Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MIDEAST: Is Jerusalem Burning?

Analysis by Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, Inter Press Service

JERUSALEM, Oct 26 (IPS) – Déjà vu on one of the world’s most volatile religious sites, a site deeply revered by both Muslims and Jews.

On Sunday, Israeli police helicopters circle over the Al-Aqsa mosque and the adjacent Golden Dome of the Rock from where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven and where, for Jews, two Biblical temples once stood.

In the narrow alleyways below, heavy Israeli police reinforcements, batons, tear-gas and shock grenades at the ready in order to confront young Palestinian protesters.

On the contested ‘Temple Mount’ (for Jews), ‘Haram el-Sharif’ or ‘Noble Sanctuary’ (for Muslims), clashes soon erupt – dozens are lightly injured on both sides; the Israeli police arrest 21 Palestinians, among them the former Palestinian Authority minister in charge of Jerusalem, Hatim Abdel Qader.

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