Police ‘ready for any situation’ amid huge Muslim protests in Jerusalem

Thousands of police were stationed in Jerusalem outside the Old City and in nearby Arab neighborhoods amid heightened security threats by Muslims protesting the installation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount.

Israeli security forces were fully prepared for the clashes than ensued in Jerusalem on Friday in the wake of new security measures on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third-holiest. Hundreds of Muslim Arabs in and around Jerusalem have been protesting – some violently.

Exactly a week earlier, Israeli Arab terrorists murdered two Druze police officers standing guard at the Mount. Authorities closed the site temporarily, before installing metal detectors at the entrances to prevent future attacks.

Muslim leaders, including the Jordanian Waqf, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Members of Knesset from the Arab Joint List faction have been inciting protests throughout the week, demanding the detectors be removed and claiming that the increased security signals an Israeli move to change the status quo.

After the IDF captured the Old City of Jerusalem in June 1967, Israel gave the Waqf authority to administer the site.

“Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and the freedom of access to the holy sites. The cabinet has authorized Israel Police to ensure free access to the holy sites while maintaining public security and order,” the Prime Minister’s Office stated on Friday.

‘A Red Line Had Been Crossed’

“As Israel’s police force, we have an obligation to provide security to all of Israel’s citizens, no matter who they are. At the same time, we must not forget that the terror attack last week signaled that a red line had been crossed in the sensitive situation on the Temple Mount,” Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh stated. “We are dealing with several challenges both in and out of Jerusalem.

“I believe that our forces are ready for any situation, and will preserve public order and security. We will work to return normalcy and allow Jerusalem’s residents to live an ordinary life. We ask Jerusalem’s residents to work with us to achieve these goals,” he said.

“The decision of Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevy to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount is a courageous decision, because at this time last week two policemen were murdered at the site. This decision is a responsible one that will help to ensure that such incidents do not repeat themselves,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement.

“We will not succumb to threats and allow terror to win,” he declared. “Even if we face security challenges, today and in the future, this is the right decision, and we must stand with the police and support them. I commend the Jerusalem District Police Commander for his leadership in leading the decision and the Cabinet for their backing.

“This is not a political matter; it is a professional, security issue,” he noted. “No one is challenging the status quo on the Temple Mount and I call on all Muslim residents to help maintain the calm, not to act violently and to obey the police’s orders. Those who come to pray in peace are welcome. Those who come to engage in terror and provocation will dealt with harshly. ”

By: Adina Katz, World Israel News