Posted tagged ‘Temple Mount’

The Big New Palestinian Lie

October 19, 2017

The Big New Palestinian Lie, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, October 19, 2017

(“New” lie? They have been using it for years. — DM)

It is precisely the inflammatory speech of Abbas and his senior officials, expressed at every possible podium, which has been trying to turn the conflict into a religious one.

If any side has turned the conflict into a religious one, it is the Palestinian side, which has long depicted Jews as sons of monkeys and pigs, enemies of Allah, and killers of prophets. When Abbas and other Palestinians accuse Jews on a daily basis of “storming” and “desecrating” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they are firing the first shots in their religious war against Israel and the Jews.

By turning the conflict into a religious one, the Palestinians are hoping to avoid any discussion about important issues such as security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, anti-Israel incitement and assaults on public freedoms under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Palestinian leaders do not feel comfortable discussing any of these issues; that is why they prefer to make the debate appear as if it is about religious issues.

Despite vocal and self-righteous claims to the contrary, Palestinian leaders continue to incite their people and the rest of the Arab and Muslim world against Israel and Jews. For the past two and a half years, these leaders have been accusing Israel and Jews of seeking to turn the Israeli-Arab conflict into a religious one. The accusation refers specifically to visits by Jews to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The truth, however, is just the opposite: it is the Palestinians that have been aiming at every turn to transform the political and territorial conflict into a religious one.

By turning the conflict into a religious one, the Palestinians are hoping to avoid any discussion about important issues such as security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, anti-Israel incitement and assaults on public freedoms under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas. Palestinian leaders do not feel comfortable discussing any of these issues; that is why they prefer to make the debate appear as if it is about religious issues.

Palestinian leaders are also hoping that the entire Islamic world will rally against Israel once they are told that Islamic holy sites are allegedly being targeted and desecrated by Jews.

The Palestinian Authority is toe-to-toe with Hamas in this unceasing incitement. The two rival Palestinian parties may disagree about almost everything, but when it comes to libeling Israel and Jews, they have no differences.

Jewish tours of the Temple Mount in the past two and a half years, contrary to Palestinian claims, have not affected the “status quo” or existing state of affairs at the holy site whatsoever. The Islamic holy sites, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, have not been “defiled” or “destroyed” as the result of the presence of Jews at the Temple Mount. More significantly, Muslims’ access to their holy sites on the Temple Mount remains unchanged. Every day, thousands of Muslim worshippers converge on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock to perform prayers. On Fridays, the number of Muslim worshippers is sometimes estimated at tens of thousands.

Jewish visits to the Temple Mount are restricted to the early hours of the morning. Jewish visitors, in fact, are even banned from praying at the Temple Mount. The current regulations on the Temple Mount explicitly forbids praying by Jews, and the police have banned Jews from carrying any articles that might lead a Jew to pray. Jews who visited the Temple Mount during the recent autumn harvest holiday of Sukkot were forbidden from bringing the “Four Species” — the citrus, myrtle, willow and palm frond — that are mandated by the Torah to be used as part of the services on each of the seven days of the holiday.

These restrictions, however, have not stopped the Palestinians from pursuing their campaign of incitement against Israel and Jews. At the core of this campaign is the false and libelous claim that Israel is seeking to destroy the Islamic holy sites and rebuild the Third Temple on their ruins. They supplement this fabricated and malicious charge with the unholy statement that the Jews are “defiling with their filthy feet” the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Notably, it is the same excuse that Osama bin Laden used against the United States when he said that Americans were “defiling” Saudi Arabia simply by walking on the ground there.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s famous statements from September 2015 continue to reverberate:

“The Al-Aqsa Mosque is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher is ours, and they [Jews] have no right to defile them with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem. We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing.”

Shortly after Abbas made that announcement — an echo of the same false charge issued in 1941by the Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini not only to expel Jews from the land but to murder them, and that has been dusted off and used ever since — the Palestinians launched what has become known as the “Knife Intifada,” a wave of terror attacks that has so far resulted in the murder of more than 40 Israelis.

Abbas has never retracted his blood libel, or even tried to educate his people for peace. Instead, exactly as Grand Mufti Amin al-Husseini did, Abbas has doubled down on inciting his people against Israel and Jews while using Jewish visits to the Temple Mount as a pretext.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (pictured) has never retracted his blood libel, or even tried to educate his people for peace. Instead, he has doubled down on inciting his people against Israel and Jews. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The blood of Israeli, Christian and Palestinian victims is on his hands — including many Muslim terrorists who were inspired and driven to their deaths by his deliberately subversive rhetoric.

It is precisely the inflammatory speech of Abbas and his senior officials, expressed at every possible podium, which has been trying to turn the conflict into a religious one.

The latest example occurred this week, when one of Abbas’s top associates, Fatah leader Azzam Al-Ahmed, repeated the tired old claim that Israel’s actions were threatening to turn the conflict into a religious one. Al-Ahmed told parliamentarians from around the world, with his tongue in his cheek:

“We won’t allow the conflict with Israel to turn into a religious conflict, as right-wing extremist Israeli groups are trying to do against Islamic and Christian holy sites under the protection of the occupation forces.”

Al-Ahmed’s statement is part of a Palestinian propaganda campaign designed to frame Israel and Jews and depict them as being responsible for triggering a religious war against Muslims and Christians. These libels advance anti-Semitism and provide ammunition to Israel- and Jew-haters worldwide. It is also the kind of rhetoric that drives many Palestinians to grab a knife and set out to kill the first Jew they meet.

The Palestinians are seeking to turn the conflict into a religious one as part of a strategy to rally as many Muslims and Christians as possible against Israel and Jews. By talking endlessly about a religious conflict, the Palestinians are actually revealing their true desire. They seek a religious conflict because such an incendiary situation distracts attention from the morass of problems at home, particularly the failure of Palestinian leaders to provide a better living for their people and to end corruption and bad government.

Palestinian leaders, from both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, are redirecting the conflict to the topic of religion the better to promote the blood libel that Jews are evil and supposedly even “killed some of the prophets” as is claimed in the Koran:

And [recall] when you said, “O Moses, we can never endure one [kind of] food. So call upon your Lord to bring forth for us from the earth its green herbs and its cucumbers and its garlic and its lentils and its onions.” [Moses] said, “Would you exchange what is better for what is less? Go into [any] settlement and indeed, you will have what you have asked.” And they were covered with humiliation and poverty and returned with anger from Allah [upon them.] That was because they [repeatedly] disbelieved in the signs of Allah and killed the prophets without right. (Koran 2:61-62)

If any side has turned the conflict into a religious one, it is the Palestinian side, which has long depicted Jews as sons of monkeys and pigs, enemies of Allah and killers of prophets. When Abbas and other Palestinians accuse Jews on a daily basis of “storming” and “desecrating” the Al-Aqsa Mosque, they are firing the first shots in their religious war against Israel and the Jews. In their false charge that Israel is conducting excavation work beneath the Temple Mount in order to bring about the collapse of the Islamic holy sites, no one but they are fanning the flames of religious war. Finally, the stalwart Palestinian denial of any Jewish link to the Temple Mount, where the Jews’ first and second Temples once stood, is a clear declaration of what they hope will be received as a religious war on Israel and Jews.

Bassam Tawil is a Muslim based in the Middle East.

Archaeology confirms historical writings

October 17, 2017

Archaeology confirms historical writings, Israel Hayom, Nadav Shragai, October 17, 2017

Over the past 50 years, Israel has had to avoid archaeological excavations at the heart of the Temple Mount because of pressure from Muslims and due to various political and religious constraints. As a result, archaeologists have had to shift their interest to adjacent areas.

The gamut of discoveries unearthed through their efforts – mainly near the western and southern walls – is impressive. These discoveries provide evidence of the Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and its surroundings – despite the incessant efforts by Muslims to negate those ties – as well as evidence from other periods, including when it was under Muslim rule.

On Sunday, eight stone courses of the Western Wall that had been buried under an 8-meter (26-foot) layer of earth were revealed by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the area just north of the Western Wall Plaza. A few years ago, at the southern end of the wall, excavators found what are believed to be the wall’s foundations. Thanks to the latest discovery, we now have an amazing compilation of evidence about the structure.

The discoveries announced on Sunday, especially the small theater-like structure from the Roman period, are unique. But most importantly, they provide archaeological evidence for historical documents that describe such structures at this very place.

This is not the first time archaeologists have been able to confirm descriptions provided by historical documents of the area. In fact, many findings on the site have done so. This was the case when archaeologists found what is known as the Trumpeting Place inscription near the southern end of the wall. The inscription confirmed what Jewish sages had written about the way the priests announced the onset of Shabbat during the Second Temple period, through a series of trumpet blows.

Findings along the path of the ancient drainage tunnel from the Siloam Pool to the Western Wall confirmed what the Roman historian Josephus Flavius wrote about how the Romans gouged holes in the tunnel with their spears. Even the cooking utensils used by the last Judean fighters who hid from the Romans in the city were found in the tunnel.

The theater-like structure announced on Sunday fooled some experts at first. They had initially speculated that it was the chamber where the religious assembly known as the Sanhedrin convened, and historical documents suggest that the body did, in fact, meet in the area. Finding the Sanhedrin chamber would be a great contribution to the effort to give archaeological backing to the historical timeline of Jerusalem.

Despite the appropriate excitement from Sunday’s discovery, we must remember that everything found near the Western Wall – whether ritual baths, coins, or clay fragments – attests above all to the centrality of the Temple Mount in Jewish history.

We must never forget this. The Western Wall became a replacement for the Temple and came to be seen as holy through rabbinical teachings, halachic rulings and the collective Jewish psyche. It is a symbol of the yearning for what once stood atop the holy basin.

We must avoid belittling the holiness of the wall, as some – who seek to bolster the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount – do occasionally. We must also keep in mind that the most important archaeological evidence is beyond the wall, where the Temple once existed.

King of Saudi Arabia Personally Intervenes in Temple Mount Crisis, Says Metal Detectors ‘Routine’ at Holy Places

July 18, 2017

King of Saudi Arabia Personally Intervenes in Temple Mount Crisis, Says Metal Detectors ‘Routine’ at Holy Places, The Jewish PressHana Levi Julian, July 18, 2017

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman of Saudi Arabia personally intervened in the Temple Mount crisis via the United States, according to a report posted Tuesday by the Arabic-language Elaph website, based in London.

The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Israeli security officials late Saturday night to reopen the holy site to Muslim worshipers, visitors and tourists allegedly came after receiving a message from the Saudi monarch via the White House.

Moreover, the Saudi king expressed no reservations about Israel’s decision to upgrade security by installing metal detectors at the entrances to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in the wake of the terror attack last Friday that left two Israeli policemen dead and others wounded.

“The issue of metal detection machines, said the source, is a matter that has become routine in the holy places because of terrorism, which strikes without discrimination and in most places regardless of the sanctity of the different religions,” reported Elaph.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, warned followers that their prayers would not be accepted in Heaven if they pass through the metal detectors to enter the Temple Mount for prayers in Al Aqsa Mosque — the third holiest site in Islam.

Given that King Salman is the Custodian of the Two Mosques, Islam’s two holiest sites, one might consider his authority to overrule that of the Mufti in spiritual matters such as effect of metal detectors on the human body and its ability to convey prayer to heaven.

Israel’s prime minister also reportedly invited King Salman and Saudi officials to visit the Al Aqsa Mosque to see “the situation on the ground,” but “received no response.”

In addition, Netanyahu reiterated his pledge via the White House that Israel would maintain the status quo at the site, the report noted, adding Jordan was also involved in the communications. Israel’s prime minister, Elaph reported, told Jordan’s King Abdullah II he was not pleased about remarks by Jordan’s parliamentary speaker, Atef Tarawneh over Al Aqsa, which he considered “irresponsible.”

On Tuesday, Tarawneh added to the incitement, commenting from the podium of the Jordanian Parliament that the legislative body “is documenting all the racist laws of the Knesset that support the settlements and the occupation, and we will spread them to all the parliaments that are brothers and friends of Jordan around the world.”

Nothing is sacred

July 16, 2017

Nothing is sacred, Israel Hayom, Dr. Reuven Berko, July 16, 2017

(Please see also, Temple Mt. opens in stages amid terror probe. — DM)

The Palestinians, a new people without any heritage of their own country or capital city, are appropriating Al-Aqsa mosque, which is holy to all Muslims, for political leverage and claiming that Israel is scheming to destroy it. The shooting attack on the Temple Mount on Friday, in which two Israeli policemen were murdered, reminded us all that in the doctrine of Islamist terrorist, no Islamic site is sacred.

Going back to the riots that raged before the establishment of the state, the Palestinians treated the Temple Mount as a “religious trigger” that could be used to whip the masses into a fury of violence against the Jewish community. Every time the Palestinians are in trouble, they go back and turn up the flames at the Temple Mount with the lie — of which Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and the Islamic Movement in Umm al-Fahm (the outlawed Northern Branch) are so fond — that Israel is planning to topple Al-Aqsa.

While Israel is using the best methods at its disposal to secure Al-Aqsa, the Palestinians treat the mosque in a contemptuous, subversive manner, using is as a nexus for religious incitement to terrorism against Israel, the goal being the damage and casualties that would result from an apocalyptic religious conflict between Islam and Judaism. The terrorist attack on the Temple Mount, which put the mosque and the worshippers who were there in danger, shows the Palestinians’ destructive attitude toward Islamic holy sites, as well as how they thumb their noses at Jordan’s role as supervisor of the Temple Mount mosques.

Sites holy to the three Abrahamic religions are subject to endless fakery, destruction, and debasement, which include the intentional wreckage of Solomon’s Stables and the Temple Mount compound; fires set at Joseph’s Tomb; cemeteries being desecrated and antiquities being stolen; terrorists taking control of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and using it as a toilet; attacking the Christian community that remains in Bethlehem; Qassam rockets being fired at Jerusalem from Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

Since the Palestinians are the pioneers of terrorism, global terrorism has adopted their legacy of hijacking airplanes, blowing up hotels and cafes, suicide terrorist attacks, and terrorist stabbings and car ramming. The religious propaganda created by the Muslim Brotherhood and taught by Palestinian religious leader Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, who was a mentor to al-Qaida, has also been passed on to the Islamic State and its operatives. This is the murderous doctrine that Sheikh Raad Salah and his friends in the Islamic Movement in Umm al-Fahm, as well as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein and the former grand mufti, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, feed to their loyal flock.

The Palestinians’ destructive way of treating their holy sites and their use of them as safe haven and as bases from which to launch terrorist attacks bear the fingerprints of the Muslim Brotherhood, which are also found on the Islamic State in the Middle East and outside it. That same “Islamic Stateness” that grew out of the terrorists from Umm al-Fahm (the Islamic Movement) is what motivated the bombing of churches and mosques full of worshippers in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria, and the wholesale demolition of historical gems like Buddha statues in Afghanistan, the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, and the Palmyra ruins. While all that was happening, UNESCO was taking a break.

The Palestinians, tragically, are doing our work for us in the eyes of the world. Their way of proving “nationality” and “repentance” is to murder Jews. Weapons are found in the hands of Arab civilians and criminals who exploit their Israeli citizenship. Terrorism on the Temple Mount is a wake-up call, but we must not generalize, and it’s too soon to move the security fence to the west of Umm al-Fahm. We need to take care of those behind the incitement and open the Mount to worshippers as soon as possible. At the same time, Israel secures holy sites in Jerusalem as a sovereign entity and allows freedom of religion and upholds the status quo. It would be stupid and evil to make the mistake of thinking that Israel will give up its capital and abandon its holy sites to Palestinian terrorists and hooligans.

Video: Muslims murder two Israeli police officers in Temple Mount jihad attack

July 14, 2017

Video: Muslims murder two Israeli police officers in Temple Mount jihad attack, Jihad Watch

Hamas praised these jihad murders as “heroic,” which is a good example of the morally inverted world of Hamas and its U.S.-based front groups, along with their Leftist supporters.

“2 Israeli police officers confirmed dead following Temple Mount shooting,” RT, July 14, 2017 (thanks to the Geller Report):

Two police officers were fatally shot during an attack at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Friday morning. Police Chief Roni Alsheich confirmed the deaths following the incident involving three assailants.

The two officers were amongst three people initially injured. Three armed assailants were then pursued, shot and killed by police.

The gunmen, reported by Reuters to be Arab-Israeli, arrived at the site which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, and made their way towards the Lions Gate in the Old City. “When they saw policemen they shot towards them and then escaped towards one of the mosques in the Temple Mount compound,” police spokeswoman Luba Simri.

According to Simri three firearms were found on the bodies of the attackers.

The officers were named by authorities as Hail Stawi, 30, and Kaamil Snaan, 22.

A spokesperson from Hamas praised the operation as “heroic” in a statement.

Authorities shut down the area following the attack, blocking access to the Aqsa Mosque. Palestinian Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Hussein encouraged Muslims to defy the shutdown, telling Reuters “We have urged our Palestinian people to rush to al Aqsa today and every day to hold their prayers.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the area, which can be accessed but not prayed at by Jews, will continue to be shared by both communities.

In a phone call to Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. According to Palestinian news agency WAFA, Abbas urged Netanyahu to reopen access to the al-Aqsa Mosque.

 

The attackers’ identities have not yet been released.

 Friday prayers at the site were canceled for the first time in years, according to Haaretz….

Turkish takeover in Jerusalem

June 2, 2017

Turkish takeover in Jerusalem, Israel Hayom, David M. Weinberg, June 2, 2017

(Please see also, Report: Turkey Eclipsing Jordan in Old City, Temple Mount. — DM)

In short, the disintegration of Palestinian secular nationalist organizations and institutions in east Jerusalem, alongside Israeli torpor, has facilitated the rise of Islamist factions and hostile foreign actors.

The enlarged foreign presence in the heart of Israel’s capital touches the deepest chords of the issue of Israeli sovereignty in the eastern part of the city. Koren and Avrahami warn that this presence cannot be easily eliminated. While significant security action and determined diplomatic maneuver are clearly mandated, Israel will have to do more to “recapture” east Jerusalem. It will have to assume full responsibility for the services that east Jerusalem Arab residents need, with major budgetary repercussions.

***********************************

The fireworks and fanfare of the Jerusalem liberation jubilee have shoved under the radar a blockbuster expose about the unruly situation in east Jerusalem. Alarm bells should be ringing about the nefarious intensifying involvement of Erdogan’s Turkey and other radical Islamist groups in Jerusalem political and social affairs.

Dr. David Koren and Ben Avrahami are the advisors on east Jerusalem affairs for the Jerusalem Municipality. They lead the municipal team that oversees all of Jerusalem City Hall’s interactions with the Muslim and Christian populations of the city. They are intimately familiar with the thicket of contradictory interests, tensions, and disagreements that inform daily life in earthly Jerusalem.

The two experts have just published a rare, breathtaking and shocking description of political trends in east Jerusalem. Their article, “East Jerusalem Arabs Between Erdogan and Israel,” published in the new, important Hebrew intellectual journal Hashiloach (Vol. 4, May 2017), offers a brief account of the fruits of normalization and Arab east Jerusalemites’ increasing integration into the Israeli scene, But mainly it serves as a wake-up call regarding countervailing toxic trends.

According to Koren and Avrahami there has been very significant erosion in the status of the veteran east Jerusalem mukhtars and the influence of Fatah political infrastructures and Palestinian Authority leaders. Into the vacuum have stepped elements identified with Hamas, with the northern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and with the Muslim Brotherhood in its wider context.

Through a series of civic associations, nonprofits, and grassroots organizations, sometimes at the neighborhood level and sometimes more extensive, they are investing tens of millions of dollars per year in dawa (missionary) activities, mainly charitable enterprises and educational programs to attract the young to Islamic values.

There is a direct line, say the article authors, from civic dawa to radicalization and active enlistment in the armed struggle against Israel. This includes active social networking which glorifies terrorists, martyrs, and prisoners, and explicitly calls for violent resistance to Israel. These networks were also the source for the libel that Al-Aqsa mosque is endangered by the Jews/Zionists, and for dissemination of an incredible volume of disinformation related to Israeli actions on the Temple Mount.

The authors ask for particular attention to the mounting involvement of Erdogan’s Turkey, which is the worldwide Brotherhood’s main patron. Turkey now enjoys unprecedented popularity among the Arab residents of east Jerusalem, the authors write. The Turks’ public support of the Palestinian cause and adoption of the Al-Aqsa issue, and their decision to inject millions of dollars into east Jerusalem, have won them great sympathy and support.

The Turks fund a great part of the dawa activities in the city, with Sheikh Ekrima Sa’id Sabri as the lead Turkish agent. (He is a former grand mufti of Jerusalem appointed by the PA and today the most prominent representative of the Muslim Brotherhood in the city.) The Turkish consulate in Jerusalem, the Turkish government assistance agency, and a string of Turkish organizations that have local branches in Israel or the West Bank, are directly implicated in this subversive activity too. As a result, Turkish flags today fly everywhere in east Jerusalem and prominently on the Temple Mount as well.

The Turks also have injected significant sums to those who do their bidding on the Temple Mount, for various activities such as Quran-recitation groups, transportation of worshipers to and from the mosque, iftar feasts in Ramadan, renovation and cleaning campaigns, and the like. In general, the Islamist forces on the Temple Mount operate, intentionally or not, to Turkey’s benefit and the detriment of Jordan. They may believe that the replacement of the Jordanian presence by a Turkish presence would be a positive and welcome development.

The main loser here is Jordan, which long enjoyed the status of Guardian of the Holy Places and protector of the Arabs of Jerusalem. This also is the context of the PA’s intensive activity in the international arena, and especially at UNESCO, ostensibly intended to protect the Islamic holy places against an Israeli takeover. This tactic allows the PA to convey to its critics that it is the true defender of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem against the threat of “Judaization,” while at the same time gnawing at Jordan’s historic role as guardian of the Mount and seeking to counteract the emerging Turkish dominance in Temple Mount affairs.

Attention should be devoted also to another mounting force in Jerusalem, the Islamic Liberation Party, or Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has several thousand supporters in the city. This Salafist group, like ISIS, seeks to proclaim a global Islamic caliphate from Al-Aqsa. It has acquired growing influence on college campuses throughout the West Bank, including al-Quds University near Jerusalem. Sheikh Issam Amira of the al-Rahman Mosque in Beit Safafa is the group’s most conspicuous preacher, and he enjoys freedom of activity and speech on the Temple Mount.

While the Liberation Party does not advocate violent jihad, some party members could “advance” from a Salafi mindset to a Salafi-jihadist outlook and join the ranks of ISIS. This may explain, say Koren and Avrahami, the presence of ISIS cells and ISIS operatives in Jerusalem, such as Fadi al-Qunbar, who carried out the terrorist truck-ramming attack in East Talpiot in early 2017, and the ISIS cell that was apprehended in the Shuafat refugee camp several months earlier.

In short, the disintegration of Palestinian secular nationalist organizations and institutions in east Jerusalem, alongside Israeli torpor, has facilitated the rise of Islamist factions and hostile foreign actors.

The enlarged foreign presence in the heart of Israel’s capital touches the deepest chords of the issue of Israeli sovereignty in the eastern part of the city. Koren and Avrahami warn that this presence cannot be easily eliminated. While significant security action and determined diplomatic maneuver are clearly mandated, Israel will have to do more to “recapture” east Jerusalem. It will have to assume full responsibility for the services that east Jerusalem Arab residents need, with major budgetary repercussions.

In a future article, we will look at the remedies for this situation being implemented by Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem (and more still required) in order to increase east Jerusalem Arabs’ sense of belonging to a united Jerusalem. Also to be considered are the complicated proposals coming from the political Left for redistricting of the city into independent boroughs or divesting some Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority.

Report: Turkey Eclipsing Jordan in Old City, Temple Mount

May 30, 2017

Report: Turkey Eclipsing Jordan in Old City, Temple Mount, The Jewish Press, May 30, 2017

Turkish Flag over the Temple Mount

The Jerusalem municipality’s eastern Jerusalem experts have revealed in recent days that Turkey has been competing with Jordan over influence among Arab residents as well as over control of the Temple Mount, Hashiloach—an Israeli journal for thought and policy, created by the Tikvah Fund—reported last week.

The city’s experts, David Koren and Ben Avrahami, also revealed that Turkey has begun pouring millions of dollars into NGO in eastern Jerusalem, in order to strengthen Ankara’s status among the Arab residents, at the expense of Jordan and Israel. Which explains why more and more Turkish flags are hanging in windows in the eastern part of the city.

The Arab population of Jerusalem numbers approximately 320,000, with another 50,000 residents of Judea and Samaria who are staying in the city illegally or through family reunification. Jerusalem Arabs constitute about 37% of the city’s population and about 20% of the Arab population in Israel. In fact, Jerusalem is the city with the highest Arab population density between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea (excluding Gaza). Ramallah has 280,000 residents, and Nazareth, the largest Arab city in Israel, has only 75,000.

The vast majority of Jerusalem’s Arabs are Muslim – the Christian population is estimated at between 10 and 15 thousand.

“The growing involvement of the Erdogan regime, which is now the main patron of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide, shows that the Turkish actions in Jerusalem are part of a wider process of creating regional Turkish hegemony at the expense of other players,” wrote the Jerusalem mayor’s advisers on the eastern part of the city, noting that “the biggest loser from the increased Turkish presence is Jordan, which for many years had enjoyed the status of Custodian of the Holy Places and the protector of the residents of eastern Jerusalem. The greatest threat to the Hashemite Kingdom on the Temple Mount comes from Turkey.”

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel for “massacring the Palestinians,” calling on the Turks to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque and dubbing Israel’s control of Jerusalem “an insult.” He also attacked President Donald Trump’s plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and declared that “all Muslims must defend Jerusalem.”

The experts added that in May 2015, Muslim worshipers expelled the chief Jordanian Kadi from the Temple Mount, while at the same time receiving with great honor the Turkish minister of religious affairs. “In recent years, the Turks have poured considerable sums of money into the Temple Mount for a number of activities: Koran reading groups, transporting worshipers to and from the mosque, Ramadan meals, renovations, and cleaning. As a rule, whether deliberately or not, Muslim groups on the Temple Mount are acting in favor of Turkey and to the detriment of Jordan.

“In their view, replacing the Jordanian presence with Turkish presence would be a positive and welcome step,” Koren and Avrahami wrote.

“Erdogan’s Turkey now enjoys unprecedented popularity among the residents of eastern Jerusalem,” wrote the two wrote. “Turkish flags are often seen hanging from rooftops in the eastern part of the city and even on the Temple Mount, and Turkish culture is being revived, which is reflected in Turkish language courses, Turkish music and Turkish cuisine.”

One hundred years after the last Turkish soldier was chased out of Jerusalem by the invading British Empire, “Turkey’s public support for the Palestinian cause and the Al-Aqsa conflict, and their channeling of millions of dollars into eastern Jerusalem, bear many fruits in the form of sympathy and support,” the experts concluded, adding that the Turks’ “involvement is made possible by their cooperation with Muslim Brotherhood elements in the city, who are often being used as their allies and collaborators.”