|Palestinians riot on Temple Mount|
Who is Really Desecrating Holy Sites in Jerusalem?
-Khaled Abu Toameh
- Tensions have been mounting in recent months in Jerusalem over visits by Jews to the Temple Mount, or al-Haram al-Sharif [the Noble Sanctuary]. The visits to the holy site, which have been taking place since 1967 in coordination with the Israeli authorities, have triggered many confrontations between the Israeli police and Palestinian protesters.
- Palestinians claim that the mere presence of Jewish visitors is a "desecration" of the holy site. In resorting to violence to stop Jews from visiting, the Palestinians say they are only trying to prevent Jews from destroying the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and rebuilding the Third Holy Temple.
- But the truth is that the vast majority of Jews visiting the site are no different from other non-Muslim tourists who come to the area every day. The Israeli authorities require all visitors to the site to respect the feelings of Muslims by appearing in modest dress and without weapons. Moreover, Jews are not allowed to bring sacred Jewish objects [prayer shawls, prayer books, etc].
- Yet for some Palestinians, throwing stones, empty bottles, shoes and petrol bombs at the Jewish visitors and the policemen accompanying them has become almost a daily practice.
- If anyone is desecrating the holy site, it is those who smuggle petrol bombs and stones into the compound to use against visitors.