Photo Credit: Flash 90
Police block the way of Arabs trying to enter the Temple Mount during riots. (Archive: September 2015)

The U.S. and Jordan have both weighed in with opinions on the rise in Arab violence on the Temple Mount and elsewhere in Jerusalem, but neither told Arab leaders to end the violence.

In a telephone call Tuesday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden “thanked the King for his continued leadership in the region,” said a statement from the White House.

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“The Vice President and King Abdullah also expressed concern about recent violence and rising tensions regarding Jerusalem’s Haram al-Sharif / Temple Mount,” the statement continued.

“The Vice President called on all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions, and to uphold the historic status quo at the holy site.”

The king warned, meanwhile, that any further police “provocation of Muslims in Jerusalem” would damage ties between Israel and Jordan.

“We have received reassurances from the Israeli government that this would not happen,” Abdullah said Tuesday in an English-language statement to journalists after talks in Jordan with UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

“Any more provocations in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel, and Jordan will have no choice but to take action, unfortunately.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu underlined at a meeting of the Security Cabinet Tuesday night that although Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount, rioters would not be allowed to prevent Jews from visiting the Mount. The Prime Minister directed that a further discussion be held next week in order to advance the steps decided on during the evening.

Once again Israeli security personnel were forced to enter the Temple Mount compound on Tuesday morning to contend with Arabs who targeted Jewish visitors for the third day in a row.

The Arabs surrounded the visitors and were screaming “Allahu Akbar!” (God is Great, the Islamic war cry) at the Jews who came on holiday pilgrimage to the Mount – the holiest site in Judaism – in an effort to discourage them from continuing into the area.

When police entered the compound to protect the visitors, Arabs hurled rocks and bottles at security forces, prompting police to respond with riot control measures. The police forced the rioters into the Al Aqsa mosque – where they had stored their “ammunition” and contained them there for the duration of the two-hour visiting hours so those who came to visit the Mount could do so undisturbed.

At least nine were arrested, media reported, and several rioters were injured although none were seriously hurt, according to a Palestinian Red Crescent official.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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