The Palestinians have kept up the pressure on Israel as clashes continued today in East Jerusalem and the West Bank over continued Jewish activists and Palestinians Israeli politicians visiting and seeking to change the Status Quo on the Haram Al Sharif – the third Holiest site to Islam – known as the Temple Mount to Jews.
The violence comes after terror attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem and the response of extremist political Jewish figures visiting the Islamic site demanding a change in rights.
The actions have strained Israel's peace agreements with both Jordan and Egypt.
Army and paramilitary units used tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesting crowds and control neighborhoods.
The backdrop to the brewing tension has been the settlement expansions in the West Bank and particularly into the Muslim neighborhood of Silwan just outside the Old City.
Jordan recalled it's ambassador to Israel in response to the rising tension seen recently in Jerusalem. Reports say Jordan will head to the UN Security Council to stop what it termed as Israeli attacks on the Holy Site. Jordan is the Custodian of the Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques atop the compound.
Israel has now to confront the phenomenon of vehicular terrorism after vehicles were used in three separate attacks – two against citizens standing for public transportation and one against soldiers in the West Bank.
Israel is down playing the West Bank incident as a potential car accident. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to control Jewish right wingers as they continue to push for change in the laws prohibiting Jews from prayer and worship atop the Muslim holy site.
The Chief Rabi of Israel has said prayers and visits themselves, are prohibited for Jews, and Mr. Netanyahu has succumbed to international pressure stating publicly there will be no change in the status quo of the holy site.
Having said all this I want you to know that the tour group here right now is away from the areas of tension, and there is no need for worry as to their safety. They are going to have a great time here in the Holy Land!
Middle East Correspondent