Jerusalem, Fri 19.7.13, Afternoon
Translation: Bracha B.A.
10:30 – 14:00
It is the second Friday of Ramadan. There are more people wishing to go to the Al Aksa Mosque than there were last week. There was a crowd at the Flowers Gate, but no one was being checked. We stood on the steps leading down to Damascus Gate and a policeman approached us and said that non-Muslims were not allowed to enter the old city here because of the crowds. We could enter through Jaffa Gate. We saw that Jews were being allowed through the new gate. On the previous Friday at the same time of day we were able to go through Damascus Gate without any problem and Jews had done the same. We wondered about the change in policy which was perhaps due to the stabbing that occurred on the evening of Tisha B'Av.
There were also more policemen than there were last week. However, we didn't see the spray truck [for riot control] that had been parked next to Damascus Gate last week.
All the streets that lead from Route 1 to the Damascus Gate, the road to Jericho east of the Old City coming from the Mount of Olives, and the road leading from the Western Wall to the Lions' Gate. Only vehicles carrying disabled persons were allowed to enter. There was no checkpoint on Halwa Street, the main street in Silwan leading to the Old City. On the other side two or three policemen were stationed near the walls of the Old City. There were only a few policemen at the entrance to the Dung Gate. Most of the Muslims entering the Dung Gate were residents of Silwan, and preferred to make their way to the Al Aksa Mosque through the alleys of the Jewish Quarter rather than pass through the area of the Western Wall and undergo the inspections there. There were a lot of policeman standing at the head of the Mograbi Bridge, but today events ended with them being on alert but not with police entering the Temple Mount.