Return to the Statistics (home) page Learn more about us. If Americans Knew: what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine
Statistics History Current Situation US Interests Media Analysis About Us
Top Border

printer symbolPrint Article
letter symbolEmail this Page

     

Daily Life

Hardline threat to al-Aqsa Mosque

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
From Al Jazeera
July 25, 2004

Al-Haram al-sharif. Al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem is one of Islam’s holiest places.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi has said hardline Jewish groups may be planning to carry out attacks on the two most sacred Islamic shrines in occupied East Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are collectively known as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Originally built in CE711 (AD711), al-Aqsa Mosque is Islam’s third holiest place, after the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia.

Hanegbi said in a TV interview at the weekend that the goal of the potential attackers would be to thwart the Israeli plan for unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

But a former leader of an armed Jewish group that sought to bomb al-Aqsa Mosque in the late 1970s, told the Israeli state-run radio on Sunday the purpose of any “new action” would not to have anything to do with the “disengagement plan”.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday quoted officials in the domestic intelligence service, Shin Bet, as saying there was a possibility of Jewish hardliners trying to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque by crashing a radio-controlled plane into it.

Some Jewish groups want to see a temple built at the mosque site. Some Jewish groups want to see a temple built at the mosque site .

There are numerous Millenarian Jewish groups in Israel dedicated to the destruction of the mosque to facilitate the “rebuilding” of the “Third Temple” on the site.

Messianic Jews believe the destruction of the mosque and construction of the temple would expedite the appearance of a Jewish messiah, or redeemer, who would rule the world from Jerusalem and bring about the salvation of the Jewish people.

Ultimate red line

Muslim leaders in Palestine have warned of “unforeseeable consequences” and “horrible repercussions” all over the world in case “anything happened to al-Aqsa Mosque”.

“This is the ultimate red line. If Jewish terrorists embarked on such an act of sheer madness, they would trigger huge fires all over the world ... . Only God knows how the fires would be extinguished,” said Kamal al-Khatib, deputy head of Israel’s powerful Islamic Movement.

Speaking to Aljazeera.net he said an attack on al-Aqsa Mosque would be viewed as an appalling provocation by the world’s Muslim population.

“If Jewish terrorists embarked on such an act of sheer madness, they would trigger huge fires all over the world.”

Kamal al-Khatib,
Deputy head of Israel’s Islamic Movement

“If such a thing happened, God forbid, it would galvanise the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims, and there would be a backlash and anger all over the world.”

Al-Khatib said the Islamic Movement in Israel remained vigilant against the risk of an attack on the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem.

“We send thousands of people to the Haram al-Sharif every day to make up for the barring by Israel of our people from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from accessing the mosque ... and we see to it that there are no loopholes in security arrangements,” he said.

Security pretext?

The highest-ranking Muslim cleric in East Jerusalem, Shaikh Aikrama Sabri, says Jewish extremists are capable of doing the unthinkable.

“We know quite well that they are conniving and coordinating their plans with the Israeli security establishment,” he said.

“We also know that the Israeli state uses the extremists as a supplemental tool to achieve its thinly disguised goals, including the destruction of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem.”

Israeli soldiers stand in front of the Al Aqsa Mosque. Clerics say Israel wants to gain a foothold inside the compound.

But in the present contest, Sabri cautioned, Israel may be trying to gain a “foothold” inside al-Haram al-Sharif compound under the pretext of “ensuring the security of the place”.

He said after the 1994 Hebron massacre in which 29 Arab worshippers were killed by a messianic Jewish immigrant from Brooklyn, the Israeli army, in effect, took over the town’s historic Ibrahimi Mosque and gave the bulk of the holy place to Jewish settlers.

The “arrangement” then was justified by the Israelis on security grounds – to prevent a repetition of the massacre, Sabri said.

He said the Israeli authorities knew the Jewish hardliners individually, but did not take action against them for political reasons.

“Look, the police know them one by one, but the extremists have strong allies and supporters within the government, the Knesset and the security establishment, so much so that it seems as if they are the real rulers of Israel,” Sabri said.

Inspection tours?

The Israeli police currently permit religious Jews to enter al-Aqsa Mosque compound despite strong objection from the Supreme Muslim Council, which is in charge of the administration of the holy place.

Israeli officials, including security chiefs, say Jews have a right to visit the holy place they call Temple Mount just like anybody else.

However, Waqf officials, who are entrusted with the upkeep of the holy sanctuary, say trips by Zionist zealots are not simple visits, but in fact “inspection tours” aimed at drawing up destructive designs on al-Haram al-Sharif.

Their fears are hardly misplaced. On Sunday, a Jewish rabbi allied with the messianic Gush Emunim movement which advocates the expulsion and extermination of non-Jews in Israel – told the Israeli army radio, Gali Tsahal, he fully supported the destruction of al-Aqsa Mosque.

Al Aqsa Mosque. About 5000 people can worship in and around the historic mosque.

“This is more than a positive thing – this is a desirable thing, and I am looking forward to seeing these mosques reduced to ruins,” said Yehuda Tzion, who in 1980 headed the underground Jewish group that had planned to bomb al-Aqsa.

Tzion has urged the Israeli government to “send army bulldozers to the site and destroy these buildings once and for all ... and if the state is not willing to do so, let other Jews do it”.

One of the messianic Jewish groups that openly calls for the destruction of al-Aqsa is the Temple Mount Faithful, headed by Girshon Solomon.

A few years ago, he told the Israeli television, with the golden Dome of the Rock in the background – that: “it is time this pagan edifice ceased to exist”.

Such highly provocative statements go unpunished in Israel as long as they are made against non-Jews.

Back to topBack to Top

printer symbolPrint Article

letter symbolEmail this Page

The Role of Religion in the Crisis
Related Articles

Israel 2007: worse than apartheid

A capital question

Why Israel is after me

We Didn't Disappear
The Struggle for Equality Inside Israel

Row erupts over Israeli textbooks

More Articles on Discrimination Vs. Coexistence

Forgotten Christians

Rabbis forbid using books with map of pre-1967 lines

Muhammad’s Sword

Opinion: The End of Zionism

A Strange Kind of Freedom

More on Discrimination & Fanaticism

The Death of Bassem Abu Rahme

Witness for the Defenseless

American priest and nun join Palestinian non-violent resistance in Gaza

Nonviolent Palestinian Resistance

The Palestinian Resistance: Its Legitimate Right and the Moral Duty

More Articles on Resistance

Additional Resources

Human Rights Watch – Second Class: Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel’s Schools

Jews for Justice – The Arab Citizens of Israel

Organizations

Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Seeds of Peace

Mossawa Center: The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel


If Americans Knew distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material, sometimes without the permission of the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without profit for purely educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This website is printer-friendly. Please Print this article and share it with your friends and family.