I’ve written several times about the growing problems on Har Habayit – the Temple Mount.
Again now I report on the situation, which is grave and most be considered with utmost seriousness.
Over the week of the Sukkot holiday, there was a rash of Arab violence that was clearly premeditated. It began on Wednesday, the 8th of October: that evening began Sukkot and many Jewish worshippers came to ascend to the Mount (emphasis added):
“The fighting began when masked youths threw stones, iron bars, cinder blocks and Molotov cocktails at police officers as the Mughrabi Gate opened to non-Muslim visitors earlier in the day.
“Police chased the demonstrators toward the Al-Aqsa mosque, where they barricaded themselves inside and continued hurling objects in the direction of the police, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri.
“Samri said the Palestinians had prepared for the confrontation ahead of time, and had set up obstacles at the holy site to slow down police. She said the Palestinians threw firebombs and rocks at police from within the mosque.
Police responded with ‘nonlethal riot control means,’ Samri said.
“A radical Islamic cleric in Israel, Raed Salah, had called on Muslims to be present at the mosque Wednesday morning. About 30 young Palestinians slept the night before at the mosque in preparation for the confrontation, according to Palestinian eyewitnesses.”
The violence continued intermittently over the course of the week of Sukkot. But finally, it seems, Israeli authorities, confronting the serious of the Arab threat, are responding with greater determination. This is to be celebrated. For many years, Arabs knew that all they had to do was riot or even threaten to riot, and Israeli police, citing security concerns, blocked entrance to the Mount for Jews. The wrong people were being deprived of the opportunity to be on the Mount. But now (emphasis added):
“In a policy change since the beginning of the Jewish New Year, instead of closing the Temple Mount to [Jewish] visitors after Muslim rioting, the Israel Police push the rioters back inside the Al-Aqsa mosque and leave the Temple Mount compound open. But the policy may change again if the current situation persists, Aharonovitch said.
“’If the Jews cannot go up to the Mount, the Muslims will not go up to the Mount,’ he said.”
What we are dealing with is a battle for control of the Mount.
Jordan, which controls the Muslim Wakf (trust, or authority) on the Mount, charged Israeli police with fomenting the problem.
“The forces of the occupation … prevented religious officials entering (the compound) and cleared it of all Muslims, while at the same time enabling Jewish extremists to storm it, and pray with security forces protection,” complained Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Momeni.
Note: “forces of the occupation” implies Israel has no right to be there.
And now it has come to this (emphasis added):
”Palestinian Authority President (sic) Mahmoud Abbas called on Palestinians on Friday to prevent Jewish ‘settlers’ from entering the Temple Mount.
”Addressing Fatah activists from east[ern] Jerusalem in Ramallah, Abbas also called on Palestinians to be present at the Temple Mount at all times to confront the ‘fierce onslaught on Al-Aksa Mosque, Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre Church.’
He said Fatah should spearhead the effort to stop ‘settlers’ from entering the Temple Mount.
“We must prevent them from entering the Noble Sanctuary in any way. This is our Al-Aksa and our church. They have no right to enter and desecrate them. We must confront them and defend our holy sites.”
These statements by Abbas are always calculated. Note the term “settlers,” which is pejorative, referring to Jews who are presumably where they do not belong.
And a “fierce onslaught” on the Holy Sepulchre Church? (Which, by the way, is not on the Mount at all.) This is a ludicrous attempt to make it seem as if Muslims protect Christians from Israeli attack. The reality is that Muslims are massacring Christians, who are in fact safe no where in the Middle East except Israel. Christians pray freely at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is in eastern Jerusalem. But Abbas says what he pleases, with impunity and with no regard for the truth.
Abbas’s statement, which represents a new low, is incitement clear and simple. This is the man with whom Israel should negotiate? Let’s see how long it takes for Kerry to call him on this.
Just one day after this outrage, Abbas went even further:
In a speech yesterday to to the Revolutionary Council of his Fatah party, he referred to Jews entering the Mount as a
“herd of cattle.”
”Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman blasted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday night after Abbas said that Jews should be prevented from visiting the Temple Mount and that Palestinians should defend the site from them.
“Lieberman said Abbas’ remarks reveal his attempt to ignite the conflict by using the most sensitive place, the Temple Mount. In a statement released on Saturday night, Lieberman accused Abbas and the PA of being behind the disturbances of the residents of east Jerusalem.
”The foreign minister said that the remarks also reveal Abbas’ ‘true face’ as a ‘Holocaust denier who speaks about a Palestinian state free of Jews.’ He said Abbas was and remains an anti-Semite.
“’Behind his [Abbas’] suit and the pleasantries aimed at the international community, he ramps up incitement against Israel and the Jews and calls for a religious war,’ he said.”
True, all true.
I noted with particular interest a quote Martin Sherman provided in his most recent JPost column (and for which I thank him):
‘With the two-state solution… Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the chosen people? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse…. Then we will move forward.”
– Abbas Zaki, senior PLO official. (ANB TV, Lebanon, May 7, 2009)
Where Zaki refers to Jerusalem, with its spiritual status, read “Temple Mount,” which is at the very core of that spiritual status. It must not be relinquished. Our presence on the Mount must be constant, and our security forces and authorities must be ever strong in defending our rights there.
And the good news today? We had rain. A period of torrential rain that turned the streets to rivers. I got caught in it, and I called it a blessing. We began praying for rain on Simchat Torah, Thursday. The beginning of the winter season. May it be a very wet one.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.