Monday, February 19, 2024

  • Monday, February 19, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
Times of Israel reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sided on Sunday with far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, endorsing restrictions on Arab Israelis’ access to Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount during Ramadan, according to multiple reports.

Channels 12, 13, Haaretz, and other outlets reported that the decision diverged from the recommendations of parts of the security establishment.

A governmental source told Channel 12 news that the decision was not final, and was still being considered.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office later pushed back at the reports with a vague statement that said the premier “made a balanced decision that allows freedom of religion with necessary security limits, which have been set by professional officials.”

“Any other report is incorrect,” the statement added, without elaborating on what decision was made and what restrictions will be put in place.

A decision has yet to be made regarding Ben Gvir’s demand that no Palestinians from the West Bank be permitted to enter. The Shin Bet’s position reportedly calls for allowing Palestinian men over 60 and women over 50 who have undergone Shin Bet background checks to be allowed in.

It is interesting in all the reporting on the matter that everyone agrees there should be age restrictions on who can enter the Temple Mount during Ramadan and that the restrictions should be wider than those last year, both for Palestinians from the West Bank and from Arab Israelis. The arguments are over the details, but not the basics.

Because what happened last year cannot be allowed to happen again, not during wartime, and especially not when the war was partially justified by Hamas by the scenes of Muslim rioting last year.

Last Ramadan, Israel held summits with leaders of Arab countries in  Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh and one topic was how to avoid clashes on the holy spot during Ramadan.  Israel came to an agreement with Jordan, which officially controls the Waqf, that no one be allowed to stay overnight in the Al Aqsa Mosque (a ritual called "i'tikaaf'") except for nights before days that Jews would not be allowed to visit - Thursday and Friday nights and the last ten days of Ramadan.

Here is the letter that the Waqf issued on the agreed policy, which was in line with policy on previous years.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs
The Administration of Jerusalem's Awqaf and Al-aqsa Mosque Affairs

His Excellency the Director of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, may God’s peace, mercy, and blessings be upon you

The Council of Endowments, Islamic Affairs and Holy Sites in Jerusalem decided, by its Resolution No. 32/2023 dated 03/21/2023 AD, that seclusion in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque should take place during the last ten nights of Ramadan and on the Friday and Saturday nights of each week during the holy month.

Peace be upon you,,,

Director General of Jerusalem Endowments and Affairs of the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque

Sheikh Muhammad Azzam Al-Khatib Al-Tamimi

Israel arranged that other nearby Jerusalem mosques would be able to accommodate any Muslims who want to adhere to the custom of i'tikaaf without causing any friction.

But others wanted blood. They wanted scenes of rioting and Israeli police response. They wanted an excuse to start a wider conflict.

Last year, Ramadan coincided with Passover. (Luckily, that isn't the case this year.) There were absurd rumors that "settlers" would slaughter and burn sacrifices on the Temple Mount ahead of the holiday, which was used as an excuse by Palestinian leaders to call for violence to "protect" Al Aqsa from a threat that the Israeli police would never allow. 

The police don't allow small prayer books to be brought into the Mount. A goat is a little harder to hide. 

When this letter from the Waqf was publicized, Palestinian religious leaders were incensed. The Forum of Palestine Scholars and Preachers explicitly urged all Muslims to stay overnight in the mosque every night of Ramadan to block any Jews from visiting the following mornings, and they specifically called on Muslim youth to stay overnight on the days of Passover. It had nothing to do with Islamic tradition and everything to do with blocking Jewish access to the Temple Mount.

The Waqf and Kingdom of Jordan decided to tear up the agreement to limit clashes because they didn't want to look weak and like they were not adequately defending Al Aqsa. 

For several nights, the worshipers who stayed overnight in violation fo the agreement did leave peacefully in the morning. This upset the Palestinians hoping for violence and the "shabab" youth chose to force a confrontation.

Muslim youths stockpiled stones and fireworks in the supposedly holy mosque on the nights before Jews would be allowed to visit.

The results were predictable. 


They threw large stones and shot fireworks at the police when asked to leave peacefully. 

Videos like this were used to incite more violence. 

Hamas shot rockets to Israel, and at least one landed and damaged a factory. Their excuse was this video. 

Lebanese factions, whether Hezbollah or sanctioned by Hezbollah, shot rockets into Israel as well. Their excuse was this video. 

As usual, the mainstream media reported the events as if the Israeli police were initiating the clashes and the rocket fire was justified as a "response,"  when the police were just trying to keep the Temple Mount open to all during the month and during Passover.  None of the major media reported on the agreement to disallow overnight stays on weeknights and the Waqf's about-face. 

Israel learned that the Waqf and Jordan cannot be trusted to keep their word or to keep the peace. It learned that blocking only West Bank youth from the Mount is not enough to avoid rioting. It learned that the Palestinian Authority is an ally of Hamas in stoking violence instead of calming the situation. It learned that any clashes will be misreported as if police enthusiastically beat Palestinians even though they did everything possible to avoid violence

Now, during wartime when truth is in even shorter supply than it was last year, and when there is not even a pretense of good-will from the Palestinian and Jordanian leaders, why even give an opportunity for a new set of fighting on the holy spot?

Anyone who could use the mosque for political purposes must be banned from visiting the site for the entire month, whether Israeli or Jerusalemites or from the West Bank.  The entire area must be cleared after night prayers every single night. 

Palestinians last year deliberately incited and started the violence and used Muslim antisemitism to stoke tensions.  Their actions then have consequences now. 

Anyone who truly cares about peace should support Israel's decision to severely limit access to the flashpoint site to only allow Muslims who will not use it for political purposes.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!




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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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