Sunday, October 18, 2015

Israel rejects observer plan amid continuing violence

Israel on Sunday rejected a proposal to send international observers to a flash point holy site in a bid to calm unrest after five more stabbing incidents defied a security crackdown.

In yet another sign of tensions, ultra-Orthodox Jews illegally visiting a West Bank holy site that was set ablaze last week were assaulted by Palestinians, while some of the visitors were also arrested.

Clashes also broke out in the West Bank city of Hebron, where three attacks occurred on Saturday. The continued violence has raised fears of a full-scale Palestinian uprising.

At the start of a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a suggestion by France that international observers be sent to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian protesters at the compound in September preceded the current wave of violence.

The site is sacred to Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. Jews are allowed to visit but not to pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

Netanyahu explained his refusal of the observer plan by saying, "It doesn't mention Palestinian incitement; it doesn't mention Palestinian terrorism; and it calls for the internationalization of the Temple Mount."


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