The clashes, that occurred on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for religious Jews, resulted in the arrest of eight protesters, from amongst a total of some 150 who were protesting the presence of the Jewish worshippers, and a number of injuries.
Two policemen reportedly received slight injuries during the confrontation, which saw stun grenades fired at the protesters and the closure of the site where the clashes occurred. But the number of Palestinians injured is less clear.
quotes Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld as saying two Palestinians were injured, a figure disputed by Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, a former grand mufti of Jerusalem, who puts the number at nine. Meanwhile Al Bawaba
has the number of Palestinian injuries at 15, medics who treated the injured supposedly being the source of that figure.
also states that, according to Reuters
, 12 policemen were hurt, a figure that was not seemingly reported by the latter media outlet.
The complex where the clashes took place is known as the Temple Mount to Jews and al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims and was captured by Israel during the 1967 war in the Middle East, which is often called the Six-Day War. Reuters
says that the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem as a whole is not recognized by the international community.
Saeb Erakat, chief negotiator for the Palestinians, has spoken of the incident as provocation by Jewish hardliners who do not wish to see a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr Erekat said that it was reminiscent of a visit to the al-Aqsa mosque, which is within the same complex as the Temple Mount/al-Harm al-Sharif, by Ariel Sharon on September 28, 2000. That visit took place before Mr Sharon became Prime Minister of Israel, a position he held for five years from 2001 to 2006.
The escort and protection afforded by the police to the Jews who visited the holy site were criticized too by Mr Erakat, who said it was sign that Israel is not committed to peace.
Clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians continued elsewhere in east Jerusalem after the protest over the visit of the Jewish group was ended.
Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began at sunset on Sunday and finishes when the night falls on Monday. Fasting and much praying are features of the day.