Israeli police entered a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem on Tuesday to disperse a riot that became violent just a few hours prior to the parliament in Israel holding a charged debate regarding the sovereignty status of the same holy site.
A spokesperson for the Israeli police said close to 20 Palestinian youths who wore masks hurled firecrackers and stones as troops from the Temple Mount.
Police entered at that time and were able to make three arrests. Two police officers ended up with wounds in the incident.
The site to Muslims is known as Noble Sanctuary and is ground zero in the religious and territorial conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.
Clashes often times erupt following the conclusion of the Muslim prayers. Jews on most occasions pray at the Western Wall located below, but tensions have increased of late, with more Jews arriving daily to pray as well at Temple Mount.
Revered as the third holiest spot in Islam, the site’s Dome of the Rock topped in gold enshrines a rock where the Muslims believed Prophet Mohammad had ascended to heaven.
The Jews believe that the rock might be the place where the holiest section of two old temples once stood 2,000 years ago. Religious Jews often pray another temple one day will be built there.
The site for Jews is so holy they have refrained from going to the hilltop to pray as a tradition, but the attitudes for some of the Orthodox Jews have evolved and growing demand has started to allow the Jews to freely pray there as well.
Those leading the push for this have been the Likud Party of Benjamin Netanyahu the Prime Minister and Moshe Feiglin a Nationalist lawmaker.
Feiglin initiated a discussion in parliament on Tuesday where he suggested extending the sovereignty of Israel over Temple Mount. At the site, Jordan is currently in charge of administrating religious affairs for the Muslims.
Palestinians claim that east Jerusalem, which is the Old City, is their future state’s capital. The site’s status remains today as possibly the most explosive and sensitive issue in the peace talks being brokered by the U.S.