Clinton tells Israel she'll safeguard its 'military edge'

 US & MIDDLE EAST US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says that if elected she would work with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make sure Israel's strategic military edge is preserved.

"Shortly after being inaugurated I would invite the prime minister to Washington for meetings, I would send my joint chiefs and intelligence experts to Israel to meet with their counterparts," she said in an interview with Israeli Channel Two television aired on Thursday.

"What we need to do first and foremost (is) to be sure that qualitative military edge is unmatched," she said.

The US and Israeli governments have for several months been negotiating the terms of a new 10-year defence aid pact to replace the current one, which expires in 2018 and is worth more than $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) per year.

The Netanyahu government wants the United States to increase the annual amount of military assistance it provides.

In the Channel Two interview, Clinton said the prospect of an election victory for her Republican rival Donald Trump should alarm all Israelis regardless of their political views.

She said that Trump favoured a nuclear strike on the Islamic State group, which is fighting in the devastating conflict in Syria, right next door to the Jewish state.

"His understanding of the broader dangers in the region should alarm any Israeli no matter where that person is on the political spectrum," said the Democratic Party candidate.

"Using nukes against ISIS... not knowing the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas. How does that in any way help Israel," she asked, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

She added that Trump, who has praised Vladimir Putin, would not seek to hamper the Russian president's actions in Syria but preferred "giving a full carte blanche to Putin to do whatever he seems to want to do, right on Israel's doorstep".

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives.

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