The Catholic Church has seemingly sided with the Palestinians regarding the intensifying conflict surrounding the Temple Mount, placing the blame on Israel and referring to the site by its Muslim name.
In an interview on Vatican Radio, one bishop contended that there has been no Palestinian violence.
Appearing before a crowd on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Pope Francis said that he viewed “with trepidation the grave tensions and violence” surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Following the incident, the Israeli government closed the Temple Mount site to all Muslim visitors. After the site was equipped with advanced security measures, including walk-through metal detectors, it was reopened on July 16 to limited Muslim worship.
The Islamic Waqf, the Muslim trust which controls the Temple Mount, released a statement condemning the metal detectors and calling for a boycott of the site.
Muslim crowds rioted over the installation of the metal detectors, clashing with Israeli police. Three Palestinians were killed in the riots.
“We, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, express our serious concern regarding recent escalation in violent developments around Haram ash-Sharif and our grief for the loss of human life and strongly condemn any act of violence,” the statement read.
“We worried about any change to historical (Status Quo) situation in al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram ash-Sharif) and its courtyard, and in the holy city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which would be most unwelcome in the present tense religious climate.
According to Bishop Munib Younan, head of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land, metal detectors are a form of “collective punishment” which should not be permitted “because of an attack by two persons.”
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