World Bulletin/News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the current status quo at East Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound – which Jews refer to as the "Temple Mount" – would remain unchanged.
"In last night's security consultation, the prime minister made it clear that there will be no change in the status quo on the Temple Mount and that whoever expresses a different opinion is presenting a personal view and not the policy of the government," Netanyahu's foreign media adviser, Mark Regev, said in a statement.
Last month, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowments and Heritage, a Palestinian NGO, said that the Knesset (Israel's parliament) planned to discuss a draft law aimed at partitioning the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound between Muslims and Jews.
Tension has been running high in East Jerusalem since Israel closed the mosque compound last week after an extremist rabbi was injured in a West Jerusalem shooting.
Israeli authorities reopened the Al-Aqsa on Friday following a day of violent clashes with Palestinian protesters, but barred male Muslim worshippers under 50 years old from entering the site.
Last week's closure of Al-Aqsa, along with the killing of a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi, fueled angry protests by Palestinians in East Jerusalem.
On Wednesday, an Israeli police officer was killed when a Palestinian driver ran over a group of Israeli pedestrians in East Jerusalem. A second Israeli later died of his injuries at hospital, while 14 others were injured in the incident.
The Palestinian motorist who ran them over, meanwhile, was shot and killed by Israeli police at the site of the attack.
In a subsequent incident on Wednesday, three Israeli soldiers were injured when a Palestinian van rammed into them near the Al-Aroub refugee camp in the West Bank city of Hebron.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
In September 2000, a visit to the Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.
AALast Mod: 06 Kasım 2014, 12:50