Jerusalem Christian leaders concerned with increased tension in Old City

Border police and military personnel stood guard in the area to ensure that the prayer didn’t evolve into a violent demonstration.Police barred Jews from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Wednesday morning after two Jewish groups prayed openly at the site.In a move that is expected to exacerbate the tension, the Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf announced the closure of all mosques in eastern Jerusalem, forcing thousands of Muslims to join prayer protests in the streets. The Muslim religious authority charged with managing Temple Mount has also expressed its anger over metal detectors being installed at the site.The Trump administrations said it was “very concerned” about tensions on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that erupted after terrorists shot dead two Israeli police officers, and called on Israel and Jordan to work together to restore calm.The encroachment on al-Aqsa is spearheaded by the so-called Temple movement – messianic Jewish extremists who seek to replace the existing al-Aqsa mosque with a Jewish temple.Arab-Israeli lawmakers joined the protesters and called for the metal detectors at the site to be removed.Israeli security forces near metal detectors placed outside the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, on July 16, 2017.In a separate protest, the religious endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs, run by the Jordanian government, made a decision to close all the mosques in East Jerusalem on Friday and called for prayers in front of Al-Aqsa’s gates to resist the metal detectors used by Israeli police.Israel did not coordinate the changes with Jordan, which serves as the custodian of the Muslim-administered site, according to a Jordanian government official.Temple Mount is a place of worship in Jerusalem and is sacred to both Palestinians and Jews.Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Thursday at noon, a young Palestinian man, after he reportedly attempted to stab them, in Teqoua’ town, east of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. Since Friday, attacks against Israeli security forces have ramped up at the Lion’s Gate and in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.Jerusalem Grand Mufti Mohammed Ahmed Hussein criticized the new measures as altering the status quo, which gives Muslims religious control over the site and permits Jews to visit but not pray there.Israeli authorities say most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks. In an effort to calm the situation, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn the attack but also to ask him to reopen the site.