Reading Between the Lines

Mount Moriah in Focus

The swirl of events spawned by the murder of two Israeli police nearly a month ago outside the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has revealed the true face of the Islamic Waqf that manages the Temple Mount. The members of the Waqf, along with Muslim leaders throughout the world preferred to turn a blind eye to the violence of Muslim rioters in Israel and of the terrorists who claimed innocent lives, using security measures as an excuse for violence and murder. In the end, the crisis resulted in a minimal number of fatalities as Israel worked around the clock to meet security challenges head on. Seeing as hindsight is 20/20, here’s a quick review of the events that unfolded in the midst of the Temple Mount crisis:

July 14—Three Muslims entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount early in the morning where they received 2 automatic weapons and one handgun from an accomplice. After emerging from the mosque, they proceeded to one of the exits from the Temple Mount where they shot an Israeli Druze Police officer in the back, killing him. They then proceeded to shoot and kill another nearby officer. Following the attack, a search of the Al-Aqsa Mosque revealed multiple weapons in the compound. Within hours of the shooting, both the current Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the previous one preached sermons during the noontime Muslim prayer that included encouraging additional attacks against Israel.

July 16 — The Israeli police installed metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount before opening it for Muslim prayers but the Waqf leadership instructed their followers not enter the compound under any circumstances until the metal detectors were removed.

July 17–19 — Violent riots broke out daily.

July 21 — A Muslim man posted on his Facebook, “…I only have a knife and it will answer the call of Al-Aqsa…. I know I am going and will not return.” He then proceeded to prepare himself for a terror attack according to Islamic customs, and then snuck into an otherwise quiet Israeli community just about 30 miles northwest of Jerusalem. He entered a home where three generations of a Jewish family were preparing a Shabbat dinner and celebrating the birth of a new baby. He brutally stabbed four members of the family, killing three of them, before being stopped by a neighbor and subsequently arrested. In the surrounding areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem Muslims led violent riots, leading to three deaths and several hundred people injured, including rioters, soldiers and police.

July 22 — Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, continued the Muslim incitement by ceasing security cooperation with Israel until the metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount were removed.

July 23 — Israel installed cameras at the entrances to the Temple Mount compound in hopes that these would be a more agreeable method of securing the Temple Mount against future attacks. In Amman, Jordan, an Israeli embassy security guard, when attacked by a Jordanian, shot and killed the attacker as well as another Jordanian who was apparently caught in the crossfire.

July 24–25 — A Muslim terrorist stabbed an Israeli-Arab (mistakenly thinking the man was Jewish), claiming that he was doing it for Al-Aqsa, the mosque in which the Temple Mount terrorists received their weapons for the attack. Separately, after a whirlwind of rumors and diplomatic contacts between Jordan and Israel, the Israeli embassy staff, including the guard that had been attacked, were safely returned to Israel after being besieged in the embassy compound by Jordanian forces for nearly 24 hours. During the night Israel quietly disassembled and removed the metal detectors and the cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount compound in a desperate attempt to undercut their being used as an excuse for further attacks.

July 26 — Upon release of the bodies of the terrorists who, on July 14th, had murdered the two policemen 10,000 Muslims gathered in Umm Al-Fahm, the hometown of the terrorists, to join a funeral procession for them in which they were hailed by the Muslim masses as martyrs.

July 27 — The Muslim Waqf finally permitted its worshippers to resume praying on the Temple Mount. Violent riots broke out upon their return to the Temple Mount, resulting in dozens of injuries. In the following days, things gradually calmed down.

So let’s delve a little deeper and give some context. According to existing agreements, the Waqf manages Muslim worship at the Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount compound while Israel is responsible for security. Yet, according to the Waqf and the Muslim leadership the presence of the metal detectors and/or cameras is unacceptable and is a violation of the “status quo” arrangement that has been maintained at the site for the past few decades. Here is where things get ironic, because all non-Muslim visitors who enter the Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount compound have been obliged to go through metal detectors for years. The same is true for anyone entering the Western Wall area, or for that matter anyone entering Muslim places of worship in Mecca or Medina in Saudi Arabia. Metal detectors are mandatory in all of these places. There is no religious or political basis for the Waqf’s objection whatsoever. It would seem that the Muslim leadership does not care about the security or the common safety of visitors, and it’s up to Israel to come up with creative solutions for addressing security concerns. Clearly the Muslim Waqf is more bothered by security measures on the Temple Mount than by Muslims bringing their weapons into and out of the Al-Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount compound freely and unhindered.

When Israel took the long-overdue step of installing basic security precautions—security checks that everyone except Muslims already have to go through—in hopes of preventing a repeat of the July attack on the police, the Islamic Waqf said “no” and flexed their muscles, stirring up their followers and creating a situation that they knew would lead to rioting and bloodshed. And we got it. Had it not been for the grace of God and Israel’s excellent standards for addressing such hostile situations, things could have gotten much worse during the weeks of the crisis.

Moving forward, the police will be much more watchful on the Temple Mount in the absence of metal detectors and Israel will be putting much more pressure on the Jordanian Waqf controlling Al-Aqsa to ensure that no weapons are stored in the compound. But most of all, the God of Israel will continue to miraculously protect Israel against all attacks of the enemy! Join us in praying for an increase of righteousness and the peace of God in the nation of Israel and for true reconciliation between Arab and Jew in the days and years to come!

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