Is Israel damaging the Temple Mount and threatening Islamic shrines?

MYTH

“Israel is damaging the Temple Mount and threatening Islamic shrines.” top

FACT

“We denounce this blatant act of provocation and the complete disregard for the sanctity of the holy mosque. This act will ignite the feelings of Muslims all over the world and is in fact a retrogressive step in the efforts to achieve peace in the region.”116 This statement from the Malaysian Foreign Minister refers to the Israeli excavation and plan for construction at the site of the Mugrabi ramp in the Old City of Jerusalem and serves as a call to action and incitement rather than as a warning of a concerned observer.

In February 2004, the Mugrabi ramp, which provided access to the Temple Mount, collapsed as a result of numerous natural disasters. The Jerusalem Municipal Authority approved the building of a permanent bridge to replace the wooden structure that was built as a temporary entry. The commencement of an archeological dig, required by law to salvage any artifacts in the area before construction begins, has been met with outrage and violence from the Islamic world, which claims that Israel’s actions are meant to destroy Islam’s third holiest site to replace it with the Third Temple.

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Erdoğan Exploits the Temple Mount Crisis to Foment Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Turkey continues to insert itself more and more into the ongoing clashes on the Temple Mount, almost as if it legally represents the Palestinians in the dispute. Turkey’s anti-Israel agitation, which garners wide support among Palestinians in both Gaza and the PA, is hardly new. But its patronage of the Palestinians hides more than religious sentiment. Turkish anti-Zionism, which aligns directly with anti-Semitism, is being expressed once again through the current friction.

In May 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference in Istanbul called “The International Forum on al-Quds Waqf.” He condemned “Israeli crimes against the Palestinians” and called on Muslims to visit the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount as frequently as possible. “As a Muslim community, we need to visit the al-Aqsa Mosque often,” he said. “Each day that Jerusalem is under occupation is an insult to us.”

On July 20, 2017, responding to increased security measures on the Temple Mount following the murders of two Israeli policemen there at the holy site, he said: “Any restriction on Muslims entering the al-Aqsa Mosque is unacceptable…The protection of the Islamic character and sanctity of al-Quds [Jerusalem] and al-Haram al-Sharif [the al-Aqsa Mosque complex] is important for the whole Muslim world…The Muslim world cannot remain silent.”

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Jordan’s King Vows to ‘Stop the Judaisation’ of Temple Mount

His Majesty King Abdullah II on Saturday spoke before an assembly of local newspaper editors and journalists, saying “he spared no occasion to put the Palestinian cause and defend Jerusalem before the world,” according to the Petra state news agency, adding, “There is no voice that speaks better than Jordan as we carry out our historic political and legal role to stop the Judaisation of holy sites despite the difficulties and challenges.”

Most historians agree that the Temple Mount’s “Jewish” nature predated that of its modern Arab identity by some thousands of years. The Temple Mount housed the two Jewish temples in Biblical times, with much archaeological and historical evidence proving ancient Jewish presence on and around the Mount. In the early Middle Ages, long after the Second Temple was destroyed, the birth of Islam led to the construction of a mosque on the holy site which Muslims believe to be the “al Aqsa Mosque”, or the “farthest mosque”, referred to in the Quran. However, Islamic scholars dispute this.

Nevertheless, the Muslim religious claim on the Temple Mount – largely neglected and overgrown with weeds until the Jews began expressing an interest in it in the twentieth century – is the basis for countless Arab campaigns to deny any and all Jewish connection to the site. Of late, these campaigns have extended to numerous other Jewish holy sites, including the Western Wall, where Israel has full sovereignty, and various burial sites of Biblical figures, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, recently declared a “Palestinian world heritage site” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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Administering the Temple Mount Is a Privilege, Not a Right

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The latest complications over the “status quo” on the Temple Mount necessitate a long overdue clarification: the privilege to administer the site, granted by Israel in the wake of its 1967 victory to the Waqf via Jordan, must not be misconstrued as a “right of ownership.” The administrative management of this place of worship, holy for Judaism and Islam, should provide hospitality, dignity, and security to all law-abiding visitors and sincere worshippers respectful of the place, without religious, racial, or political discrimination.

In the sphere of mergers and acquisitions, a poison pill is a stratagem devised to dissuade a takeover by inserting a nuisance factor so consequential as to deter the suitor from acquiring the target.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were poison pills accruing to Israel from a war it did not start but managed to win. Their lingering nuisance factor continues to impede the establishment of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, despite repeated efforts to reach an acceptable agreement, over the last fifty years.

At the end of a short and brutal war, King Hussein regained not the “right” but the privilege once again to oversee Jerusalem’s Muslim religious sites. The compound was built by the Umayyad over the rubble of the twice-destroyed holiest-of-holy Jewish sanctuaries, on a historic site that has been referred to as the Temple Mount since the Kingdom of David, around 1000 BCE.

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Who is the Real Owner Here?

During one of the previous cycles of Muslim violence in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ichrima Zabri, then Mufti of Jerusalem and Falestin, declared: “We are the owners here!”

He was referring to the Temple Mount.

That declaration accurately sums up the Muslim problem in all of Jerusalem and particularly on the Temple Mount. It should be noted that this is the accepted, not extremist, Islamic approach. Muslims believe that Islam, not Judaism, is the proprietor of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

This is what lies behind the Muslim refusal to go through metal detectors placed by the police at the Temple Mount entrances. Allowing Israel to require Muslims to be checked along with everyone else ascending the mount proves that Israel and the Jews are the proprietors. Muslims are incapable of accepting this – they believe  Judaism is a “fake religion” (Din Bat’l) and only Islam is the “true religion” (Din Chak). Jews can only live under Islamic protection as “dhimmis,” with limited rights, most definitely not including the existence of an army and police force with the power to tell Muslims what to do.

Islam came into being in order to dispossess Judaism and everything that once belonged to the Jews.  That is how the Land of Israel became “Falestin,” the Temple Mount turned into the “Al Aqsa Mosque,” the Patriarch Abraham became the first Muslim and King Solomon is said to have built a mosque in Jerusalem. Jewish presence and activity in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount are perceived as Judaism’s return to the status of a living, breathing religion.  Muslims who realize the theological challenge these poses are unable to deal with it.

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Who is the Real Owner Here?

During one of the previous cycles of Muslim violence in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ichrima Zabri, then Mufti of Jerusalem and Falestin, declared: “We are the owners here!”

He was referring to the Temple Mount.

That declaration accurately sums up the Muslim problem in all of Jerusalem and particularly on the Temple Mount. It should be noted that this is the accepted, not extremist, Islamic approach. Muslims believe that Islam, not Judaism, is the proprietor of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

This is what lies behind the Muslim refusal to go through metal detectors placed by the police at the Temple Mount entrances. Allowing Israel to require Muslims to be checked along with everyone else ascending the mount proves that Israel and the Jews are the proprietors. Muslims are incapable of accepting this – they believe  Judaism is a “fake religion” (Din Bat’l) and only Islam is the “true religion” (Din Chak). Jews can only live under Islamic protection as “dhimmis,” with limited rights, most definitely not including the existence of an army and police force with the power to tell Muslims what to do.

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The urgent need for the detection of mettle

The Israeli government has removed the metal detectors, or magnometers, that it installed at the entrance to Temple Mount to prevent further Arab terrorist attacks.

This is a bad move. Even worse is how the government explained it – in terms of total capitulation. This morning Yoav Galant, Israel’s Minister of Housing and Construction, said at a meeting I attended that the metal detectors were a “mistake”. He told IDF Radio:

“It is clear that from the absorption point of view that it is impossible to transfer tens of thousands of people who are unwilling to cooperate through magnometers. It was clear from the beginning. Mistakes were made. What is important is that we bear collective responsibility.”

Let’s recap. Ten days ago three Arab terrorists burst out of the al Aqsa mosque, where they had stored weapons, and murdered two Israeli Druze police officers stationed just outside the compound. To prevent any further such violence, Israeli put up the metal detectors. The Jordanian Waqf which administers Temple Mount threw a hissy fit and told Muslims not to go through the metal detectors but to pray in the street outside. Which they did.

It is therefore absurd to say Israel’s mistake was to think it could move onto Temple Mount tens of thousands of people who were refusing to go. If they choose not to go there, well, that’s their choice. Obviously.

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What Status Quo on the Temple Mount?

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The so-called “status quo” on the Temple Mount is dead. It was killed by Palestinian denial of Jewish connection not only to the Mount but to any part of the Land of Israel, by terrorists who may have been aided and abetted by the Waqf, and by Abbas’s diplomatic assaults on Jewish history and legitimacy in Jerusalem. It is time to level the playing field. In the context of renewed peace talks with the Palestinians, Israel should put on the table a plan to bring equity and fairness to administration of the Temple Mount: a plan that would represent a true sharing of sovereignty over the place most holy to the Jewish People.

The so-called “status quo” on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has been violated repeatedly in recent years by radical Palestinian and Islamic actors, turning the Mount into a base of hostile operations against Israel instead of protecting it as zone of prayer and peace.

Waqf and Islamic movement provocateurs have attacked Jewish visitors to the Mount and Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below the Mount. They have greatly restricted visitation rights to the Mount for non-Muslims; hijacked the pulpits in the mosque on the Mount to preach hatred and violence against Israel; purveyed a canard about the Al-Aqsa mosque being under attack from Israel in order to rile up the Palestinian public and broader Islamic world; and conducted vast and illegal construction projects on the Mount and beneath it, willfully destroying centuries of Jewish archaeological treasures.

And last week, Palestinian terrorists smuggled machine guns onto the Temple Mount and attacked police guarding its gates, killing two Israeli officers. The terrorists launched their attack from within the Temple Mount and then fled into the shrines on the Mount.

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