Israeli and Palestinian police are mounting a huge security operation in Jerusalem to prevent clashes between Muslims and Jews ahead of tomorrow’s Gaza pullout. All day devout Jews are making the feast day of Tisha be’Av, one of their holiest days which marks the destruction of two biblical Jewish temples. Hundreds of people spent the night at the Wailing Wall. Many oppose the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Extremists have threatened to use today’s event to try and access the site. Violence at the sacred site could seriously endanger a six-month-old Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire. Overlooking the Western Wall is a mosque compound known to Muslims as the Haram-al-Sharif and the Jews as the Temple Mount. Israel’s Islamic Movement has called on its followers to protect the mosques. As a result, police have decided to limit the age of Muslim worshippers to men over 45, however women of all ages are being allowed to attend prayer services in the al-Aqsa mosque.