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President Trump Debriefed on Temple Mount Crisis

08-01-2017
Donald Trump White House AP

JERUSALEM, Israel – U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman met with President Trump at the White House on Monday to talk about the two weeks that followed the July 14 terror attack on the Temple Mount.

Senior advisor Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt were included in the midday debriefing, the Jerusalem Post reported.

President Trump's lack of response to the shooting and the rioting that followed surprised many in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to remove the upgraded security apparatus installed after the attack – reportedly at the behest of U.S., Jordanian and Saudi leaders – in exchange for releasing Israel's ambassador to Jordan and a security guard who opened fire at the embassy compound, killing two Jordanians after being stabbed with a screwdriver.

Israel's investigation into the incident has not placated Jordan's King Abdullah II, who released a series of angry messages.

"We demand that the Israeli prime minister abides by his commitment and takes all measures to ensure the trial of the killer [the guard who was stabbed] and not handle this like a political show to achieve personal political gains," the king said, according to Reuters.

Abdullah criticized Netanyahu's use of diplomatic immunity to bring the two Israelis home, calling the welcome he extended to them at his Jerusalem residence "provocative on all fronts" and accusing him of fueling extremism.

Meanwhile, 77 percent of Israeli poll respondents equated Netanyahu's decision to remove the security upgrades with surrendering to terrorism.  

The incitement by the Palestinian Authority and the Jordanian Wakf continued until last Friday, when weekly Muslim prayers ended without incident after Israel barred men under the age of 50 from attending.

Overnight Monday, however, Israeli security forces arrested 33 Arabs for their involvement in the recent riots in Arab neighborhoods.

"These operations took place after police units responded to disturbances in riots in Jerusalem when petrol bottles and fireworks were fired directly at police units that patrolled the areas," the spokesman's office said in a statement.

Extra police units were deployed in and around the Old City for Tisha B'av, which began Monday at sundown and continues through sundown Tuesday. The holiday, observed with a full 24-hour fast, marks the destruction of first and second temples – the first (built by King Solomon) in 586 BC by the Babylonians and the second (built by Herod) in 70 AD by the Romans.

"Thousands of people are expected to visit the Western Wall and heightened security will continue throughout the day," the police statement concluded.

On Tuesday, more than 1,200 Jewish visitors ascended the Temple Mount in observance of Tisha B'av, though by law they are forbidden to pray there.

 

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