JERUSALEM — The White House condemned the terror attack on the Temple Mount and backed Israel’s decision to temporarily close the holy site to Muslim worshippers.
“The people of the United States strongly condemn the terror attack,” it said in a statement issued on Saturday. “There must be zero tolerance for terrorism. It is incompatible for achieving peace and we must condemn it in the strongest terms, defeat it and eradicate it.”
The statement continued: “The attack forced the government of Israel to temporarily close the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif to conduct its investigation. Israel has assured the world that it has no intention to alter the status of this holy site, a decision which the United States applauds and welcomes. We urge all leaders and people of good faith to be understanding as this process proceeds and reaches its conclusion.”
Israel began reopening the Temple Mount to worshippers on Sunday, with metal detectors installed at the first two of the nine entrances to be opened. Prior to Sunday only the entrance for tourists and Jewish visitors employed a metal detector.
On Saturday the U.S. diplomatic missions in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv released a security message for U.S. citizens, titled: “Continued Potential for Violence and Unrest in and Around Old City Jerusalem.”
The message noted that the restriction on entering the Old City of Jerusalem had been extended through Monday morning for all U.S. government employees and their family members “(b)ased on continued tensions and the potential for clashes in the Old City.”
“We recommend that private U.S. citizens take into consideration these restrictions and the additional guidance contained in the Department of State’s travel warning for Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank when making decisions regarding their travel in the Old City and in Jerusalem,” the statement said.