Despite Fears of Unrest, Calm Prevails in Yerushalayim

Yerushalayim protest
Palestinian men are seen during a prayer outside the Damascus Gate in The Old City of Yerushalayim on Friday. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

Despite predictions of heavy rioting, Yerushalayim remained calm Friday afternoon, as some 10,000 Arabs entered the Har Habayis compound to visit the Al Aqsa mosque. Police in the morning had allowed access to the site only to males over 50, and all females, while younger Arab males conducted prayers outside the Old City walls. Those prayers also went smoothly, with worshippers dispersing quietly after prayers. Police later in the afternoon opened Har Habayis and the Old City to Arabs of all ages.

Yerushalayim protest
Israeli security forces at the scene of an attempted stabbing attack at the at the Gush Etzion junction on Friday Theattacker was immediately shot by security forces. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

An Arab terrorist rushed IDF soldiers at the Gush Etzion junction. Soldiers who saw him approached fired warning shots, and when the terrorist refused to halt, soldiers shot and killed him. Disturbances were also reported at the Kalandia checkpoint, Hevron, Bethlehem, Shechem, and in the area of the Gaza border fence. Gaza sources reported that an Arab rioter in Gaza was shot by IDF soldiers, and later died of his wounds.

Yerushalayim protest
Palestinians hurl stones at Israeli soldiers during clashes in Bethlehem on Friday. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Thousands of police were on duty Friday to deal with the anticipated unrest at the end of Friday prayers, as Hamas and radical Islamic groups demanded another “day of rage” against Israel. Unlike last Friday, when Arabs rioted because of security measures, including body scanners and metal detectors, that had been placed at the entrances to Har Habayis, this week’s riots were expected as Arabs celebrated their “victory” over Israel, with the removal of all security measures. However, those predictions, at least on Friday afternoon, did not come to pass.

Yerushalayim protest
Israeli police officers aim their weapons as Palestinians protest outside the Old City of Yerushalayim on Friday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)