Dubai: Israel sealed off the West Bank on Friday amid tension in Occupied Jerusalem over controversial plans to build new illegal homes for Jewish colonists and fears of fresh violence at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound.
Men under the age of 50 were barred from entering the mosque compound.
Sporadic clashes broke out and four Palestinian boys were arrested after throwing stones at Israeli police who hurled stun grenades at the youth.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak ordered the army to seal off the Israeli-occupied West Bank for 48 hours, citing boiling tension over Israel's latest controversial announcement.
The international community does not recognise Israel's annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem and the Palestinians see that part of the city as their own future capital.
The closure was announced a day after US Vice-President Joe Biden concluded a visit of the West Bank and Israel aimed at promoting renewed peace talks. The announcement infuriated the US administration, ignited international condemnation and cast doubts over the outlook for the indirect talks which the Palestinians had reluctantly agreed to after a 14-month hiatus.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to exercise damage control Israel will now require a representative of the prime minister to be present when development plans are approved, as a way to ensure the country's leader is not "surprised" by decisions that could have political ramifications.