Anti-semitic graffiti equating a Star of David to a swastika has been sprayed in at least three places on the Temple Mount compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
The graffiti in blue paint was discovered at the holy site, which is known as Haram al-Sharif among Muslims, after days of clashes between Palestinians and rightwing Jews. Police have opened an investigation into the incident, which is reminiscent of Israeli settlers' price-tag attacks.
Price-tag is a term used by Jewish settlers to describe attacks – usually carried out against Palestinians but also targeting Christian churches, Israeli authorities and Israeli Arabs – in retribution or punishment for the Israeli government's actions perceived as pro-Palestinian. The attacks are aimed at exacting "a price" for government actions, such as demolishing settlements.
The defacement of Temple Mount came after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that Jews should be prevented from entering the holy site. "It is our sacred place, Al-Aqsa is ours, this Noble Sanctuary is ours. They have no right to go there and desecrate it," Abbas said on Friday (18 October).
Earlier, UN General secretary Ban Ki-moon spoke out about tensions at Jerusalem's holy site saying that "provocations" by Israelis and Arab Muslims must stop.
Earlier this month, dramatic scenes broke out when Israeli police stormed a riot by Palestinian youths after morning prayers, and barricaded them inside the mosque.
Clashes started when police allowed Israeli right-wingers and ultra-Orthodox Jews to enter the compound to observe the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, or the feast of the Tabernacles.
According to mainstream Judaism, Jews are forbidden from entering Temple Mount for fear they would stumble upon and profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple. This is also why the chief rabbinate has always opposed Jewish worship in the compound.
But Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu accused Palestinian extremists of causing trouble at the site.
The Haram al-Sharif site has been administered by an Islamic Waqf (trust), under the authority of Jordan, since the crusades.