Jerusalem holy site becomes ground zero for fresh fighting – Part 1

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It's one of the holiest sites for each of the world's three major religions. Known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount, it's also home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the most sacred in Islam. Now it has become ground zero for another round of fighting between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

    After weeks of recurring clashes, new street battles between Palestinians and Israeli police broke out in Jerusalem. They were triggered when Israeli police cornered and killed a Palestinian man. He was suspected of seriously wounding a far-right Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, who had demanded greater access to the place Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims know as Al-Aqsa.

    Amidst the trouble, the Israelis closed the site for the first time since 2000. That brought condemnation from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Through an aide, he charged the closure was tantamount to a declaration of war.

    NABIL ABU RUDEINEH, Spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas (through interpreter): We condemn and refuse the Israeli escalation in Jerusalem and over the holy shrines. We will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these repeated attacks, because the continuation of Israeli aggression and dangerous escalation will cause more violence. The Israeli government is responsible.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Hours later, Israel announced it will reopen the site to worshipers. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Abbas for starting the trouble with a recent call to ban Jews from the compound.

  • BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel (through interpreter):

    I still have not heard from the international community so much as one word of condemnation for this incitement. The international community needs to stop its hypocrisy and take action against the inciters.

    I have ordered significant reinforcements, including reinforcement of resources, so that we can maintain both security in Jerusalem and the status quo in the holy places.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    All of this comes as tensions are still running high over the summer war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas militants. Israel has also announced plans for more settlement-building in East Jerusalem, a move that's inflamed Palestinians and been denounced by U.S. officials.

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