Politics > Israel > Violence erupts at Temple Mount

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Violence erupts at Temple Mount
Protests follow Likud leader's visit to holy site

Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 29, 2000

JERUSALEM—Violence that erupted Thursday at the site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem escalated earlier this morning, leaving three Palestinian protesters dead and dozens more injured. Some 30 Israeli policemen were also wounded.

Arab Ministers of Knesset Abdul Malik Dehamshe (left) and Ahmed Tibi encouraging violent response by Palestinians against the Likud visit. They were reportedly shouting "murderer out" against Ariel Sharon who was defense minister during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

According to the Associated Press, Israeli riot police fired rubber bullets and live rounds at hundreds of stone-throwing Palestinians Friday. The violence later spread to other areas of traditionally Arab east Jerusalem as well as parts of the West Bank, including Bethlehem, the news agency reported.

Palestinians were protesting Thursday's visit to the site by Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon and a group of Likud Knesset members. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that Palestinian incitement after the visit, rather than the visit itself, was to blame for the violence, according to the Israel Resource News Agency.

The policemen suffered light wounds. They fired rubber bullets, reportedly wounding two Palestinians. The Knesset members were protected by a large number of police officers.

Four Arab Knesset members came to the site as well, and engaged in a heated exchange with the Likud Knesset members. They shouted "murderer" at Sharon. Abdulmalik Dehamshe of the United Arab List and a Palestinian leader, Faisal Husseini, claimed police attacked them.

Likud leader Ariel Sharon being closely escorted by security personnel on the Temple Mount. In the background is the dome of the Al-Aksa mosque.

The visit lasted for about an hour, during which the Knesset members visited the site of Solomon Stables, which the Palestinians have turned into a new mosque.

Sharon said recent digging and construction works carried out by the Wakf, the Islamic religious authority, have caused considerable damage to the site. He said his visit was no provocation because every Jew has the right to visit the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount is holy to both Jews and Arabs. Justice Minister Yossi Beilin said that although the visit was "legitimate," Sharon "succeeded to make everything a provocation."

Knesset member Yossi Sarid, leader of the secular Meretz Party, said the visit to Temple Mount was really part of the race between Sharon and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the leadership of the Likud.

© JTA Inc., 2000. May not be reproduced without written permission


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