Israeli decision to re-open a synagogue in Jerusalem al-Quds, close to al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, has irked Palestinians as Israel deploys hundreds of police to the city.
As the re-opening of the synagogue is scheduled for Monday, Israel has deployed hundreds of police around the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds amid fears of fresh unrest.
Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said police were prepared to prevent disturbances for the next 24 hours after, as he says, they “have received clear indications that Palestinians are intending to cause disturbances and riots” there.
As a precautionary measure, Israel has barred Arab men under the age of 50 from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound, Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Israel also maintained a closure that barred virtually all West Bank Palestinians from entering Israel.
Israel has imposed restrictions since March 5 when police encountered Palestinian protesters at the mosque after weekly prayers.
“The Israeli action to establish a temple in Jerusalem (al-Quds) is a continuation also of the cycle of the total Judaization of the city,” Mohammed Shtayyeh, Palestinian minister of public works and housing, said on Sunday.
As reported recently, ruins in northern Israel long thought to be of an ‘ancient synagogue’ have now been identified by archeologists as the remains of a 7th century palace built by Arab caliphs.
Archeologists mistakenly identified the palace as a synagogue in the 1950s because of a carving of a menorah — a seven-branched candelabrum — on a stone.
However, the latest excavations in the site have confirmed it as a palace where the Umayyad rulers would spend the winter season. The Umayyads were the first Muslim dynasty and ruled from 661 to 750 CE.