Israelis have moved to ban a fringe religious Jewish group from the Temple Mount complex next week, fearing a repeat of October violence that killed at least 17 Moslems.
Two months ago, rioting erupted on the Temple Mount when thousands of Palestinians gathered because they believed the Temple Mount Faithful would try to lay a cornerstone for a third Jewish Temple.Police opened fire and killed at least 17 Moslems in the worst violence in Jerusalem since the start of the Palestinian uprising.
The small fringe religious group wants to march through the walled Old City's Moslem Quarter with torches and then enter the Temple Mount complex in pairs on Monday to mark the end of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
The eight-day festival commemorates the rededication of the Jewish Temple in 165 B.C. by Jews who waged a guerrilla war against Syrian ruler Antiochus IV because of religious persecution.
In a special debate on the Temple Mount Faithful's proposed activities, the parliament's internal-affairs committee decided Wednesday it was necessary to prevent such demonstrations on the Temple Mount, Israel Radio reported. Despite initial reports, a permit has not been granted because no permit is necessary, a police spokesman said.
Known in Arabic as the Haram esh Sharif, the Temple Mount complex is Islam's holiest site with the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. The area also is the site of the ancient Jewish Temple, and Jews pray nearby at the Western Wall, the outer retaining wall of the Temple.
Authorities had banned the Temple Mount Faithful from the complex on Oct. 8, but rumors spread among the Palestinians that the small fringe Jewish group would still attempt to lay a cornerstone. The slayings sparked a series of stabbing attacks against Israelis, including the killings of three Jews in a quiet Jerusalem neighborhood.
Police said Wednesday they will wait until Monday to decide whether to allow the Temple Mount Faithful access to the area, Israel Radio reported.
In the Israeli-occupied West Bank Wednesday, a 13-year-old Palestinian girl was killed after hundreds of schoolchildren stoned Israeli civilian cars, Palestinian sources said. Palestinian sources said Israeli settlers and soldiers opened fire.