Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is once again in the headlines.
On July 14 a four-man Islamist terror squad smuggled sub-machine guns and knives onto the Mountain where Solomon’s and Herod’s Temple once stood – a religious site holy to Judaism and Islam. Three of the four then attacked and murdered two Israeli police officers of Arab Druze origin who had been guarding the entrance gates and insuring safe passage for Muslim, Christian and Jewish pilgrims. The terrorists were Arab Muslims from the Jabarin family in Umm al-Fahm, an Arab municipality within Israel located between Haifa and Jenin. They had been radicalized by virulent anti-Israeli Islamist agitation in their home-town madrasa (Islamic religious school). The three terrorists who carried out the attack were taken down by an IDF rapid response team.
The smuggling of weapons onto a religious site and the murder of peace officers would be considered a severe terror attack for any country – unless (from the jihadi perspective) the smugglers are jihadi and those being attacked are Jewish or Israeli citizens. Such a double standard is par for the course in fundamentalist Islamist circles (like Taliban, ISIS and Hamas) but it is also de rigeur in what are considered ‘moderate’ and pro-Western Muslim states like Jordan.
The Speaker of the Jordanian House of Representatives Atef Tarawneh spoke of the three terrorists in the July 16 session: “We pray for our martyrs, who have watered the pure soil of Palestine [with their blood]. We can raise our heads high because of the sacrifices of the Palestinian youths, who still struggle on behalf of our nation…Behold, the Palestinian youth form the necklace of martyrdom out of the beads of their lives and their great sacrifices. They are alive, sustained by their Lord. May Allah have mercy upon our youths from the Jabarin family, whose relatives are worthy of pride and glory, even if the occupation hates it and its oppression runs amok. My colleagues, the attacks by the Israeli occupation against the most holy place in Jerusalem – against al-Aqsa and against the holy Haram of Jerusalem – will remain cause for the continuation of the resistance, which will not subside in the face of injustice and tyranny” (https://www.memri.org/tv/jordan-parliament-prays-for-souls-jerusalem-terror-attack-perpetrators; footage from this session was posted on the Jordanian Parliament’s YouTube channel on July 16, 2017 though later removed).
Terrorists against counter-terrorism
Israeli law enforcement’s rapid response included setting up surveillance cameras (CCTVs) and metal detectors close to the major entrances of the Temple Mount.
Such cameras and detectors are commonly found outside of many mosques in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, India and some areas of Russia. In Mecca all pilgrims to the hajj pass through metal detectors as well as past the watchful eyes of over 5,000 CCTV cameras. In Jerusalem all Jewish and Christian visitors to the Western Wall plaza, and all visitors in Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs have been subject to metal detector and CCTV examination for years. The same is true for most airport travelers worldwide since 9/11.
But within a few hours of Israel’s counter-terrorism responses, Islamist terror spinmeisters kidnapped the world’s media: “Israel is violating the status quo and defiling the sacrosanct nature of an Islamic holy site,” they declared. “This is part of a sinister Zionist strategy to destroy Islam.”
These talking points instantly became the cause célèbre of the Muslim world and of media outlets from Al Jazeera to CNN. Attention was quickly turned away from the mosque-based jihadi murders of Israeli policemen. Instead the subject morphed into how Israel was supposedly violating sacrosanct Islamic grounds. This swift manipulation of mass media echoes a famous Arabic proverb, “First he hits me and then he cries!”
Never wasting an opportunity to waste an opportunity, the Hamas branch of the Muslim Brotherhood called on all Muslims to launch an intifada, a ‘day of rage’ against all Israelis everywhere in the world.
- Hamas Politburo Chief Isma’il Haniya said, “I urge all members of the Islamic ummah to make Friday [July 21] into a turning point for Arab willpower, when the people will launch an intifada in every city to defend the first place of worship [al-Aqsa], the place where the Prophet [Muhammad] ascended heavenward, and to emphasize that the enemy’s plots will not be allowed to come to fruition at al-Aqsa… The Zionist occupiers do not possess sovereignty and Jerusalem.” Fawzi Barhoum (a Hamas spokesman) said that the battle at al-Aqsa is one link in the chain of jihad (memri.org/reports/all-palestinian-factions-call-day-rage-defend-al-aqsa-palestinian-authority-mufti-prayer).
- Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi (investigativeproject.org/profile/167/yusuf-al-qaradawi), one of the most esteemed spiritual leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, tweeted on July 16-18, 2017: “Standing at the battlefront and at the head of the jihad in the land of prophecies and the place where the Prophet arrived in the Night Journey [i.e. Al-Aqsa] will continue until Allah alone declares victory and fulfills his promise … Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque are not a place sacred to the Palestinians alone. It is a place sacred to all Muslims. It is not merely the property of the current generation, but for all generations of Muslims until Judgment Day…The existence of the Zionists is alien, oppressive, aggressive, and criminal. It is inconceivable for it to persist. It is undoubtedly [destined for] perdition. And your Lord is not unaware of what they do. As for those who do wrong, they will know by what overturning they will be overturned.”
- Not to be outdone, Sheikh Omar Qiswani of the Jordanian-affiliated Jerusalem waqf (a waqf is a property or holding donated for Islamic religious purposes for perpetuity; here the waqf is the Islamic religious council overseeing Islamic observance at the Temple Mount or Haram ash-Sharif in Arabic) called on worshipers to refrain from entering the compound until the detectors were removed. Sheikh Mustafa Tawil, head of Jerusalem’s Shari’a Council declared, “We reject totally the cabinet’s decision to keep the metal detectors at the entrance to the Holy Sanctuary. This is a place totally sanctified, ruled, governed, and administered by the Muslim worshippers and Palestinians.”
- The PLO and the Palestinian Authority added their fuel to the fire. Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the PLO appointed Mufti of Jerusalem, declared that Israel is attempting to change the status quo at al-Aqsa Mosque which is a “Muslim-only holy site.” He prohibited worshipers from passing through the metal detectors on the way to Al-Aqsa mosque. He said “the prayer of anyone entering the Al-Aqsa mosque via the metal detectors is null and void.” The Fatah branch of the PLO called for rioting against Israel’s “terrorist procedures.”
“May you be forever – Islamic!”
From the classic Muslim viewpoint, any territory once conquered by jihadi forces is considered forever Islamic, whether it be Jerusalem, Spain, Serbia or southern Russia. The jihadi take is that such areas must be controlled by Islam in perpetuity, and it is a religious travesty for non-Muslims to exercise any sovereignty over those regions. Osama bin Laden’s al Qa’eda descriptions of the 9/11 attacks as a justified Islamist response to the presence of American troops in the Arabian Peninsula is one of the better-known expressions of this mindset.
According to the Quran, the waqf principle is not limited only to Israel’s Temple Mount or Spain’s Toledo. The jihadi army must conquer the entire world and force it to bow the knee to Allah: “Fight then against them until there is no strife and the religion is entirely Allah’s” (see Quran, Surah 8:39-42). Though the flashpoint of the battle may today be Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, from a classical Islamic End of Days perspective the jihadi battle will spread to the whole world (America and Europe included) before coming back full circle to triumph in the Middle East.
Jihad, Jews and the Temple Mount
A brief historical background about Islamist perspectives concerning the Jewish Temple Mount:
Muhammad actually never set foot on the soil of the Promised Land, dying in Medina in 632 AD. Sixty years later in 691-692 AD the now-golden Dome of the Rock came ‘on-line’ in Jerusalem, while the black-domed al-Aqsa mosque was completed in 701 AD.
During the centuries of Islamist rule in the Land of Israel (637-1099, 1187-1917), Jews were forbidden from going up onto the Temple Mount, but were allowed to gather in a small area near one of the retaining walls of the compound which later became known as the Wailing Wall (today, the Western Wall). The cramped area granted for Jewish prayer was to be physical proof of how totally the sons of Jacob had been vanquished by the army of Muhammad.
In later years an Islamist tradition developed that Muhammad rode a mythical horse named al-Buraq (which had wings and a beautiful female face) in the year 620 AD, taking his legendary ‘night journey and ascension’ (in Arabic al-’Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāj) to the ‘distant masjid or mosque’ (in Arabic al-Masjidi ‘l-’Aqṣá); Quran 17:1, Surat al-Isrā’).
But in 620 AD (the year of Muhammad’s purported flying visit to the Temple Mount), Islamist jihadi forces had not yet invaded any country. The initial jihadi battles were exploding in the region currently called Saudi Arabia. Only in 633 AD was Syria invaded. The land of Israel was not conquered until 638 AD. At that time the local population was not Arab, but made up of Jews and Byzantine Christians. There were no Muslims in Israel and no mosques either. So the al-Aqsa mosque referred to in Quran 17:1 referred to a site perhaps in the Medina area. As to whether or not a mythological horse actually flew Muhammad to that location in Medina – this is a matter of Islamic belief.
According to this later Islamic legend, Muhammad flew to Jerusalem and tied his horse to the area beside where the Jewish people prayed – the Wailing or Western Wall. That small alcove was ‘christened’ al-Buraq by later Muslims.
- In this Islamist Replacement Theology spin, places and events connected to the Jewish people were allegorized, and Islamic people and purported events were artificially injected into Jewish sites, replacing them with a false Muslim identity.
Islamist jurors eventually requisitioned that whole area as waqf as part of their attempt to replace and invalidate Jewish connections with the Temple Mount. The first historical description of the al-Buraq mosque on the Temple Mount comes from 1689 in the writings of Sufi scholar Abd al-Ghani al-Nabulsi after his visit to Jerusalem.
- The Islamist attempt to destroy and invalidate Jewish connections to the Temple Mount is at the heart of the age-old conflict. It is Replacement Theology on steroids, backed up by jihadi invasion, conquest and oppression.
During the era of the Turkish Caliphate (1517-1917 AD) an absolute ban on non-Muslim access to the Temple Mount was in force.
After the British armies marched in to Jerusalem on December 9, 1917, General Allenby cabled the British War Cabinet stating, “The Mosque of Omar and the area round it has been placed under Moslem control…Orders have been issued that no non-Moslem is to pass this cordon without permission of the Military Governor and the Moslems in charge of the mosque” (http://filestore.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pdfs/small/cab-23-4-wc-296-70.pdf).
England established a Supreme Muslim Council (al-Majlis al-Islami al-A’ala) to administer the waqf and the Shari’a religious courts. But no revolutionary thoughts of religious ‘liberty for the Jewish captives’ would be drawn up by Whitehall, in stark contrast to what Napoleon I declared as he approached the Land of Israel in 1799:
- “Rightful (ed., Jewish) heirs of Palestine! The great nation which does not trade in men and countries as did those which sold your ancestors unto all people calls on you… to take over that which has been conquered and, with that nation’s support, to remain master of it against all comers… Hasten! Now is the moment, which may not return for thousands of years, to claim the restoration of civic rights among the population of the universe which had been shamefully withheld from you for thousands of years, your political existence as a nation among the nations, and the unlimited natural right to worship in accordance with your faith, publicly and most probably forever!” (http://www.mideastweb.org/napoleon1799.htm)
Au contraire, Article 13 of the League of Nations Mandatory Charter given to Britain in 1922 denied the United Kingdom’s right to interfere with the Temple Mount site or with the administration of ‘purely Muslim holy places:’ “Nothing in this mandate shall be construed as conferring upon the Mandatory authority to interfere with the fabric or the management of purely Moslem sacred shrines, the immunities of which are guaranteed” (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/palmanda.asp#art13). The King’s Order-in-Council issued by the government authorities of Mandatory Palestine in 1934 also confirmed the Ottoman religious status quo. Jews were forbidden from accessing the Temple Mount, which was now considered by Christians to be an exclusively Muslim holy place.
“Britain captured this holy site from the Ottoman Empire in World War I and received an international mandate to manage it and the rest of Palestine on behalf of its inhabitants. Britain’s goal in this overwhelmingly Arab land was to create both a self-governing state and a national home for the Jewish people. The inherent contradictions underlying this regime led to its ultimate collapse in 1948, when the British fled the country ‘amid bloodshed, chaos, recrimination and ignominy’” (Bernard Wasserstein, Divided Jerusalem: The Struggle for the Holy City, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008, page 82).
- The Mountain which had been conquered by jihad and made Judenrein by the sword of Islam was now finding its anti-Jewish Islamist Replacement Theology status validated by Britain, the fast-fading heir to a Christian and Protestant empire.
A contemporaneous British Christian writer expressed his anger at Britain’s realpolitik submissiveness to Islam. “To permit a false religion to hold sway in ‘the city of the Lord’ (Matt. 5:35), or any other portion of the Holy Land, would be to thwart and countermine God’s set purpose, and be altogether contrary to His plans regarding the earth and man upon it” (Frank G. Jannaway, Palestine and the World; London: Maranatha Press, 1922; pages 232-233).
Stampeding Islamist riots on the Temple Mount
- Violent outbreaks of bloody Islamist rioting connected to the Temple Mount were commonplace during the days of the British Mandate. In most cases the riots were stirred up by false accusations that the Jews wanted to take over the Temple Mount, destroy the Islamic structures and rebuild a Third Temple.
Haj Amin al-Husseini had been a teacher at the Rashidiya school, near Herod’s Gate in East Jerusalem, He was one of the instigators of the April 1920 Nebi Musa riots outside of Jerusalem, virulently renouncing the 1917 Balfour Declaration (which was favorable to the establishment of a Jewish national home). That riot saw six Jews murdered and 216 Jews injured (of them 18 critically) by Arab mobs. About 300 Jews were evacuated from the Old City of Jerusalem at that time. Al-Husseini was charged by the British with inciting Jerusalem’s Arab crowds and was sentenced in absentia to 10-years imprisonment by a military court. He fled to Syria after the riots, but was welcomed back by the British and appointed as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921.
- Starting in the 1920’s and continuing up to the present Islamist leaders have falsely charged that there is a national Jewish goal of seizing the Temple Mount and rebuilding a Jewish Temple there.
Here is a quotation from a 1922 Arabic leaflet penned by Sheikh Abd al-Qadir al-Muzaffar entitled Public Call to the Muslim People from your Brethren, the Muslims of Jerusalem and the Rest of Palestine: “The Zionist body which is trying to create a Jewish kingdom in Palestine, dreams of taking from us the al-Aqsa Mosque, built upon the ruins of Solomon’s temple, and of reconstructing their temple…” (An Aesthetic Occupation: The Immediacy of Architecture and the Palestine Conflict, by Daniel Bertand Monk, Duke University Press, 2002, page 83).
On Yom Kippur, September 1928, the makeshift prayer area abutting the Western Wall was being used by religious Jews as an informal synagogue. The mushrooming Islamist movement insisted to the British that aged Jews were forbidden from bringing in folding chairs to sit on during times of prayer, that a mechitza or provisional dividing screen between Jewish men and women was not also allowed, and that the shofar or ram’s horn could not be blown at the Jewish High Holidays.
Islamist authorities described the screens as violating the Ottoman status quo that forbade Jews from making any ‘construction’ at the Western Wall area. British Commissioner for Jerusalem Edward Keith-Roach insisted on the screen’s removal due to these Muslim demands. When the Jewish shamash (beadle) failed to remove the screen quickly enough, ten armed thugs were dispatched by Islamist leadership to attack the worshippers and destroy the screen. During that hooligan attack local Arab residents shouted out “Death to the Jewish dogs!” and “Strike, strike!”
In September and October 1928 al-Husseini began to distribute leaflets throughout Mandatory Palestine and the Arab world claimed that the Jews were planning to take over the al-Aqsa Mosque. The leaflet stated that the British Mandatory Government was “responsible for any consequences of any measures which the Moslems may adopt for the purpose of defending the holy Buraq themselves in the event of the failure of the Government…to prevent any such intrusion on the part of the Jews.” A memorandum issued by the Moslem Supreme Council stated, “Having realized by bitter experience the unlimited greedy aspirations of the Jews in this respect, Moslems believe that the Jews’ aim is to take possession of the Mosque of al-Aqsa gradually on the pretense that it is the Temple.” and it advised the Jews “to stop this hostile propaganda which will naturally engender a parallel action in the whole Moslem world, the responsibility for which will rest with the Jews.”
In October 1928, the Grand Mufti began a provocative construction project on the Temple Mount platform, directly above and adjoining the Wailing Wall prayer area. Mules were deliberately driven through the Jewish area of prayer, often dropping excrement. Waste water was thrown down onto Jewish worshippers from the Temple Mount platform above. A muezzin (Muslim cantor) stationed himself straight above the Jewish prayer area to perform the Islamic call to prayer, timed to coincide exactly with Jewish prayers. These provocations increased tensions. According to Graham Harman (The Mufti and the Wailing Wall: A History of Palestine, Princeton University Press, page 230), “From 1929 onward, the Supreme Muslim Council intensified construction work on the Haram al-Sharif in order to demonstrate their exclusive claims to the Temple Mount… Not without reason, Jewish believers felt disturbed in their prayer.”
On Thursday August 15 1929, a commemoration of the Jewish Fast of the Ninth of Av occurred at the Wailing Wall, where declarations were made that the Wall was part of the history and birthright of the Jewish people. On Friday August 16 (the Islamic day of prayer), the mawlid (Arabic for the birth) or mawsin an-nabi (Arabic for ‘the feast of the prophet’) – that is, the birth of Muhammad – was celebrated on the esplanade of the Temple Mount, As the crowd came down from the Mount, they attacked the Jewish prayer area, burning prayer books, Torah scroll arks and cupboards, and destroying paper prayer notes left in the cracks of the Wall. Rioting quickly spread to the Jewish commercial area of town.
Starting on Friday August 23 (the Islamic day of prayer), thousands of Arab villagers who had been incited by bloodthirsty preaching in local mosques streamed into Jerusalem from the surrounding countryside to pray on the Temple Mount, many armed with sticks and knives. For five days violent Muslim mobs attacked Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Motza, Jaffa, Haifa and Safed. Approximately 135 Jews were murdered and 340 wounded during that period.
On Saturday August 24 Arab mobs attacked the ancient Jewish Quarter of Hebron killing and raping men, women and children and looting Jewish property. Over 65 Jews were killed and 58 were wounded. Many of the victims were mutilated, others were tortured. Most of the 116 Arab fatalities and 232 wounded throughout the British Mandate during those five days were as a result of military confrontation with British security forces.
- The Muslim population had been stirred up by false rumors that the Jews were attempting to seize the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. The Islamist jihadi leader Haj Amin al-Husseini was fingered by British Mandatory authorities as the invisible hand behind the pogroms and the false threats
The British Shaw Commission of Enquiry concluded, “The outbreak in Jerusalem on the 23rd of August was from the beginning an attack by Arabs on Jews for which no excuse in the form of earlier murders by Jews has been established…The fundamental cause, without which in our opinion disturbances either would not occurred or would not have been little more than a local riot, is the Arab feeling of animosity and hostility towards the Jews…” (Report of the Commission on the disturbances of August 1929, Command paper 3530; Shaw Commission report; 1930).
Islamists and Nazis – birds of a feather
Haj Amin al-Husseini later spearheaded the Arab Revolt (1936-39) which led to the death of over 300 Jews and the destruction of many Jewish farms and orchards. From the very beginning of his public life al-Husseini collaborated with:
- Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood; (https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/HUSSEINI,%20AMIN%20EL%20%20%20VOL.5_0127.pdf)
- Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam (founder of the anti-Zionist and anti-British Black Hand [al-Kaff al-Aswad], and spiritual doyen of Hamas; (militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3381)
On 30 June 1946, the Muslim Brotherhood paper al-Ikhwan al-Muslimin spoke glowingly of al-Husseini’s visit to Cairo, “The Arab hero and symbol of jihad and patience and struggle is here in Egypt.”
Haj Amin al-Husseini was a personal friend of some top Nazis:
- Reichsfuhrer of the Schutzstaffe (SS) Heinrich Himmler (http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/library/reading_corner/Pages/Himmler.aspx)
- SS Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) Adolf Eichmann (in charge of Hitler’s Final Solution genocide program)
- Reichsminister(Nazi Foreign Minister) Joachim von Ribbentrop (http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=10023)
- Nazi Germany Führer Adolf Hitler
Al-Husseini met Adolf Hitler on November 28, 1941 (www.timesofisrael.com/full-official-record-what-the-mufti-said-to-hitler/). During that meeting Hitler clearly stated that “Germany’s objective would then be solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere under the protection of British power” (“Das deutsche Ziel würde dann lediglich die Vernichtung des im arabischen Raum unter der Protektion der britischen Macht lebenden Judentums sein”).
Assisted by Nazi Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment Josef Goebbels, al-Husseini began Berlin-based Arabic-language radio broadcasts to the Middle East in December, 1941, calling for acts of sabotage against the British as well as jihadi murder against the Jews. In one such broadcast al-Husseini urged his listeners, “Arabs! Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases Allah, history and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.”
This revealing quote is from the March 1, 1944 broadcast of Radio Berlin, quoted in Robert Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger. It is sourced from US Government Archives:
- Weekly Review of Foreign Broadcasts, F.C.C. [Federal Communications Commission], No. 118 3/4/44, Near and Middle East,” United States National Archives, College Park, Record Group 165, MID, Regional File, 1922-44, Palestine, entry 77, Box 2719, folder 2930 (archives.gov/dc-metro/college-park);
- archives.gov/research/holocaust/finding-aid/military/rg-165.html#Intelligence– the listing of 3,335 boxes under: Formerly Security-Classified Intelligence Reference Publications (“Regional File”) Received From U.S. Military Attaches, Military and Civilian Agencies of the United States, Foreign Governments, and Other Sources, 1922-1944 (Entry 77).
On June 1, 1941, during the Jewish Feast of Weeks, a pogrom (farhud – ‘violent dispossession’ in Arabic) broke out against the Jews of Baghdad, resulting in 200 Jews murdered and over 1,000 wounded. A joint Iraqi-British Commission of Enquiry concluded that al-Husseini and his Nazi propaganda radio broadcasts were the prime mover and instigator behind the slaughter.
- The phoenix-like rise of Islamist jihad in the Land of Israel during the first half of the 20th century focused on supposed threats to the Temple Mount as a goad to instigate violent attacks on Israel’s Jewish population. Nazi support for these goals was heartily received by leading Islamists.
An Islamist Auschwitz
In 1942, the same year that the Nazi High Command held its Wannsee Conference to implement the Final Solution, al-Husseini was readying Arab participation for the expected slaughter of the Jews that would accompany German victory. In close cooperation with Adolf Eichmann and an Einsatzkommando (Special Operations force and mobile killing squad) under the control of SS Obersturmbannführer Walther Rauff, the Mufti planned to build crematoriums for the Jews in the Dothan Valley of Samaria. The testimony of Faiz Bay Idrisi, a senior Arab officer in the British Mandatory police, stated, “I remember what was said in police circles and among supporters of the Mufti in those months …Haj Amin al-Husseini’s master plan was to establish in the Dothan Valley, close to Shechem, giant crematoriums like Auschwitz, into which would be brought the Jews of Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and even North Africa, in order to slaughter them with the methods of the S.S. who operated in the death camps in Europe” (www.thetower.org/article/how-the-mufti-of-jerusalem-created-the-permanent-problem-of-palestinian-violence/).
- The connection between Nazi genocide against the Jews, Islamist pushing the Jews off the Temple Mount and a combined destroying of the Zionist enterprise are clearly seen here. These are some of the strategic spiritual roots shared between Islamism and Nazism.
“The Temple Mount is in our hands – kind of!”
For 19 years (May 1948 to June 1967), the Temple Mount was occupied by the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan. All Jews were exiled from Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem, while Arabs were settled in their place. Fifty-eight synagogues in the Old City were desecrated or demolished. 38,000 ancient Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives were systematically destroyed, and no Jewish burials were permitted there. The Old City of Jerusalem was now Judenrein (a Nazi term meaning ‘cleansed of Jews’). Last but not least, the Western Wall was transferred into an exclusively Islamic holy site associated with the al-Buraq legend. For more information see Jerusalem Divided: the Armistice Regime, 1947-1967, by Raphael Israeli, Psychology Press, 2002, page 24.
On June 7, 1967 the IDF captured the Old City of Jerusalem. The Temple Mount was once again in Jewish hands after a hiatus of nearly 2,000 years. At a June 17 meeting on the Temple Mount between the then-Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan and Islamic religious authorities in Jerusalem, it was decided to permit the Jordanian Awqaf (waqf) Ministry to continue to administer the site.
Jews and Christians were given the right to visit the Temple Mount provided that they respected Muslims’ religious sensibilities, but they were not allowed to pray there. The Western Wall was to be recognized as the Jewish place of prayer. ‘Religious sovereignty’ within the Islamic compound was to remain with the Muslims while ‘overall sovereignty’ became Israel’s. The status quo now meant that Israel would be responsible for security around the perimeter of the site, while the Jordanian-controlled Jerusalem Waqf would be responsible for events within the compound. Today, the Jerusalem Waqf controls the Temple Mount, schools, orphanages, Islamic libraries and museums, mosques, the Shari’a courts as well as many residential and commercial properties in greater Jerusalem.
In early October 1990 an announcement by a small Jewish extremist religious group (the ‘Temple Mount Faithful’) stated that the group was going to lay a cornerstone for a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. On 8 October 1990, mosque loudspeakers in the Kidron Valley and on the Mount of Olives proclaimed that “al-Aqsa was in danger.” The immediate result was an Islamic riot where 17-20 Palestinians were killed and over 100 others injured (after they attacked Israeli Border Police on the Temple Mount).
According to the Israeli Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Events on Temple Mount on 8 October 1990, “The members of the Waqf knew that the High Court had refused the Temple Mount Faithful petition to lay the cornerstone of the Third Temple, and did not respond to requests by Israel Police officers on the morning of the incident to calm the crowd. This, even after the police informed the Waqf that they would also prevent the Temple Mount Faithful, and anyone else, from visiting the area, though such visits are allowed by law… The incident itself began when, suddenly, violent and threatening calls were sounded over the loudspeakers “Allahu Akbar” [Allah is Greater], “Jihad” [Holy War], “Itbah al-Yahud” [Slaughter the Jews]). Immediately afterwards, enormous amounts of rocks, construction materials and metal objects were thrown at Israeli policemen who were present at the site. Many in the incited, rioting mob threw stones and metal objects from a very short range, and some even wielded knives. The actions of the rioters, and certainly the inciters, constituted a threat to the lives of the police, the thousands of worshippers at the Western Wall and to themselves. This was a serious criminal offense committed by masses who were incited by preachers over loudspeakers, and this is what led to the tragic chain of events … Nineteen policemen were injured as well as nine Western Wall worshippers. According to Police statistics, 20 people were killed and 52 injured on the Temple Mount” (www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/mfadocuments/yearbook8/pages/165%20summary%20of%20a%20report%20of%20the%20commission%20of%20inqui.aspx).
Tunnel vision under the Temple Mount
On September 24, 1996 a new archeological exhibit called ‘the Rabbinic tunnel’ was opened to both the Israeli public and international tourists. It was the culmination of nearly 30 years of archeological excavations outside of the Temple Mount’s external buttress walls. A tunnel was dug outside of these supporting walls which had been constructed by Herod the Great in order to expand the workable surface of the Temple Mount. The tunnel and the retaining walls were not part of any Temple at any period in history.
Even though the tunnel was more than two football fields away from the al-Aqsa mosque and totally outside the Islamic precincts, the head of the PLO Yasser Arafat declared that the opening of the tunnel was a “big crime against our religious and holy places.” Palestinian Authority spokesman Sa’eb Erekat declared, “Well, the thing is … it was the Israelis who announced that they will open this tunnel in order to build … a new temple now in the place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” (CNN, September 29, 1996).
On September 24, 1996 Voice of Palestine radio urged listeners to “move immediately and effectively to face this serious criminal scheme. We appeal to them all to shoulder their religious and national responsibilities in these serious circumstances and to confront these painful incidents and tragic dangers facing holy Jerusalem” (Voice of Palestine radio from Jericho monitored by BBC, September 24, 1996, 1050 GMT).
On September 25, the Palestinian Authority and Arafat’s Fatah faction brought busloads of Bir Zeit University students to attack Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint outside Ramallah. Molotov cocktails and rocks were thrown at the IDF who initially repulsed them with rubber bullets and tear gas. Whereas at other times PA police had previously prevented crowds from approaching Israeli checkpoints, this time they stood aside. As the rioting spiraled out of control, PA police joined in, firing on Israeli soldiers.
In a speech in Gaza at that time, Arafat invoked Islamic references to war, reminding the crowd that “to the believers who fight for Allah, kill and are killed, heaven is promised” (quoted in The New York Times, Oct. 4, 1996).
- In three days of violence 14 Israeli soldiers and 44 Palestinians were killed. The violence had been stirred up by the Palestinian Authority. It spread a poisonously false charge that al-Aqsa was under attack. It created out-of-control violent attacks by Palestinian Arabs on Israeli troops and civilians. This was a repeat of the Islamist violence against Jews which had exploded in 1920, 1928-29, 1936 and 1990.
The rise of Sharon
On September 28, 2000, then-opposition leader of Israel Ariel Sharon visited the al-Aqsa compound accompanied by a large number of armed security guards. After Sharon left, a violent Palestinian demonstration erupted with people throwing stones and other projectiles at Israeli riot police. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd, injuring 24 people.
On September 29, 2000, Israel deployed 2,000 riot police to the mosque. After Friday prayers Muslims hurled stones at the police and at Jewish worshippers gathered at the Western Wall. The police then stormed the compound, firing both rubber bullets and live ammunition at the rioting Palestinians (4 killed and 200 wounded).
Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reported on September 19, 2002, that the rioting and the official reason behind it were planned and fabricated in advance by the Palestinian leadership:
“Imad Faluji, the PA Communications Minister, admitted on October 11, 2001, that the violence had been planned in July, far in advance of Sharon’s ‘provocation.’ He said: ‘Whoever thinks that the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to Al-Aksa Mosque, is wrong, even if this visit was the straw that broke the back of the Palestinian people. This intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat’s return from the Camp David negotiations…’
More than a year later, on the first anniversary of the intifada, West Bank Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti gave an interview on October 22, 2001 to the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat in which he admitted that he had played a direct role in igniting the intifada. He said: ‘I knew that … when Sharon reached al-Aksa Mosque, this was the most appropriate moment for the outbreak of the intifada… The night prior to Sharon’s visit, I participated in a panel on a local television station and I seized the opportunity to call on the public to go to al-Aksa Mosque in the morning … We tried to create clashes without success because of the differences of opinion that emerged with others in al-Aksa compound at the time…. After Sharon left, I remained for two hours in the presence of other people, we discussed the manner of response and how it was possible to react in all the cities and not just in Jerusalem. We contacted all [the Palestinian] factions’” (How the war began, Khaled Abu Toameh, September 19, 2002; www.mafhoum.com/press3/111P55.htm).
Close to 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis were killed in these clashes, which lasted five years.
- Once again, the 2000 AD Islamist violence was deliberately triggered against Jews. The fig leaf was a supposed Jewish attack on al-Aqsa mosque, but the real reasons were more sinister and had to do with another goal – jihadi destruction of the Jewish people’s state.
To view how Islamists perceive these events, see: www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2015/11/jerusalem-dividing-al-aqsa-151110154741523.html
In light of all the above…
The recent Islamist terror attack of July 14, 2017 occurred at the conclusion of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan and close to the Jewish fast of the Ninth of Av. Murder came out of the mosque compound, and two Israeli policemen were felled in the line of duty. Israel’s robust counter-terrorist responses were then parried by massive international Islamist threats and political pressure. The false charge of a ‘Jewish attack on the sanctity of al-Aqsa mosque’ was dusted off from the ash heap of history. It exploded like fireworks throughout the world’s media outlets. And once again the Islamist sleight-of-hand worked. Israel backed down from increased confrontation for reasons known only to her top decision-makers.
Those who love Israel and believe in God’s divine hand accomplishing her restoration in our day – need to be aware of these dark machinations on the part of those who oversee the waqf of al-Aqsa and those who stir up violence among Palestinian and Muslims worldwide.
As this newsletter was going to press, I received an excellent article by a favorite writer of ours, Melanie Phillips, considering the above subject from a complementary and helpful angle. It’s titled “Incitement, lies and the strange eclipse of the Dome of the Rock.” Check it out at:
How should we then pray?
- Pray for those who disseminate lies and violence about the Temple Mount – that they would receive a revelation of their sinful deeds and the gift of repentance which leads to everlasting life
- Pray for Israelis to receive a revelation about what is actually happening on the Temple Mount, as well as an anointing of courage to explain to others what is happening
- Pray specifically for Arabic-speaking believers in Yeshua across the Islamic world to receive God’s perspective on these issues, as well as bravery to declare these truths clearly and unapologetically
- Pray for world leaders to receive a spirit of revelation and repentance about these matters, that they might come into alignment with God’s word and heart (Ephesians 3:14-19)
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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