Once again the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has become the focal point of tensions between Israeli authorities and Muslim worshippers.
The latest troubles were sparked by a terrorist attack on Friday 14th July, in which two Israeli policemen were killed and a third injured near the Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem. The terrorists fled to the Temple Mount complex but were killed there by Israeli police.
That led to a highly unusual closure of the site for Friday prayers and the Israelis later installed metal detectors to improve security at the site. However, Muslims refused to pass through the detectors and prayed outside the complex instead. They argued that abiding by the new security measures would reinforce Israel’s claim to sovereignty over the area.
Protests increased in scale until those held on Friday 21st resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians and prompted a retaliatory terror attack in which three Israelis were killed in their home.
The troubles continued over the weekend and have now led to the Israeli Government removing the new metal detectors, under pressure from the international community as well as local Muslims.
However, that latest move is a controversial one, with one Israeli minister saying the removal of the new security measures is “a capitulation and surrender to terrorism.”
We can only wait to see how this situation develops from here.