Analyst weighs in on risks and highlights
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL (ANS – July 30, 2017) — The Islamist terror militia Hamas declared itself scandalized Wednesday (July 26) following a decision by the EU Court of Justice to keep it on a terrorist blacklist, calling for a “day of rage” to occur Friday, July 28 to protest against the “injustice” of the decision.
A Hamas statement also pointed out the installation of cameras on the Temple Mount by Israeli security forces as an example of the gratuitous “oppression.”
Hamas said Palestinians “needed to rise up and demonstrate their unwillingness to be subjected to,” according to a news article from the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, written and compiled by Aaron Hecht (https://int.icej.org).
The statement by a senior Hamas official also appeared to take credit for an Israeli decision to remove the metal detectors which had previously been installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount, saying “The steadfastness of the residents of Jerusalem surprised the occupation with their determination and sacrifice.”
He added a demand for the Arab and Moslem governments of the world to “use all diplomatic tools against Israel to dissuade them from continuing to harass al-Aksa Mosque.”
PLO spokesman Osama Qawasmeh announced this week that a meeting of the leadership of Palestinian organizations had resulted in a unanimous vote to not pray inside the Al-Aksa Mosque “until the situation will return to how it was before July 14, and Israel will remove all obstacles and reopen all of the [Temple Mount’s] gates without any conditions or restrictions.”
He added that the PA had exhorted Moslems to “stand by the Jerusalemites in the coming days and pray in the street and not in the mosques.”
PLO Executive Committee member Wassal Abu Yusef told Ma’an News Agency: “The leadership stressed the continuation of regular activity, support for Jerusalemites in all possible ways and even the escalation of popular resistance in the aim of restoring the situation in east Jerusalem to pre-July 14 conditions, by the removal of all obstacles set by Israel.”
In a video, posted to the ICEJ website, Ambassador Dore Gold, an Israeli diplomat who has served in various positions under several Israeli governments, offers his analysis of the Temple Mount Situation here https://youtu.be/oMcdpSEcAik .
Ambassador Gold is the current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and was an advisor to the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term in office. In May 2015, Netanyahu named him Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gold said that it’s extremely important to remember where the current crisis about metal detectors on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem came from.
“As you recall, it all started when guns were smuggled onto the temple Mount and actually used against two Israeli officers — Sathawi and Shnan — both of whom were killed as a result of these illegal firearms that were brought into a holy site. This should not have come as a surprise.”
Gold said that we have been witnessing, over the last two decades, that holy sites across the Middle East have lost their traditional immunity.
“There has been a tangible escalation of attacks on holy sites across the Middle East and South Asia. Everyone remembers at the time of 9/11 an attack by the Taliban against 2,000-year-old Buddhist statues in the Bamyan Valley of Afghanistan that were dynamited.
“Closer to home, we also recall that there were attacks in areas controlled by the Palestinians such as Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus and perhaps, more notably, the attack by a joint Hamas-Fatah cell against the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where clergy were taken hostage and many religious icons were stolen.”
Gold said that what hasn’t been sufficiently noted is that in this period of increasing attacks on holy sites mosques have also become a fair target for Islamic extremists. Even this past year Saudi Arabia foiled a Suicide attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the holiest site for Muslims around the world.
“A year ago there was another attack on The Prophet’s Mosque in Medina where four Saudi Arabian security officials were killed. And everyone’s been talking about Mosul lately because of the victory over ISIS (Islamic State). But recall that this year the 800-year-old Nuri Mosque was attacked by that organization and destroyed.
“So not only have churches been attacked, not only have religious sites of the Jews been attacked and Buddhists, but even Mosques have been attacked — whether they are Sunni or Shiite.”
Gold went on to say that given this wave of attacks, all governments around the Middle East feel the necessity to put in place security measures that will prevent Jihadi organizations from carrying out their plans.
“Take Saudi Arabia — the caretaker of the grand Mosque in Mecca — where it has put in place a system of 5,000 security cameras and an elaborate command center where the entire mosque area can be monitored. The use of electronic systems to counter the efforts to attack holy sites is well established. And Israel of course had to find a method that would be relevant for deterring and preventing attacks against the holy sites in Jerusalem, and in particular the Temple Mount.”
Gold stated that it’s clear that the problem on the Temple Mount over the last two weeks had nothing to do with metal detectors.
“Anything Israel would try to put in place would produce a very strong reaction for reasons that have nothing to do with electronics and preventing terror. What has been motivating many young Palestinians, who are outside of the temple Mount area protesting, has been a complete falsehood spread by certain organizations in the Middle East to the effect that it’s Israel’s intention to destroy the Al-Aqsaa Mosque. This myth was originally begun by the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni back in 1929.”
He said it has stayed with Muslim extremists since that time and every 4 or 5 years returns in greater force.
“Now, who has been behind spreading this falsehood? You actually have to go to (an) Israeli Arab town…where you’ll find an individual…who has been convening over the last decade large rallies with huge posters asserting that Al-Aqsa is in danger,” Gold said.
Beyond Israel, Gold said, “there’s Yusuf al-Qaradawi the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, who sits in Qatar no less, who has been asserting that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in greater danger than ever before. Young people hear these stories and are convinced that if they don’t take active measures, then their cherished mosque is at risk.”
He said the main theme of the incitement over the last two weeks is that the metal detectors were introduced to the Temple Mount in order to desecrate a religious holy site.
“The exact opposite is true. The metal detectors were put in place to protect a holy site. A holy site for Jews, for Muslims, and for Christians,” Gold said.
“So even if you solve other problems of what kind of sensors you want to put in place to prevent terrorists from coming up on the Temple Mount, even if you remove the metal detectors, you’re going to be left with the incitement that is the principal cause of the violence to begin with.”
Gold concluded: “This is why, when the issue of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is discussed at the UN in Washington, London, or Paris, if the issue of religious incitement is not explicitly addressed, then the seeds will still be left in place for the next round of violence ahead.”
Tensions on the Temple Mount seemed to have calmed over the weekend, and Israel has removed the security procedures it put in place after the two policemen were killed on July 14. Authorities are now giving access only to men over 50.
Photo captions: 1) The Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 2) Ambassador Dore Gold. 3) Michael Ireland.
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister, and an award-winning local cable-TV program host/producer who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. You may follow Michael on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Michael-Ireland-Media-Missionary-234951783610/ and on Twitter at @Michael_ASSIST. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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