Tony Greenstein | 23 October 2015 | Post Views:

I doubt after Netanyahu’s fairy tale at the World Zionist Congress, when he exonerated Hitler and laid the blame for the Holocaust on the Mufti of Jerusalem that anyone, bar the United States Congress, will believe him.  This should especially be the case with the Temple Mount and the Mosque of Al Aqsa.  The status quo has, as Ben White says, already been changed.
The Golden Domed Al Aqsa Mosque
Before entering the Temple Mount, there is what is known as the Wailing Wall, the Western Wall apparently of the second temple.  In 1967 the Israel invaders demolished the Moroccan quarter in front of the wall in order to allow greater numbers of Jews to pray there.
Police damage in Mosque
Imagine for one minute that Muslims started demanding the right to pray at the Western ‘Wailing’ Wall.  There would be riots.  But that is exactly what is happening at the golden domed Mosque of Omar, the most beautiful signpost to Jerusalem.  The heathens, because that is what they are, of the Temple Mount Institute and Ateret Cohanim, who openly wish to demolish the mosque and make way for the Third Temple, complete with animal sacrifices, otherwise known as the religious Zionist settlers, have forced their way into the Mosque accompanied by dozens of Israeli soldiers firing stun grenades, assaulting Muslims who are praying and causing extensive damage.
The Mosque is the property of those responsible for maintaining it, the clerics of Islam in Jerusalem.  If they don’t want anyone from another religion to even enter the Mosque that is their business.  It’s not a synagogue or even a church it is a mosque.  Imagine if a group of Muslims in Britain decided to force their way into a synagogue under some bogus pretext or other.  The fact that Jewish people and others can visit the Mosque is or should be a decision solely for those who run and maintain the mosque.  The ‘status quo’ was itself forced upon the Mosque in 1967 and has been the subject of consistent attempts to overturn it.
In fact Orthodox Jews won’t go onto the Temple Mount for fear of trespassing on the Holy of Holies, a capital crime in the Jewish religion, since god is supposed to reveal himself there to the High Priest.  To the messianic madmen of the Jewish religion this injunction means nothing since their real idol is the land of Israel.
Tony Greenstein

Ben White
Friday, 23 October 2015 13:23

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
has repeatedly stated that his government has no intention of changing the ‘status
’ at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and that claims to the contrary by
Palestinians are either mistaken, or acts of deliberate deception.

Let us put aside for now the fact that the Israeli government and Jerusalem
municipality fund
radical Jewish groups actively dedicated to the ultimate goal of building a
‘Third Temple’ after the physical destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Let us also put aside the fact that there is well-documented support for the
demands of right-wing Jewish activists’ amongst Israeli politicians – including
cabinet ministers

Instead, let us look at two particular statistical trends: restrictions on
access for Muslim worshippers and the number of visits by Jewish activists to
the compound.

According to official data from the Israeli police, the instances of access
restrictions to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Muslim worshippers shot up in 2014.

Border Police

In 2012, age restrictions were imposed on Muslim worshippers on just three
occasions, a figure that rose to eight in 2013. In 2014, however, Israeli
authorities imposed age restrictions for Muslim worshippers on 41 occasions – a
five-fold increase from the preceding year.

In addition, Israel closed the compound to all Muslim worshippers and
visitors for one day on October 30, 2014, the first such full
in 14 years.

The data, published four months ago by Emek Shaveh, an organization of
archaeologists and community activists, also shows that the most common age
restriction was for men under the age of 50, which has occurred 34 times from

Emek Shaveh note how in 2014, “the Israeli police imposed age restrictions
on worshipers 41 times”,
which “amounts to nearly 15% of the year.” Thus, the
group concludes, “the feeling among Palestinians that Israel is changing the
status quo in the area”
is actually “backed up by police data.”

Meanwhile, the number of Jews visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has markedly
risen over recent years. According to official police statistics, the number of
Jewish visitors to the site in 2009 was 5,658 – in 2014, this had almost
exactly doubled to 10,906.

Responding to these figures in January, an official from the Temple
Institute, a prominent extremist group, said that the trend “demonstrate that
the Jewish people are undergoing a spiritual awakening, and reconnecting – not
only to their most holy site, but to their own destiny.”

In the words of Emek Shaveh, there is thus “a direct link between rising
restrictions on visitors in 2013 and 2014 and increasing attempts by right-wing
groups to upset the status quo in the area.”

According to UN OCHA, for “three consecutive weeks” in late
August-September, Israeli authorities prevented “all Palestinian women, as well
as all men under 50, from entering Al Aqsa Mosque Compound during the morning
hours, to secure the entry of settlers and other Israeli groups.”

Writing in Ha’aretz on October 19, former Israeli negotiator Shaul
Arieli cited a 2014 report on changes at the compound, which noted “significant
to Muslim worshippers’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in parallel
to the increase in Jewish visitors.

This increase in numbers is accompanied by the presence of Israeli MKs and
ministers, some of whom [then-Likud MK Moshe Feiglin and then-Housing Minister
Uri Ariel] give media interviews on the Mount and/or authorize Jewish prayer
near the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque – actions that were forbidden in
the past, but are now taking place under the auspices of the Israel Police.

Netanyahu can claim ‘incitement’ all he wants – the numbers are clear. When
it comes to Al-Aqsa, as across the rest of Occupied East Jerusalem and the West
Bank, Israel has already changed the facts on the ground, and shows no signs of

Destruction of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque is Israeli groups’ ultimate goal

the last three days, Palestinians have come under fierce attack as they
attempted with their bare hands, sticks and stones to deter and prevent
repeated violent assaults by Israeli occupation forces into Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque
violence comes as Israeli-backed groups bent on replacing the mosque with a
Jewish temple are asserting their presence ever more aggressively.
of Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces who fired stun grenades, tear
gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at worshipers, Ma’an News Agency
on Monday, Israeli forces forcibly expelled Palestinians from the Bab
al-Silsila entrance to the compound in occupied East Jerusalem, activist
Khadija Khuwais told the
local news agency Q Press
video at the top of this post, produced by Q Press, shows more of the violent
attacks by Israeli forces against journalists and other civilians as well as
the firing of stun grenades inside mosque buildings.
Wednesday, confrontations between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces were spreading to other areas
of occupied Jerusalem.
have published many images and videos of the violence on social media.

Jewish temple plans
increasingly violent Israeli incursions at one the most revered holy sites for
Muslims have accompanied the rise in recent years of so-called “Temple activism
are organizations whose ultimate
and clearly stated goal
is the construction of a Jewish “Third Temple” to
replace the currently existing structures that make up al-Aqsa mosque.
A 2013
by the Israeli research organization Ir Amim noted that “the
Jerusalem Municipality and other government ministries directly fund and
support various activist organizations driven by the mission to rebuild the
Temple Institute, the leading extremist organization of its kind, has already
formulated detailed
for the new Jewish temple.
leading figure in the Temple movement is Yehuda Glick, an
American settler who was shot
and injured
by an unidentified gunman after he spoke last October at a
conference titled “The Jewish people return to the Temple Mount.”
after the shooting, Israeli forces extrajudicially executed Mutaz Hijazi, a
32-year-old Palestinian they claimed without presenting evidence had been
Glick’s assailant.
latest violence was provoked Sunday by the entry of
Jewish extremists into the compound, among them Israeli agriculture minister Uri Ariel.
prominent figure among Israeli settlers, Ariel called in 2013 for the building
of a Jewish temple at the al-Aqsa compound, known to Jews as “Temple Mount.”
built many little, little temples,”
, “but we need to build a real temple on the Temple Mount.”

Palestinians fear that the incursions are aimed, as a preliminary step, at
changing the longstanding status quo at the mosque. Already, Israeli occupation
forces shut the mosque to Muslim worshippers on certain Jewish holy days –
Israel is currently marking the start of the Jewish new year.
latest assaults also come as Muslims around the world prepare for the holiday
marking Haj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
tactic Israel has used more frequently to facilitate the incursions is to issue
banning orders against Palestinian volunteers, known as murabitoun,
whose goal is to maintain a constant presence at the compound.
next step many fear could be a physical partition of the compound between Jews
and Muslims, following the model Israel imposed on the Ibrahimi mosque in
Hebron after the 1994
by an American-born Jewish settler of 29 Palestinian men and boys
who were performing Ramadan prayers.

Dangerous precedent
is a recent precedent for the destruction of a holy site of one religious group
by supporters of another, with calamitous geopolitical consquences.
1992, Hindu nationalists in India destroyed the
400-year-old Babri mosque
in the northern city of Ayodhya, which they
believe was built over the ruins of a temple marking the birthplace of their
god Lord Ram.
violence this provoked killed thousands of people, exacerbating sectarianism and
communalism in India to this day.
destruction of the Babri mosque offers an ominous warning of what could happen
if Israeli government-backed Jewish nationalists attempt to fulfill their
desire to replace al-Aqsa with a Jewish temple.
the violence it would trigger would have global consequences and likely make
the bloodbath in India pale in comparison.

International inaction
what is at stake, the international neglect of what Israel is doing in
Jerusalem is alarming.
is testing the limits of what it can get away with.
year, for instance, during its 51-day assault, Israel destroyed the Omari
in Gaza, one of the most ancient in Palestine, with no international
which maintains a nominal role in managing al-Aqsa since its 1994 peace treaty
with Israel, has warned
that Israel’s actions, if not stopped, will affect ties between the two
such warnings in the past have not resulted in any meaningful actions by the
kingdom, which maintains close ties with the self-declared Jewish state.
European Union issued one of its typical weak statements, failing to point to
Israel’s primary responsibility for the crisis as the occupying power.
reported violence and escalation [at the site] constitute a provocation and
ahead of important Jewish and Muslim holy days, European Commission
spokesperson Maja Kocijancic told
in Brussels on Tuesday.
is crucial that all parties demonstrate calm and restraint and full respect for
the status quo of the holy sites,”
she said.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov warned the UN
Security Council on Tuesday that recent events had “the potential to ignite
violence well beyond the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.”
he too stressed that “all sides have a responsibility to refrain from
provocative actions and rhetoric”
– failing to call for the occupying power to
be held accountable.
US State Department said
that it was “deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions.”

strongly condemn all acts of violence,”
the US government said. “It is
absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative
actions and rhetoric, and preserve unchanged the historic status quo on the
Haram Al-Sharif/Temple Mount in word and in practice.”

phrase “deeply concerned” is a formula the US has used routinely to criticize
Israeli actions, such as the expansion
of colonies on occupied Palestinian land

every past case it has meant, in practice, that the US will do absolutely
nothing to restrain the Israeli aggressions it is condemning.

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