On Tuesday, two Palestinian men entered a Jerusalem synagogue and killed four men, including three rabbis. The shooting resulted in a gun battle with the police, and the assailants were killed. A policeman was severely injured in the fight later died from his injuries on Tuesday night.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the killings. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged his criticism, but stated that “this is not enough.” While Netanyahu and members of his coalition have blamed Abbas and his political party for inciting terror, Yoram Cohen, the head of Israel’s security service, stated that Abbas “is not interested in terror, and is not leading [his people] to terror” either publicly or “under the table.”
Tensions were already on the rise in Jerusalem when the attack occurred. In late October, a Palestinian shot and injured Yehuda Glick, a conservative and outspoken settler in favor of Jewish access to the Temple Mount, also called the Noble Sanctuary. Three days later, Israeli security personnel shot and killed Mutaz Hejazi, whom Israeli police say was responsible for the attack on Glick.
The mount is both the historic home of the Jewish Temple and the Muslim al-Aqsa Mosque. To calm tempers following Glick’s shooting, Israel temporarily restricted access to al-Aqsa. Abbas called this shutdown a “declaration of war.” Some of the more conservative aspects of Netanyahu’s parliamentary coalition have recently been advocating to reverse the ban on Jews praying on the site. Perhaps most notably, Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Jewish Home party advocated earlier this month for the rebuilding of a Jewish temple to replace Al-Aqsa, as the mosque “was built in the place of the holiest place for Israel.”
Stay tuned for a DPR article about the attack to be released later this week.