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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Analysis: Jerusalem's familiar refrain
Palestinian worshippers near the Dome of the Rock mosque
Sunday's clashes were predictable
By Middle East analyst Roger Hardy

With passions undimmed by the passage of time, Jews and Muslims have once again played out their claims to a tiny patch of land in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Sunday's events were both predictable and, to a certain extent, pre-scripted.

Palestinians had known well in advance that a group of Jewish extremists were planning to enter the Temple Mount compound to lay the symbolic cornerstone of a new Jewish temple.

For them, this was a provocation that could not go unanswered.

Tactics

The Israeli police had also had plenty of time to prepare their tactics. They are in no doubt that the violence was deliberately orchestrated by Palestinian leaders.

A Palestinian injured in the protests
One comfort was that nobody was killed
Jerusalem has for centuries been the focus of both religious passion and political exploitation.

During the heyday of European power, Christians played the game with no less gusto and cynicism than Muslims and Jews.

Today the main protagonists are Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims - egged on in varying degrees by their co-religionists around the world.

The one distinguishing feature of this latest round is that although it left many injured, no one was killed.

Scant comfort, perhaps, to those who are working to douse the flames of the intifada and get Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a better future for themselves - and for Jerusalem.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Wood in Jerusalem
This is one more sign that the two sides have little faith in each other
See also:

21 Feb 01 | Middle East
Israeli 'assassination policy' condemned
29 Jul 01 | Middle East
Violence erupts at Jerusalem holy site
19 Jul 01 | Middle East
Rabbis urge Temple Mount visit
27 Jun 01 | Middle East
Arabs want US to push Israel
12 Jun 01 | Middle East
Hardliners disapprove of ceasefire plan
30 Sep 00 | Middle East
Strike call after Jerusalem bloodshed
26 Jan 01 | Middle East
Ariel Sharon: Controversial hardliner
10 Nov 00 | Middle East
Israel's special operations
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