JERUSALEM - More than a dozen Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police at a Jerusalem holy site. Israel originally said Jews would not be allowed to go up to the Temple Mount, but later changed their mind.
It's the first day of Eid al-Adha, the Muslim feast of the sacrifice that commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. Usually al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site for Muslims, is closed to Jewish visitors on Muslim holidays. But it is also Tisha B'av, the day when Jews commemorate the destruction of the first and second Temples on the same site.
Israel backtracked on a decision to close the site to Jewish visitors, and angry Palestinians clashed with police. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to stop the protests.
The holy site is controlled by the Jordanian Waqf, which issued a formal complaint to Israel. Sheikh Yusuf Elbaz, a Muslim religious leader, said Israel had acted improperly.
He said that Israel has no sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa mosque and that Israel is occupying the mosque.
While Jews are usually allowed to visit al-Aqsa, they are not allowed to pray there. All Jewish prayer is at the Western Wall, the last remnant of the retaining wall around the Second Temple.
Israel said it allowed a record number of more than 1,700 Jews to ascend the Temple Mount today, although visits were briefer than usual.
Some Jews hope that the Temple will be rebuilt where the mosque today stands. Gershon Solomon of the Temple Mount Faithful group, says the site should be exclusively Jewish.
He said that we have given up our sovereignty over the Temple Mount and it is embarrassing.
The site that is holy to both Jews and Muslims has been a flashpoint for violence in the past. Israeli officials said they hope the site will remain calm for the next three days of the Muslim holiday.
Source: Voice of America