Muslims and Israeli Police Collide at Jerusalem Holy Site

On early Sunday, August 4, 2019, a sacred day for both Jewish and Islamic communities on the religious calendar, a massive crowd of Palestinians had gathered at the doors of the Holy Site after it was rumored had circulated that the Jewish individuals were granted the permission to enter the Holy Site by the officials.

According to Jewish officials, a colossal amount of people had flocked to the Holy Site in Jerusalem’s Old City, in an attempt to engage in prayers signifying the beginning of Eid al-Adha, as scuffle broke after the protestors started to gather around the one single door from which the non-Muslims would be able to enter the Holy Site.

The crown began to throw rocks and chairs at the guards after chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest). In retaliation to the violence, the police officers guarding the doors fired stun grenades, rubber-coated pellets and swirled tear gas into the Holy Site in an attempt to disperse the wild crowd. According to the Red Crescent, about 37 Muslims were wounded in the conflicts. Four policemen were slightly wounded in the clash, Israeli officials stated.

A senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official, Hanan Ashrawi, accused Israel of causing political and religious tension by giving the following statement:

“The storming of al-Aqsa mosque compound by Israeli occupation forces this Eid morning is an act of recklessness and aggression.”

In an attempt to prevent chaos on the Holy Site, prior to the conflicts, the police prohibited the entry of non-Muslim visitors, including Jews. Police official Doron Yedid of the district of Jerusalem informed Israeli media that the choice to allow Jewish visitors to enter the site was made “with the backing of the top political officials.”

Under a long-standing agreement between Israel and the Muslim authorities, Jews are prohibited from praying at the Holy Site. Jewish tradition also asserts that Jews must not enter the holy place.