The world was again in an uproar the past few days over images of Israeli police forces entering the Al Aqsa Mosque atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and engaging in physical confrontations with Muslim rioters.
Even in Israel police officials were chastised over the severity of the clashes and the public relations damage done by the images that went viral on social and mainstream media.
Many ask why Israel bothers storming the mosque at all?
Muslim rioters routinely barricade themselves inside, especially during Ramadan. Why not just leave them there?
Maintaining public order
As our editor-in-chief, Aviel Schneider, explained earlier over on our Telegram channel, Israel and the Islamic Trust that oversees the Temple Mount (Waqf) have agreed that no one will sleep in the mosque during Ramadan.
Palestinian Muslims often try to violate this regulation. And this Ramadan again a group of Muslims have tried to barricade themselves inside the mosque armed with stones and fireworks. And in so doing have imprisoned other Muslims inside against their will.
In order for Muslims to pray in the mosque the next morning, it must first be reopened. But the troublemakers have locked and blocked the entrance from the inside. They even rejected calls by the Waqf to open the door.
Israel is responding to requests by the Waqf and average Muslims to open the mosque and remove the troublemakers. So the Israel Police storm the holy place and are then attacked. If they don’t, then the Jewish state would be accused of failing to protect freedom of worship at a Muslim holy site.
This is the truth of the matter, but is lost amidst all the media distortion. According to the international community, Israel is arbitrarily “attacking” and trying to “destroy” Al Aqsa. And this inflammatory depiction feeds the next round of conflict.
Protecting Jewish visitors
Former Israeli Ambassador to the US and current Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer (Likud) further explained in an interview with CNN on Sunday that the Muslims barricaded inside Al Aqsa intend to attack Jewish visitors.
“We do not want to go in there, [but] cannot allow innocent civilians to be killed by violent terrorists who would barricade themselves into the Al Aqsa Mosque. That is not a policy that we would be able to adopt,” Dermer stated.
Jewish groups regularly visit the Temple Mount during the morning hours. Security officials fear the Muslim rioters barricaded in the mosque intend to burst forth and attack the Jewish groups with the stones, axes and fireworks that were found stockpiled inside.
השר לעניינים אסטרטגיים רון דרמר מתראיין בשעה זו ל-CNN וטוען שהפשיטה של כוחות המשטרה בשבוע שעבר במסגד אל אקצא התרחשה בשל החשש שחמושים מתכוונים להתבצר במסגד, לאגור סלעים, זיקוקים וכלי נשק ולתכנן מתקפה נגד מבקרים יהודים שהתכוונו לבקר בהר הבית. pic.twitter.com/b92n6gXQbe
— Itamar Margalit ???? אִיתָמָר מַרְגָּלִית (@itamargalit) April 9, 2023
Over 1,000 Jews have ascended the Temple Mount during this Passover holiday thus far. That marks a significant increase over regular weekly visits by Jewish groups.
Over 800 of those visitors ascended the Mount on Sunday, while 15,000 Israeli Jews participated in the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall below.
Just an excuse
The police action at the Al Aqsa Mosque is good ammunition in the PR war against Israel, especially when it’s distorted in just the right way. But the truth is that it takes very little to get the Islamic work riled up over the Temple Mount.
For Muslims, the very presence of Jews atop the sacred plateau is a provocation.
Islam not only conquered the Temple Mount, but subsequently named it the third holiest site on earth to Muslims (a relatively recent decision with which not all Muslims agree), a clear attempt to overwrite and erase the site’s pre-Islamic history.
Jews strolling about is a blatant reminder that Mount Moriah is known to the world, Muslims included, because of Jewish history there, and that it most famously hosted the glorious Jewish temples. This is a reminder Muslims cannot tolerate if their narrative is to reign supreme.
And they certainly cannot allow, and will violently oppose any hint of losing control of the holy site to its former sovereigns.
Islam claims the entire Mount
Jordan remains the legal custodian of the Muslim holy places atop the Temple Mount, primarily the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
On Sunday the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement condemning the visits by Jews to the Temple Mount during Passover, calling them “the frequent invasions of Al-Aqsa Mosque” which are carried out “under heavy security by the Israeli occupation police in a manner that constitutes a violation of the historical and legal situation existing at the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and a violation of the sanctity of the holy places.”
1/2 Following the announcement of the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Those who desecrate the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and barricade themselves inside it are a dangerous mob, radicalized and incited by Hamas and other terror organizations. https://t.co/RJJKXoM3Uk
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) April 8, 2023
A Jordanian spokesman added that the entirety of the Temple Mount must be seen as a Muslim place of worship, and therefore off-limits to non-Muslims.
The Muslim world, Jordan included, rejects the biblical record that identifies the Temple Mount as the place of Israel’s national worship for over 1,000 years, from King David until the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.
They likewise sidestep the clear New Testament evidence that a Jewish temple stood in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus, and that he visited the holy site frequently to converse and debate with Jewish religious authorities.
Given this denial of clear historical evidence, many question why Israel, after liberating eastern Jerusalem in 1967, effectively surrendered the Temple Mount to the vanquished Muslims.
What should have been Israel’s greatest modern victory became a massive thorn in her side. Ironically, those “pragmatists” who made the decision thought that by doing so they’d placate the Muslim world and facilitate peace.
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