Hamas is trying—and may succeed—in dragging Israel into a conflict on multiple fronts, with the Temple Mount serving as the trigger, exactly as was the case in April 2021. This time, as on previous occasions, the cry is the modern blood libel that “Al-Aqsa is under threat.” For more than a week now, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have been spreading online stories about how a ritual Passover sacrifice will be carried out on the Temple Mount this year.
They’re knowingly lying now, just as they were in the past. They know the Temple Mount’s history over the last 55 years. They know that Israel has never allowed such a ritual to be performed. Moreover, via a number of channels, including Jordanian, Egyptian and American, the Palestinians—the radical Muslims among them—have received clarification that this year, too, no such ritual will be allowed to take place.
But Hamas and their ilk chose to ignore this and set the Temple Mount on fire because such a conflagration—geared to once again suck in Arab Israelis and pour gasoline on the already burning fire of terrorism—suits them at this time.
The police have thus far been gentle, initially proposing that Waqf officials try to disperse the rioters themselves. This was a mistake. Even if it wanted to—and it doesn’t—the Waqf is incapable of confronting Hamas. Some senior Waqf officials were and perhaps remain connected to Hamas.
Preparations for the riots and clashes, the largest seen since the IDF’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls” in the Gaza Strip last May, began on Thursday night and were carried out in the open. The stockpiles of rocks, bottles and explosives should have been confiscated the moment they began to pile up, and the rioters should have been pulled off the Temple Mount before, and not after, the riots began.
But it is difficult to conduct oneself correctly when the public security minister is Labor’s Omer Barlev, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Ra’am Party, whose members have repeatedly identified with the worst of our enemies, is a coalition partner. Shamefully, it was only hours after the rocks were thrown at the Western Wall that the decision was finally made to act with greater force.
As always when it comes to the Temple Mount, Jordan has played a double game. This time around, Israel went out of its way to coordinate with the Hashemite Kingdom. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz spoke to King Abdullah II and his people before Ramadan even began. The Jordanians were asked to ensure there was no nocturnal barricading inside the mosque. They succeeded at this for a few nights but failed on Thursday night.
The Jordanians know full well who is behind the disturbances on the Temple Mount. They know that Israel went above and beyond to avoid the events that are now taking place, but “must” blame us when it comes to Al-Aqsa to avoid domestic unrest in the kingdom, which it and Israel consider to be the guardian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.
Israel did not invade Al-Aqsa, as the liars from Ra’am, Hamas, the Joint Arab List and the Palestinian Authority claim. It acted like a law-abiding country and took what appears to have been excessively sensitive action against rioters who for the millionth time turned the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism into a weapon with which to destroy what remains of the fragile coexistence between Jews and Arabs, the children of Abraham our forefather and the inhabitants of this land.
We must do everything in our power so that their nefarious plan fails, and thus avoid a repeat of the riots witnessed in mixed Jewish-Arab cities last year. We must also tell the Jewish, Israeli truth about the Temple Mount, a place where the central and existential changes to the status quo throughout the years have been made by the Muslim and not the Jewish side. A place where the serial lies of Al-Aqsa being under threat have made it a conveyer belt for terrorist attacks while gracing the name of Allah in vain and desecrating the sanctity of Islam and Judaism.
Nadav Shragai is a veteran Israeli journalist.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.