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Latest Israel News – 1st August

Netanyahu justifies ‘difficult decision’ to remove Temple Mount security measures

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended his much-maligned handling of the Temple Mount crisis, telling his cabinet on Sunday that he sees a bigger picture that not everyone is privy to, and as the person with ultimate responsibility for the country’s security, he must take a much wider view of events.

“I am in tune with the emotions of the public, I understand the feelings, I know that the decision that we made [to remove the security measures on the Temple Mount] was not an easy one,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly meeting. “However, as prime minister of Israel, as the one who carries the security of Israel on his shoulders, it is my duty to make decisions calmly and with good judgment.”

“I make these decisions while looking at the entire map, with a broad view of the challenges and threats that we are facing, some of which the public is not aware of and which I cannot make public,” he said.

“I understand the feeling of the public. I also understand the duty of leadership, of what it is to sit in this chair and carry on my shoulders the ultimate responsibility for Israel’s security, and I am acting accordingly.”

Netanyahu has come under withering criticism from both the Left and the Right for his handling of the crisis: first for the decision to place metal detectors at the site without holding a security cabinet meeting on the matter or consulting with the Jordanians and the Palestinians; then for removing the metal detectors, seemingly giving the Palestinians a “victory.”

A Channel 2 poll last week found that fully 77% of the population believed removing the metal detectors was a surrender to the Palestinians. Sixty-eight percent said the government was correct in initially installing the metal detectors, while 67% said they did not believe Netanyahu handled the crisis well.

At the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu thanked the security forces for their efforts over the last two weeks, during which the number of soldiers and police across the capital has been bolstered.

“These have been two busy weeks for our security forces who are in a permanent state of readiness ahead of further major challenges in the days ahead,” he said.

“On behalf of all Israeli citizens, I want to thank the commanders and soldiers, the police and Shin Bet operatives who are working day and night to defend all of us.

I greatly appreciate their work and their deep dedication to Israel’s security.”

Netanyahu’s praise for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) came against the backdrop of sharp criticism of the organization by some on the Right flank of his party.

Netanyahu told the cabinet that in recent days he directed the police to send in reinforcements to patrol the Temple Mount and the Old City “in order to prevent attacks and disturbances, and also to act aggressively against lawbreakers.”

He also said an additional NIS 100 million has been allocated for the development and purchase of technological solutions that will enhance security at the site.  (Jerusalem Post)

IDF: Attempted stabbing attack in West Bank, assailant killed

A Palestinian attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on Friday afternoon at the Gush Etzion junction in the West Bank, according to the IDF.

According to an army statement, the assailant arrived at the scene with a knife and ran towards IDF forces. The forces fired at the attacker.

The assailant was neutralized and later died from his wounds. No civilians were reported to be wounded in the attack.

The assailant was mentally unstable, according to Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Major General Yoav Mordechai. He stated that some Palestinians “encourage people with mental problems to commit suicide in such a way, and then use it for nationalistic ends.”

Mordechai added, “We are sorry that he was killed, but the blame is on the instigators who let him to go to the junction, pull out a knife and run toward IDF soldiers.”

The attack comes after clashes were reported in the West Bank between Palestinians and the IDF following Friday prayers, particularly in Bethlehem, Nablus, Kalkilya, Hebron, Kafr Qadum, and the Tomb of Rachel.

The Palestine Red Crescent said that one Palestinian was wounded by live fire, two by rubber coated metal bullets and ten from tear gas inhalation during clashes in Bethlehem. (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu calls to pardon Azaria

IDF Chief Gadi Eisenkot indicated Sunday that he could pardon or shorten the year-and-a-half prison sentence of Hebron shooter Elor Azaria, after an IDF Military Court of Appeals upheld his manslaughter conviction for killing an already “neutralized” terrorist in 2016.

In a statement after the ruling, Eisenkot stated that “the military court has spoken clearly and unequivocally,” and that if Azaria chooses to submit a request for leniency, it would be considered seriously “while examining all the relevant considerations and with my sole commitment to the values of the IDF and its fighters.

“The military justice system held an ethical, professional and impartial process and ruled independently and without any internal or external intervention,” Eisenkot said.

“The IDF under my command dealt with the incident, drew lessons from it and will continue to do so in light of the judgment given today.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called on Azaria’s family not to file another appeal, tweeting that they should, instead, request a pardon from Eisenkot.

“I have no doubt the chief of staff will take into consideration all the difficult circumstances and his being an outstanding soldier,” Liberman said.

Azaria’s relatives, friends and supporters asked that he be given clemency by President Reuven Rivlin, but a source within Rivlin’s office said no such request has been received.

Either Azaria or a member of his family can make the appeal, said the source who preferred to remain anonymous, but the appeal can be made only on condition that a simultaneous appeal is made to the chief of staff.

Indications are that Rivlin will wait for Eisenkot’s decision, said the source, who added that there was a precedent in the case of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who also appealed for clemency, and did not receive it immediately. In that particular case, the president held back until a decision had been made by the parole board as to whether to permit Olmert’s early release, and only then did he act accordingly.

The president is a strong believer in the legal system in both the military and the civilian courts, said the source, and will not do anything that would seem to override one or the other.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a chorus of politicians calling for a pardon for Azaria.

“My opinion has not changed on pardoning Elor as I expressed it after the [initial] verdict [in January],” he said in a Twitter post. “When the issue comes up for discussion, I will give my recommendation for a pardon to the relevant authorities.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev said Azaria should have been permanently home by now.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said the decision is difficult, but that the court must be respected.

“Now, after a year and a half of troubles, it is time to pardon Elor Azaria,” he said. For the sake of our soldiers stationed on the front lines and so as not to lose our deterrence, Elor Azaria must be returned to his home.”

Bennett turned to the public and demanded that they refrain from attacking the IDF or its high command.

“I have nothing but trust in Chief of Staff Eisenkot and the IDF’s commanders. There is no room for calls against them, the likes of which were made in the past, under any circumstance.”

Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On said the decision to reject the appeal was important because it sent a message that soldiers cannot “take revenge like gangs.” She said she was sure that Rivlin would deny the pardon request and rule on the side of the law.

MK Tzipi Livni said: “The court had its say, again. [We] need to respect the IDF court’s decision and its values – without politicians advising the family or the chief of staff.”

Labor leader Avi Gabbay, meanwhile, said Netanyahu and Liberman should not have gotten involved in the case, stating that politicians should not intervene in a matter for the military courts.

In January, after Azaria was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison, Netanyahu called it a “difficult and painful day for all of us.”

“The IDF soldiers are the sons and daughters of all of us and they must remain above all disagreements,” he said at the time. Netanyahu came under criticism last year for various comments made on this issue, initially criticizing the soldier, but later calling the family to express support.

Immediately after the incident, Netanyahu issued a statement that “the IDF expects its soldiers to behave with composure and in accordance with the rules of engagement,” adding that the incident in Hebron did not “represent the values of the IDF.”

Two days later he wrote a Facebook post saying, “The IDF is a moral army that does not execute people. IDF soldiers have absorbed with their bodies the terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens and deserve support.”

He also said he trusted that the IDF would conduct a thorough and fair investigation “as it always does.”

Nevertheless, he called Azaria’s father shortly thereafter and months later defended that phone call, saying he told the elder Azaria to have faith in the army.

In April 2016, Netanyahu said: “Our soldiers are not murderers.

They act against murderers, and I hope that the way will be found to balance between the action and the overall context of the incident.”

He also said he was certain the military court would take into account all the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“As a father of a soldier and the prime minister, I want to say again that the IDF backs up its soldiers. In my familiarity with the military justice system, I am convinced that the court will consider all circumstances regarding the incident.”  (Jerusalem Post)

Family of Amman embassy guard said fearing for safety after name leaks

The family of the Israeli security guard who killed two Jordanian nationals at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman last week have reportedly fled their home after publication of his name on Sunday.

Ziv Moyal’s family left their home in the south of Israel and moved in with relatives out of fear for their safety, after Jordanian media published a photo of Moyal’s diplomatic ID card, with his picture and name, according to Channel 10.

Officials confirmed that Moyal, 28, was the guard who shot and killed the Jordanians while being attacked by one of them with a screwdriver.

His family insisted that “he acted solely according to standard procedure.”

The incident last week has threatened a major diplomatic rift between Israel and Jordan, one of its few allies in the region, after Moyal was returned to Israel, along with the rest of Israel’s diplomatic staff in Amman.

Jordan reacted furiously to the guard being welcomed back as a hero in Israel, and demanded that he be investigated and tried.

A political source told Walla news that the leak of Moyal’s identity to a Jordanian newspaper showed that the Jordanians “were trying to radicalize the situation,” to “force a reality on us, and to punish Ziv.”

Ziv Moyal

A picture published in Jordan’s al-Ghad newspaper shows the diplomatic ID of Israeli security guard Ziv Moyal

Jordan’s King Abdullah II had strongly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for warmly receiving Moyal at his office hours after he was brought back across the border following the diplomatic standoff.

Netanyahu’s office disseminated photos of him embracing Moyal. According to a statement, the prime minister told him: “You acted well, calmly and we also had an obligation to get you out.”

Abdullah accused Netanyahu of trying to exploit the situation for political points, saying it would have repercussions on the countries’ ties.

On Friday the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced that a preliminary probe was launched into the July 23 attack.

The announcement came after Jordan announced that Israeli embassy staff, who came back to Israel on Monday following the violent incident, would not be allowed to return to Amman until an investigation was opened.

The two nations were already navigating tense relations surrounding violence at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, administered by a Jordanian-controlled trust.

Some details of the incident remain murky. On July 23, laborer Mohammed Jawawdeh, and others were installing a bedroom set at a residence used by the Israeli Embassy in Amman when an altercation ensued. Israeli officials said Jawawdeh attacked the guard with a screwdriver, lightly injuring him. The guard returned fire in “self-defense,” and killed both Jawawdeh and a second man, building owner Bashar Hamarneh, who was there at the time.

A separate Jordanian probe found that Moyal and Jawawdeh got in an argument before the incident, signaling that it was a domestic dispute and not terror related.

On Thursday, Jordan reportedly charged Moyal with murder in absentia, amid calls by Jawawdeh’s family to give the guard the death penalty.

On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians held a protest near the Israeli embassy in Amman over the incident, calling on the government to shut it down and cancel the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday that Israel was “launching a probe process into the incident, in accordance with the appropriate legal proceedings in such matters.”

“The [Israeli] state prosecutor [Shai Nitzan], in coordination with the attorney general [Avichai Mandelblit], has instructed all the relevant bodies to submit all related materials they possess,” read the statement.

“In the framework of Israel-Jordan relations, Israel will update Jordan on the developments and findings of the proceedings,” the ministry said.  (the Times of Israel)

Arab hate for Jews is what’s holding them back

by David Suissa      The Australian

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/arab-hate-for-jews-is-whats-holding-them-back/news-story/d5c7f1e3a624ec532a153dc4e8639217

In a Facebook post a few hours before he stabbed three Israeli Jews to death as they were enjoying a Shabbat meal, 19-year-old Omar al-Abed made clear what he thought of Jews: “You, sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of al-Aqsa, I am sure that men will follow me and will hit you with an iron fist, I am warning you.”

A century of Arab lies, delusional swagger and Jew-hatred can be found in that one sentence.

First, the lies. The gates of al-Aqsa (a mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City) were not closed. They were open. They just had metal detectors for everyone’s protection. Those detectors were installed after two Israeli security guards were killed by Arab terrorists using weapons that had been smuggled into the compound.

The hysterical and violent Arab response is very much about symbols. The metal detectors were a visible reminder to the world that Israel has ultimate sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, where the al-Aqsa mosque is located and where the Jewish temples of biblical times once stood.

Removing the detectors won’t remove the deep, 3000-year Jewish connection to Jerusalem, which Arab leaders consistently reject. As Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas once put it, Jews defile the Temple Mount with their “filthy feet”.

Of course, such blatant lies and incitement against Jews have long been par for the course for Arab dictators desperate to distract attention from how they oppress and fail their own people.

Next, the delusional swagger. The killer thinks that murdering a few Jews during a Shabbat dinner will encourage an army of Muslims to hit Israel with an “iron fist”. These kind of grandiose dreams date to the beginning of the Jewish state, when Arab armies invaded the infant nation but failed to destroy it. They have been failing ever since.

Recognising this reality ­ that Israel is too powerful to be destroyed ­ is out of the question. Better to demonise and demean the Jews as “sons of monkeys and pigs” and spin military defeats as battles in a never-ending war against the Zionist monster.

Finally, it must be noted that the Jew-hatred that permeates Arab consciousness long predates any settlements in the West Bank. Decades before anyone ever heard of an Israeli “occupation”, Jews were hated for trying to assert their sovereign rights in their ancestral homeland.

Arab countries rejected the UN Partition Plan for Palestine of 1947 ­ which allocated land for an independent Arab state and a Jewish state ­ because they couldn’t stomach the idea and legitimacy of a Jewish state. For centuries, Jews were tolerated in Arab and Muslim societies only because they kept their heads down and accepted their status as second-class citizens.

Then, with the backing of the UN, these lowly Jews had the chutzpah to return to their biblical homeland and build their own country with universities, hospitals, roads, farming communities and a modern economy.

On top of that, all of the Arab armies combined could not chase them away.

In a culture that prides honour and is repulsed by shame, can you imagine how much humiliation has been felt by failing Arab states next to the extraordinary success and power of the Jewish state?

There was another way. Had the Arab nations accepted the UN partition plan and started building their own state next to Israel, there never would have been an Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Had the Palestinian Arabs looked at Jews as potential allies who could help them succeed, there would be a Gaza Riviera today that would compete with the Tel Aviv beachfront as one of the world’s hot spots.

There would be a thriving hi-tech sector in Ramallah that would compete with Israel’s Startup Nation, and elite Palestinian universities, research centres and a cultural scene that would be the envy of the Arab world.

But instead of partnering with the Jews, Arab nations chose to hate the Jews. Instead of taking responsibility for their future, they blamed the Jews for their misery.

As pro-Israel activist Chloe Simone Valdary wrote last week on Facebook, in a message to Palestinians: “It’s the belief that Israelis are holding you back that’s holding you back. Holding you back from letting go of all the hatred and the envy and the jealousy which is just so damn exhausting to hold on to.”

The “iron fist” that is killing Arab hope is coming from Arab leaders who demonise Jews and use excuses like metal detectors to start holy wars. What a tragic irony that if Arabs ever wanted to build a better future, it would be in their interest to learn from people they’ve been told are subhuman.

David Suissa is a columnist with the Jewish Journal in Los Angeles.

Stop Infantilizing the Palestinians

by David Harris              The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5977b680e4b0c6616f7ce5e9?msource=DAH072517&tr=y&auid=17387788

It’s high time for the international community to wake up to certain Palestinian realities that many would rather avoid.

Recent events in the region, including the brutal killing of two Israeli policemen and three members of an Israeli family, as well as the wild conspiracy stories circulated in regard to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, only underscore the point.

For too many observers of the region, however, their obsession with Israel and what it should (and should not) do blinds them to the other side of the equation—what the Palestinians should (and should not) do.

Here are five things that could end the infantilization of the Palestinians and lead, perhaps, to a more hospitable climate for restarting a long-dormant peace process.

First, how can there be serious talk of a two-state accord when the Palestinians are divided between the West Bank and Gaza?

As a reminder, when Israel withdrew all of its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, it gave the residents of Gaza the first chance in history to govern themselves, something no one else, not the Egyptians or any other occupiers, ever even remotely considered.

What happened? By 2007, Hamas, labeled by both the United States and the European Union a a terrorist organization, was in power, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) was physically ejected. Since then, PA President Abbas has never, not once, visited Gaza. So all this talk today about two states could, just as easily, be about three states.

Israel cannot solve the problem of this division. Only the Palestinians can, possibly with outside help from the larger Arab world and beyond. But will they?

Second, whenever we hear about Gaza, we inevitably hear about “refugee camps.” But, pray tell, why are there refugee camps in Gaza?

It’s been 12 years since Israel left the coastal strip. What is the purpose of maintaining these camps, which have only served to perpetuate the notion, generation after generation, of a displaced people hankering for their “return.” Return to where? To Israel, presumably, and that would mean the end of the Jewish state.

Breaking news: The Palestinians are not the first refugee population in the world, far from it, nor, incidentally, are they the only refugee population from the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nearly a million Jews were forcibly evicted from their homes in Arab countries, but all of them resettled elsewhere rather than opt to languish in refugee camps ad infinitum.

But the Palestinians definitely are the first to be designated by the UN as “refugees in perpetuity,” handing the title to their children and their children’s children. How long must this unique status on the planet go on? Shouldn’t there be some statute of limitation in order to begin to change the mindset and put a halt to these camps, which serve as incubators of hatred and revenge?

After all, many of us come from refugee families, but that status applied to those who actually lost their homes, not to every descendant.

Third, why doesn’t the international community show more backbone in insisting that Palestinians take responsibility for their own behavior?

For example, the Palestinians could have had a state on more than one occasion between 1947 and 2017, yet they rejected each opportunity. That’s not an opinion, but a fact.

But, of course, the price to be paid was recognition of Israel as a sovereign nation alongside the Palestinian state, a price they have been unwilling to pay.

So, while Israel has evolved in its own thinking and come to accept Palestinian nationalism, there has been no reciprocal movement on the Palestinian side to accept Jewish self-determination as its complement.

Moreover, Palestinians launch gruesome terror attacks against Israel, such as the murder of three people in Halamish last week, and then reward the killers and their families with generous monthly stipends. One estimate is that the Palestinians will spend up to $300 million in 2017 alone for this purpose. This should be kept in mind the next time someone wonders why more schools and hospitals aren’t being built in the West Bank.

Is this strategy, if that’s what it is, a pathway to the negotiating table? Is this likely to allay Israel’s legitimate security concerns and increase Israeli confidence that a genuine peace partner exists with whom to pursue a final settlement? And is the incitement that surrounds such vicious attacks, including calls for the death of Israelis, Zionists, and Jews, contributing to a climate conducive to confidence and compromise?

Fourth, the popular Palestinian belief that Jews are “outsiders,” “interlopers,” “colonialists,” and “crusaders” must be confronted. Jews are indigenous to the region. The age-old link between the Jewish people and the land is documented and irrefutable.

Yet too many countries are willing to go along with this trumped-up narrative, as evidenced, for instance, by recent votes at the UNESCO Executive Board and its World Heritage Committee.

To deny the Jewish link to Jerusalem is tantamount to denying the Muslim link to Mecca or the Catholic link to Rome. It’s totally ludicrous, yet it happens again and again – and, it must be noted, countries like Sweden and Brazil risk their own credibility by buying into this charade. Indulging the Palestinians in their fanciful history allows them to live in an alternate universe, one where Israel doesn’t exist, or, if it does, is only a “temporary and illegitimate” phenomenon.

And fifth, the world should make it clear: Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism. Take Europe. Countries like France and Belgium have been the targets of fatal attacks. And they respond as they should: with a no-holds-barred effort to find the perpetrators and their support networks, and to declare a no-tolerance policy for such bestiality.

But when it comes to attacks against Israelis, the language often changes, sometime subtly, other times overtly. There can be a hint of rationalization here, an immediate call for Israeli restraint there. Phrases like “cycles of violence” appear, implying that no one really knows, or cares, who started the process, or that this is really just a Hatfield-McCoy spat without any distinction between the two sides.

Yet surely there must always be a clear distinction between the fireman and the arsonist, the democrat and the despot, as there is in Europe and elsewhere when such outrages occur. Otherwise, moral fog replaces moral clarity.

Ending the infantilization of the Palestinians – and beginning to hold them responsible for their actions – could be one promising way forward for the peacemakers.

Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors – Who Is Violating What?

by Bassam Tawil                 The Gatestone Institute

https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10741/palestinians-metal-detectors

Crucially, and contrary to Palestinian claims, there has been no Israeli decision to ban Muslims from entering the Temple Mount. For the first time since 1967, the Palestinians are denying Muslim worshippers free access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Palestinians and the Islamic religious authorities are protesting against security measures that are intended to save the lives of Muslim worshippers and prevent the desecration of their holy sites by terrorists and rioters. They are protesting because Israel is trying to make it hard for them to murder Jews.

To clarify what is actually going on: it is not the security measures that really anger the Palestinians; for them, this crisis is not about a metal detector or a security camera. It is not the security measures that the Palestinians want dismantled. It is Israel that they want dismantled.

The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: “lie detectors.” They have exposed Palestinian lies and the real reason behind Palestinian anger.

Israel apparently removed the metal detectors from the gates of the Temple Mount as part of a deal to end an unexpected crisis with Jordan over the killing of two Jordanian men by an Israeli embassy security officer in Amman. The security officer says he was acting in self-defense after being attacked by one of the Jordanians with a screwdriver.

The crisis erupted when the Jordanian authorities insisted on interrogating the officer — a request that was rejected by Israel because the officer enjoys diplomatic immunity. US intervention and a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah helped end the crisis peacefully and quickly, and the officer and the rest of the Israeli embassy staff were permitted to leave Jordan and head back to Israel.

Shortly after the embassy staff returned to Israel, the Israeli authorities started removing the metal detectors that were installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on July 14. The move sparked a wave of rumors and speculation, according to which the Jordanians allowed the embassy staff to return home in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors.

Israel and Jordan have denied any link between the shooting incident in Amman and the removal of the metal detectors.

The crisis that erupted between Israel and Jordan over the killing of the two Jordanians was solved in less than 48 hours — much to the dismay of the Palestinians.

The Palestinians were hoping to exploit the crisis to exacerbate tensions between Amman and Jerusalem. Their ultimate goal: to cause the Jordanians to scrap their peace treaty with Israel and return to the state of war with the “Zionist enemy.” The Palestinians were also hoping to exploit the crisis to incite Jordanians against Israel and the Hashemite monarchy.

Fortunately, the Jordanian authorities did not fall into the Palestinian trap. They realized that it is in their own interest to resolve the crisis swiftly and peacefully. King Abdullah was wise enough not to allow the Palestinians to drag him into a confrontation with Israel.

Since the installation of the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, the Palestinians have been waging yet another campaign of fabrications and distortions against Israel. This Palestinian blood libel claims that Israel is seeking to “change the status quo” at the Temple Mount by introducing new security measures such as metal detectors and surveillance cameras at the gates to the holy site.

Yet if anyone has violated the status quo it is the Palestinians themselves.

Status Quo Violation Number One: For the past two years, the Palestinians have been trying to prevent Jews from touring the Temple Mount — a practice that has been allowed since 1967.

Status Quo Violation Number Two: The Palestinians and their supporters have long turned the Temple Mount into a battlefield for clashing with Israeli policemen and Jewish visitors. In an ongoing arrangement that ought to interest the international community, they pay Muslim men and women salaries to come to the compound and harass policemen and Jewish visitors by hurling insults at them and throwing stones and petrol bombs. These individuals belong to an outlawed group known as the Murabitun. This is a group of Muslim fanatics who receive money from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel to do their utmost to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount.

Status Quo Violation Number Three: Over the past two decades, the Waqf (Islamic Trust) that manages the affairs of the mosques on the Temple Mount, and other parties, have been carrying out illegal excavation and construction work at the site in a bid to create irreversible facts on the ground. The Waqf and the Palestinian Authority claim that the excavation work is aimed at refuting Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and showing the world that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem.

Status Quo Violation Number Four: The Palestinians and their supporters have been using the Temple Mount compound as a platform for spewing anti-Semitism and calls to murder Jews and all “infidels.” This abuse of the holy site as a podium for spreading Palestinian poison is far from a new practice. Palestinians and other Muslims have been doing this at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques around the world for decades. Take, for example, when the imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque predicted that the “White House would turn black, with the help of God.”

This prayer, attended by thousands of Muslim worshippers, came only a few weeks before the 9/11 terror attacks. Last week, another imam prayed to God that Israeli policemen guarding the Temple Mount would be widowed and orphaned.

These are only a handful of the countless examples of how mosques are being used to indoctrinate the hearts and minds of Muslims with hate.

Status Quo Violation Number Five: The murder of two policemen on July 14 is the mother of all status quo violations. Until the murder, Muslims had resorted to less deadly weapons such as stones and petrol bombs to attack Jews and policemen. July 14 represents the first time that Muslims used firearms at the Temple Mount. While it is not unusual to see Muslims blowing up mosques and committing atrocities against fellow Muslims in many Arab and Islamic countries, the shooting attack at the Temple Mount was still unprecedented.

Smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount is a grave desecration of the holy site. Murdering two police officers, who were stationed there to safeguard the site and protect Muslim worshippers, takes the level of violation and desecration to new lows. It is worth noting that the two police officers were not murdered during a confrontation or a violent incident. One of them was shot in the back while he was standing at one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.

After the July 14 murder, Palestinians began waging daily protests by refusing to enter the Temple Mount through metal detectors installed by the Israeli authorities to prevent weapons smuggling for the safety of the Muslim worshippers themselves.

Instead, Palestinians gather every evening at the entrances to the Temple Mount, where they complete their prayers with a volley of stones and petrol bombs lodged at police officers.

Crucially, and contrary to Palestinian claims, there has been no Israeli decision to ban Muslims from entering the Temple Mount.

Rather, we are witnessing precisely the opposite situation: there has been a Palestinian decision banning Muslims from entering the Temple Mount until Israel removes any security measures, whether metal detectors or surveillance cameras. This particular, and serious, breach of the status quo on the part of the Palestinians and Muslims has yet to receive appropriate mention: for the first time since 1967, the Palestinians are denying Muslim worshippers free access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Unsurprisingly, the removal of the metal detectors this week has not sated the Palestinians’ and Waqf’s lust for Jewish blood. Quite the contrary: the removal has increased their appetite, voracious as they are for Israeli capitulation and retreat. Now the Palestinians are demanding an end to all security measures imposed after the murder of the two officers on July 14.

So, here we are in a situation where Israel is damned if it does and damned if it does not.

In other words, the Palestinians and the Islamic religious authorities are protesting against security measures that are intended to save the lives of Muslim worshippers and prevent the desecration of their holy sites by terrorists and rioters. They are protesting because Israel is trying to make it hard for them to murder Jews. The message is: How dare you try to stop us from murdering Jews?

To clarify what is actually going on: it is not the security measures that really anger the Palestinians; for them, this crisis is not about a metal detector or a security camera. Rather, it is about sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the whole of Israel. For the Palestinians, the real struggle is not over the Temple Mount, but over the presence of Jews in what they consider “occupied Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.”

In the face of the metal detector removal, the Palestinians are calling for yet more “days of rage.” The Palestinians were hoping to drag the Arab and Islamic countries into a confrontation with Israel. This is a hope they have thus far failed to achieve, especially as the short-lived crisis with Jordan proved. The Palestinians now feel disappointed that they were unable to drive a wedge between Israel and Jordan.

So, what else is on the Palestinian agenda of violence? They are aiming to stop Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. They are also hoping to show Israel and the rest of the world that sovereignty over the Temple Mount belongs to Muslims and to Muslims alone. In short, this is about strong-arming Israel and portraying it as weak and volatile and scared — a country ripe for intimidation and taking apart.

First, the Palestinians demanded that Israel dismantle metal detectors. Then, they were demanding that Israel end all forms of security measures at the Temple Mount. It is not difficult to imagine what the next demand will be. It is not the security measures that the Palestinians want dismantled. It is Israel that they want dismantled.

Thus, dismantled or intact, the metal detectors have played a vital role by exposing Palestinian and Muslim lies and blood libels.