EghtesadOnline: Three Palestinian protesters were killed in clashes Friday in Jerusalem and the West Bank while three Israeli citizens were later killed in a stabbing attack in the West Bank as unrest grew over a contested shrine.
The three Palestinian protesters died in clashes with Israeli security forces Friday over Israel’s installation of metal detectors and cameras at entrances to the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, known to Jews as Temple Mount. Some demonstrators had hurled rocks and firebombs after Islamic leaders called on Muslims to march Friday, their holy day, to protest. The Israelis died in a subsequent attack near Ramallah in the West Bank when four Israeli citizens were stabbed. The Palestinian assailant was shot but it wasn’t immediately clear what his condition was, according to Bloomberg.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would freeze all contacts with Israel in protest over the new measures, though it wasn’t clear whether that would target security coordination in the West Bank. Thousands of Muslims prayed in the streets near the shrine rather than pass through the detectors. The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed the fatalities.
Israel says the new measures are necessary for security after Israeli Arab gunmen killed two policemen at the compound last week, but Muslims opposed to their presence view them as a tightening of Jewish control over the site holy to both faiths.
The security measures were criticized by the Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation as well as by Jordan, which sees it as disrupting the delicate status quo in place at the complex since the 1967 war, which retained the Hashemite kingdom’s role as its custodian.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the status quo will be maintained. The U.S. has expressed concern about the frictions, and called on Israel and Jordan to find a solution. The Palestinian Authority leadership was expected to meet to discuss the escalating situation.
The hilltop compound has been a frequent flashpoint for violence. Contesting claims to the shrine have touched off wider Israeli-Palestinian confrontations, including clashes that expanded into the second Palestinian uprising.