Confrontation between Arab guards and Parliament members on Temple MountALLYN FISHER , Associated Press
Jan. 8, 1986 7:18 PM ET
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Arab Moslem guards Wednesday manhandled several members of the Israeli parliament who tried to take photographers into King Solomon's stables on sacred Temple Mount, police and witnesses reported.
Police rushed to the scene, took the Israelis away in vans and temporarily sealed off the area on Mount Moriah, or Temple Mount, which is sacred to both Judaism and Islam.
Witnesses said police used tear gas on several hundred Arab shopowners and worshippers who gathered to help the Moslem guards after they radioed for help.
The guards protect the Haram al Sharif, a Moslem religious complex that includes the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Arab quarter. It is adjacent to the Western Wall, last remnant of King Solomon's Temple and Judaism's holiest site.
Eight Palestinians were treated for the effects of tear gas and released from Muqassad Hospital in Jerusalem, said a hospital official, who would not give his name.
Members of the Interior Committee of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, had gone to the stables to investigate complaints by a Jewish group that Moslems had illegally set up a memorial to Palestinians massacred in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982 by Christian militiamen allied with Israeli invasion forces.
A policeman at the scene said a call was broadcast to Moslems in the Old City nearby saying ''Jews are on Haram al Sharif 3/8 After them 3/8''.
Dov Shilansky said he and other members of the Knesset delegation were pushed and struck by Arab guards carrying nightsticks. ''Our lives were hanging by a thread,'' he said in a television interview.
Haim Albaldes, the Jerusalem police commander, accompanied the delegation. He said blows were struck, but ''there was mutual shoving,'' and blamed the delegation for starting confrontation by insisting that photographers accompany them into the underground stables.
''The whole thing started over cameras because (Moslem caretakers) didn't want the photographers to take them into Solomon's stables and parliament members insisted,'' Albades said.
The stables of the king who ruled the ancient Hebrews in the 10th century before Christ are mentioned in the Bible.
Sheik Saaddin al Alami, head of the Islamic Council that supervises the Moslem shrines, said he had sent a protest cable to the office of Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
He said the parliamentary delegation created tension by bringing ''extremist elements'' on the tour, and accused police of confiscating keys to the eight gates surrounding the Al Aqsa mosque.
Witnesses said the group included two members of the Temple Faithful, which supports freedom of worship for Jews on Temple Mount.
Earlier in the day, Israeli soldiers armed with guns and tear gas canisters shut the occupied West Bank's largest Palestinian university, which elected a student council that supports the Palestine Liberation Organization on Tuesday.
A military source said suspension of classes for the 3,200 students at Al- Najah University in Nablus, the second closure in less than a month, would last 24 hours and was intended to prevent ''nationalist activities.''