Palestinian workers walk next to a building at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim, near Jerusalem, Monday, June 22, 2009. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in defying U.S. pressure to freeze construction in West Bank settlements, says new homes must go up to accommodate settlers' growing families. But some 40 percent of the population growth in settlements came from people who moved there and not from growing families, according to the government's latest statistics. In the meantime, more than 5,000 new apartments have been completed over the past three years, Central Bureau of Statistics figures show. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
JERUSALEM (CNN) — Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in east Jerusalem stretched into Sunday evening after a visit by a Jewish group to one of the city’s holiest sites.
Street battles began in Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning, when Palestinians praying at the site — known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, or “Noble Sanctuary,” and to Jews as the Temple Mount — began to throw rocks at the visiting Jews, said Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Police responded with stun grenades and arrested eight demonstrators, he said.
Rosenfeld said two Palestinians and two police officers were wounded in the melee, but Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, a former grand mufti of Jerusalem, said nine Palestinians were hurt.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called the visit a deliberate provocation by hard-liners opposed to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and criticized the police response to the protests. Erakat compared the visit to the 2000 trip by Ariel Sharon — before he was elected prime minister — to the al-Aqsa mosque that Palestinians blame for touching off three years of violence.