Hundreds Arrested during Clash on Temple Mount

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

Important Takeaways:

  • Over 300 arrested in Temple Mount clashes, Jordan demands Israel remove forces ‘immediately’
  • Israeli security forces entered Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem before dawn as thousands of Palestinians were gathered for prayers during the holy month of Ramadan, setting off clashes that medics said wounded at least 67 Palestinians.
  • Several dozen Palestinians had barricaded themselves in the mosque, and security forces removed them. News sources reported that hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested.
  • Israel said its forces entered to remove rocks and stones that had been gathered in anticipation of violence. The holy site, which is sacred to Jews and Muslims, has often been the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian unrest, and tensions were already heightened amid a recent wave of violence.
  • Due to intelligence about terrorist plots, with Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria being the main targets, police were at the highest level of alert, and operations to locate and arrest suspected terrorists continued nationwide.

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Israel hit by two earthquakes in 12hrs. The Bible predicts more to come

Jeremiah 10:10 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation

Important Takeaways:

  • TWO EARTHQUAKES IN JUST 12 HOURS ROCK NORTHERN ISRAEL
  • According to the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command, the epicenter of the quake was some 16 kilometers (9.9 miles) southeast of Tiberias. The tremor measured 4.1 on the Richter scale
  • Massive earthquakes in Israel are prophesied to accompany the multinational Gog and Magog conflict that will signal the end of times. Earthquakes and volcanoes are explicitly mentioned by the prophets as playing a role in the end of days, preparing the world by burning away impurities as a crucible is used in metallurgy to purify metal.
  • These earthquakes will be so severe as to cause geographic changes in the Temple Mount, requiring the construction of an entirely new city
  • The earthquake will also split the Mount of Olives in two.

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Battered stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall get the full treatment

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The ancient stones that make up Jerusalem’s Western Wall are showing the scars of weathering from two millennia of scorching sunlight and driving rain.

To stop them getting worse and to ensure their integrity, Israeli conservators are giving the stones a face lift, mending the cracks and filling out their battered surfaces.

The Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, is an outer remnant of the second of two Jewish temples, built by Herod the Great more than 2,000 years ago and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

It nestles in Jerusalem’s old city, next to a sacred compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, a short walk from Christianity’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Huge crowds gather at the wall for prayer sessions and visitors often stuff notes in cracks between the stones.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) tracks the condition of each stone and has begun treating the surface of those most in need.

Using a portable lift and a medical syringe, its team delicately injects a limestone-based grout into the gaps and fissures in the stones.

“It is the best possible method of healing the stones and the ultimate defense against weathering,” said IAA’s Yossi Vaknin.

And it is not just the climate that has taken a toll, he said. Plants have taken root and birds nest in the wall, making the repair work even more necessary.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, editing by Ed Osmond)

Prayers at Jerusalem mosque end peacefully after days of tension

Palestinian Muslims enter the Golden Gate near Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prayers at the compound of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque passed off peacefully on Friday despite a week of tension over access to a corner of the compound.

Israeli police had increased their presence over concerns of violence as thousands of Muslim worshippers gathered at the holy site, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Before the prayer session, police arrested 60 people they suspected would incite violence, a police spokesman said.

The dispute focused on a passageway of gates and a stairway leading to a hall that had been closed by Israeli authorities for years and was reopened on Friday by Muslim religious officials. The hall is located a short distance from Al-Aqsa mosque itself.

Israeli police had heightened their presence throughout Jerusalem’s walled old city to prevent any clashes from breaking out, the police spokesman said.

The old city was among areas Israel captured in a 1967 war with Jordan, which retains a stewardship role at the mosque.

(Reporting by Ali Sawafta; Editing by Alison Williams)

Tens of thousands at Jerusalem’s Western Wall for priestly blessing

Jewish worshippers, some covered in prayer shawls, pray during a priestly blessing on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of worshippers packed Jerusalem’s Western Wall plaza on Wednesday to receive a blessing from members of Judaism’s priestly caste.

Holding prayers shawls above their heads and covering their faces, the priests, known as “Kohanim” in Hebrew, began chanting the blessing, which begins: “The Lord bless you and keep you”.

The ceremony is held during the Jewish holidays of Passover and Sukkot, the latter of which is being celebrated this week.

A Jewish worshipper prays during a priestly blessing on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A Jewish worshipper prays during a priestly blessing on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

The Kohanim on Wednesday included the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.

“It’s my opportunity to bless the people of Israel,” Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, told reporters.

According to Jewish tradition, Kohanim are descendants of Aaron, Moses’s brother, whose offspring served as priests in the biblical temples of Jerusalem. Many Jews with surnames such as Cohen, Kahan and Katz are Kohanim.

The Western Wall is a remnant of the compound of the Second Temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. It stands today beneath a religious plaza known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller)

Israel says it foiled planned ISIS-inspired attack at Jerusalem holy site

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Thursday it had thwarted a plan by two Israeli Arabs with Islamic State sympathies to mount an attack at a contested Jerusalem holy site where a July gun ambush set off a wave of violence.

The Shin Bet security service described the suspects, aged 26 and 16, as residents of the same Israeli Arab town as three gunmen who on July 14 killed two police guards at a gate to Al-Aqsa mosque compound and were then shot dead.

Israel responded to that attack by briefly installing metal detectors outside the compound, angering Palestinians who saw that as a breach of decades-old access arrangements.

Four Palestinians were killed during ensuing confrontations with Israeli security forces and a Palestinian stabbed three Israeli settlers to death.

The two suspects taken into custody this month “support the Islamic State terrorist group’s murderous ideology and the terrorist attack was meant to be carried out in expression of this”, the Shin Bet said in its statement on Thursday.

It said they had two pistols. “They planned a gun attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem similar to what transpired on July 14,” it said without elaborating.

Jews revere the site, where Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock now stand, as the location of their two ancient temples. Attempts by Jews to pray there, in violation of access arrangements, have been a source of tension with Muslims.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the holy compound, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in a move that has never been recognized internationally.

(Reporting by Dan Williams; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and Andrew Roche)

Jordan’s King Abdullah discusses holy site tensions in Ramallah

Jordan's King Abdullah II walks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a reception ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah, August 7, 2017.

By Ali Sawafta

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Jordan’s King Abdullah met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Monday for the first time in five years to discuss tensions at a Jerusalem holy site and wider political developments.

While the two leaders meet fairly frequently in Amman and other regional capitals, Abdullah has not visited Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, since December 2012.

The king flew in by helicopter, with the visit coordinated with Israeli authorities which control all entrance and exit points to the West Bank, including its 150 km (93 mile) border with Jordan and the air space above.

The visit comes two weeks since a surge in violence in Jerusalem after Israel installed metal detectors at Muslim entrances to the Al Aqsa mosque compound, following the killing of two Israeli policemen.

The change in security led to days of protests and clashes between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli security forces before Israel, after consultations with Jordan, decided to remove the metal detectors and other measures.

Jordan has been the custodian of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites since the 1920s. The compound, which sits on a tree-lined plateau in the Old City, is also revered by Jews, who call it Temple Mount, the site of two destroyed ancient Jewish temples.

“We discussed all issues of mutual interest and we agreed to form a crisis committee that will continue contacts to evaluate what has happened, the lessons to be learned and the challenges we may face at Al Aqsa mosque,” Palestinian Foreign Minister Reyad Al-Maliki told reporters after the meeting.

Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and has growing, if little discussed, economic ties with its neighbor, often plays a mediating role in the region.

With a large percentage of Jordan’s population made up of Palestinians, and Jordan sharing a border with the West Bank, which the Palestinians want for their own state together with East Jerusalem and Gaza, its position is sensitive.

Maliki said Abbas and Abdullah also discussed U.S.-led efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have been suspended for the past three years, and stated that Israel must “recognize the principle of a two-state solution and end provocative settlement activity that is designed to prevent the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.”

President Donald Trump’s regional envoy, Jason Greenblatt, has made several trips to Amman, Ramallah and Jerusalem this year to try to find common ground and Maliki said U.S. envoys were expected to visit again in the coming days but there is little sign of enthusiasm on anyone’s part to restart talks.

Abdullah is also playing a role in liaising with Egypt and others to see if long-standing differences between Abbas’s Western-backed Fatah party and the rival Hamas Islamist movement can be resolved and Maliki said the issue was discussed.

Hamas, which won the last parliamentary elections held in the Palestinian territories in 2005, seized full control of Gaza after a struggle with Fatah in 2007.

Over the past several months, Abbas, as head of the Palestinian Authority, has stepped up pressure on Hamas, cutting off salaries for civil servants in Gaza, limiting payments for electricity imports and some medicines.

The aim appears to be to oust Hamas from power, but there is little sign of that happening and efforts are being made by regional powers to resolve the internal fighting.

 

(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Writing by Luke Baker and Ori Lewis, Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

 

Thousands rally in Istanbul against Israel’s Al-Aqsa mosque measures

Thousands rally in Istanbul against Israel's Al-Aqsa mosque measures

By Murad Sezer and Mehmet Emin Caliskan

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Thousands of people rallied in Turkey’s largest city on Sunday against security measures Israel has imposed at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, shortly after Israel removed other measures that led to two weeks of violent Palestinian protests.

The rally in Istanbul, called “The Big Jerusalem Meeting” and organized by Turkey’s Saadet Party, drew some five thousand people to the Yenikapi parade ground on the southern edge of Istanbul.

Protesters were brought in by buses and ferries from across the city, waved Turkish and Palestinian flags, and held up posters in front of a giant stage where the chairman of the Saadet party and representatives from NGOs addressed the crowd.

“The Al-Aqsa mosque is our honor,” read a poster.

“You should know that not only Gaza, but Tel Aviv also has their eyes on this parade ground. Netanyahu does as well, and he is scared”, said Saadet Party Chairman Temel Karamollaoglu, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Turkey has opposed the security measures installed at the entry points of the mosque compound, with President Tayyip Erdogan warning Israel that it would suffer most from the dispute.

Erdogan accused Israel of inflicting damage on Jerusalem’s “Islamic character”, in comments that Israel’s foreign ministry called “absurd”.

The dispute over security at the mosque compound – where Israel installed metal detectors at entry points after two police guards were shot dead this month – has touched off the bloodiest clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in years.

On Friday however, the main prayer session at the Al-Aqsa mosque ended relatively calmly after Israel removed the tougher security measures, though it barred entrance to men under age 50.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the holy compound, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in a move that has never been recognized internationally.

Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, sits in the heart of the Old City. It is also the holiest place in Judaism – the venue of two ancient temples, the last destroyed by the Romans. Jews pray under heavy security at the Western Wall at the foot of the elevated plaza.

(Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu, editing by Larry King)

Israel bans men under 50 from disputed Jerusalem holy site on Friday

Palestinians react as a stun grenade explodes in a street at Jerusalem's Old city outside the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, after Israel removed all security measures it had installed at the compound. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel sent extra police into Jerusalem on Friday and said men under the age of 50 would be banned from the Old City’s Al-Aqsa mosque for the day in anticipation of more mass protests.

Tensions have been high at the compound for two weeks, often erupting into clashes, after two Israeli police officers were killed there, prompting Israel to install metal detectors at the entrance to the site and a subsequent Muslim boycott.

Under immense diplomatic pressure Israel removed the metal detectors on Thursday, a move welcomed by the Arab world, but violence quickly returned when thousands of Muslim worshippers surged into the mosque.

Before Israel removed the new security apparatus, Palestinian factions had called for a “day of rage” on Friday.

“Security assessments were made and there are indications that disturbances and demonstrations will take place today,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

“Extra police and border police are in and around the Old City and will respond to any disturbances.”

He said women of all ages will be allowed into the site, referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the holy compound, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area in a move that has never been recognised internationally.

Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest shrine, sits on a tree-lined marble plateau in the heart of the Old City. It is also the holiest place in Judaism – the venue of two ancient temples, the last destroyed by the Romans. Jews pray under heavy security at the Western Wall at the foot of the elevated plaza.

The dispute, like many in the Holy Land, is about more than security devices, taking in issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, occupation and Palestinian nationalism.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Muslim elders urge return to prayer as Israel backs down over Al-Aqsa

Palestinian women shout slogans after a prayer outside the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

By Luke Baker and Ali Sawafta

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Muslim elders urged worshippers to return to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Thursday after Israel backed down in the face of 10 days of often-violent protests and removed all security measures it had installed at the site.

Israel’s decision marks a significant climbdown by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and comes after days of diplomatic effort by the United Nations, the involvement of President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy and pressure from countries in the region including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

The dispute began after Israel installed metal detectors, cameras and steel barriers at Muslim entrances to Al-Aqsa compound, also known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, following the July 14 killing of two Israeli policemen by Arab gunmen who had concealed weapons there.

The extra security provoked days of unrest, with violent clashes on the streets of East Jerusalem. Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians in the fighting, and a Palestinian man stabbed and killed three Israelis in their home.

Most Muslims have refused to enter the compound for the past two weeks, instead praying in the streets around the Old City.

But Muslim elders declared themselves satisfied that Israeli authorities had reverted to how security was before July 14.

“The technical report showed that all obstacles the occupation (Israel) put outside Al-Aqsa mosque were removed,” said Abdel-Azeem Salhab, the head of the Waqf, the Jordanian-funded trust that oversees Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites.

“We praise this stand in the past two weeks outside Al-Aqsa and we want this stand to continue outside Al-Aqsa and now inside Al-Aqsa,” he said, urging worshippers to return to pray.

Palestinian political factions issued statements supporting the Waqf announcement, which may help quell the unrest. Before the announcement, factions had been calling for a “day of rage” on Friday, which would probably have fueled the violence.

Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and has been custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem since 1924, said Israel’s removal of the security measures were an “essential step to calm the situation”.

Saudi Arabia said King Salman had been in contact with the United States and other world powers to try to defuse the tensions and had “stressed the need for the return of calm”. It called for respect for the sanctity of the compound.

“King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, has held contacts with many world leaders over the past few days,” an announcement from the Saudi royal court, published by state news agency SPA, said.

MULTI-FACETED DISPUTE

Palestinian political factions were quick to highlight what they saw as a victory over Israel, with Netanyahu regarded as having backed down. A spokesman for Netanyahu declined to comment on the decision, but the right-wing criticized him.

“Israel is emerging weakened from this crisis, to my regret,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whose right-wing faction is in Netanyahu’s coalition and is a potential challenger for the leadership.

“The truth must be stated. Instead of bolstering our sovereignty in Jerusalem, a message was relayed that our sovereignty can be shaken,” he said.

Netanyahu had insisted that the extra security was needed to ensure safety at the site, which is also popular with tourists. But by taking the steps to bolster security, Israel was materially changing the sensitive status quo, which has governed movement and religious practice for decades.

The Noble Sanctuary contains Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock. The area, which sits on a tree-lined marble plateau in the heart of the Old City, is also holy in Judaism, as the site of two ancient temples and is referred to by Jews as Temple Mount.

The dispute, like many in the Holy Land, is about more than security devices, taking in issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, occupation and Palestinian nationalism.

Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the holy compound, in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the area and declared it part of its “indivisible capital”.

That has never been recognized internationally, with the United Nations and others regarding East Jerusalem as occupied by Israel and maintain that the status of the city can only be determined through negotiations between the parties.

Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s authority in East Jerusalem, which they want as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and are extremely sensitive to the presence of Israeli security forces in and around the Noble Sanctuary.

(Additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Writing by Luke Baker; Editing by Louise Ireland)