Erdogan: Turkey Will Continue to Oppose Israel's Actions in Jerusalem After Deal

Turkey will send an aid ship to Gaza as soon as Friday, Turkish president says.
Turkey consulted with the Palestinians at "every step" of negotiations with Israel, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday night, after a reconciliation agreement between the two countries was announced earlier in the day.
"We will continue to object to Israel's unlawful practices in Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa," the Turkish leader said, referring to the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.
Speaking to tradesmen at a Ramadan fast-breaking meal at his Ankara residence, Erdogan also said that a ship bearing aid will set sail for Gaza as soon as Friday. "Furthermore, we will move forward with the construction of the Jenin industrial zone in the West Bank," he added.
The announcement on Monday that Israel and Turkey have reached a reconciliation agreement was a turning point in relations that had become cooler when an Islamist government first came to office in Ankara in 2002, but which plummeted in 2010 when 10 Turkish citizens were killed after Israeli navy commandos boarded a Turkish flotilla aiming to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.
The reconciliation agreement, which was negotiated in fits and starts over years, provides for the funding by Israel of a $20 million compensation fund for the benefit of the families of those killed and injured on the flotilla. It also limits Hamas' presence on Turkish soil to political activity but not military or terrorist-related operations. It also requires the Turkish parliament to pass legislation voiding any Turkish legal proceedings against Israeli forces involved in the Mavi Marmara operation and bars future claims.
A sticking point over the years had been Turkey's demand that Israel lift its blockade of Gaza. On that score, the Turks relented, settling for the access to carry out humanitarian projects in the strip, with supplies from Turkey to be shipped through Israel's port of Ashdod. The agreement will be formally voted on by the Israeli inner security cabinet on Wednesday.

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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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