Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a toughening of the penalties for throwing stones, after Israeli forces stormed occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque for a third day.
“We will give instruments to policemen and soldiers so that they can take very firm action against those who throw stones and Molotov cocktails”, he said.
The Jordanian-run Waqf organisation which administers the location stated that police entered deep contained in the mosque and induced injury.
“If this continues to happen, actually as of today, any more provocations in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel”, King Abdullah said on Monday, according to a transcript of remarks issued to reporters before a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain.
Netanyahu added that he would not let the trouble-makers upset visits by Jews to the site.
The approval was made as tension is running high in Jerusalem, amid four-day clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians over the Jews’ rights to visit the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound.
A firebomb thrown at police from within the mosque ignited a rug and wooden planks piled up by the protesters, Samri said.
The compound in Jerusalem’s old city is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, site of the two biblical Jewish temples.
Jews are allowed to visit the compound, but can not pray there to avoid provoking tensions with Muslim worshippers.
The director of the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency unit, Amin Abu Ghazaleh, reported that 26 Arabs were injured.
Israeli authorities on Tuesday closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron to Palestinian worshipers for the final day of the Jewish new year holiday, a Palestinian Authority official said.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri said five officers were lightly wounded and two Palestinians were arrested.
It is venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site of the second temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. The volunteers say they are protecting the site from Jewish extremists but Israel says the groups are provoking violent clashes with police and Jewish visitors, The Guardian reports.
Israeli security forces have used the same tactic in the past to restore calm and which has seen them briefly enter the mosque.
Netanyahu has repeatedly said he is committed to the “status quo”, but Palestinians remain deeply suspicious.
“We will lead systemic changes and will set a new standard of deterrence and prevention”, Netanyahu also said.
Addressing the worsening security situation in Jerusalem, the Israeli PM has vowed to tackle violence by “all means necessary”, including live ammo and harsher prison terms, after an Israeli citizen was killed in a auto accident allegedly caused by a rock-throwing attack.