Israel Update: 14-18 July 2017
Updates over the next few weeks could be sporadic as the editor is travelling. This week’s focusses on the Temple Mount attack last Friday and its repercussions.
TERRORIST ATROCITY ON TEMPLE MOUNT FRIDAY JULY 14
Israel Police on Friday released security footage from the shooting attack at the Temple Mount that day. Two Israeli police officers, one of them standing, the other sitting, are in an alleyway just outside the Temple Mount compound when two armed men, weapons drawn, run up behind the standing officer and shoot him in the back. The terrorists then ran back to the Temple Mount compound. Channel 2 news reported late Friday that the second policeman may have been killed by the assailants on the Mount itself, after they had fled back.
The Arab League condemned Israel for its closure of the Temple Mount following a terror attack at the holy site but their statement made no mention of the cause of the temporary closure — the terror attack earlier in the day that claimed the lives of two Israeli police officers.
The three terrorists were Arab-Israelis using two Carlo-style submachine guns and a pistol to carry out the attack. One of them also tried to stab an officer.
Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Saturday night that three Waqf officials were under arrest on suspicion of assisting or encouraging the Temple Mount attackers. It said the three gunmen had stored their weapons inside the compound several days before Friday’s attack. One of the three Waqf officials arrested was reported to have been seen acting suspiciously on security cameras.
(The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf is a Jordanian Islamic religious trust best known for controlling and managing the current Islamic edifices on and around the Temple Mount)
Israeli police uncovered dozens of weapons in the Temple Mount compound during searches on Friday and Saturday, the Jerusalem Police Chief said on Sunday. “We found dozens of knives, slingshots, cudgels, spikes, inciting material, unexploded munitions, [and] stun grenades,” Halevi said. “The search was coordinated with Waqf officials, including even having one or two Waqf people accompany us.”
The two Israeli Druze police officers were laid to rest in their northern Israel villages on Friday evening. Haiel Sitawe, 30, joined the Israel Police in 2012 and had served in the unit responsible for securing the Temple Mount ever since. He leaves behind a wife, Irin, and a three-week-old son. Kamil Shnaan, 22, had signed on as a career officer seven months ago. He was the son of former Labour Party Knesset member Shachiv Shnaan. His engagement party was to be held next week.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II condemned the attack in a phone conversation with Israel’s P.M. Netanyahu…. In contrast to the king’s condemnation, members of the Jordanian parliament praised the three attackers. The July 16 joint parliament-government session described them as “martyrs, who fell [in order] to water [and to continue to water] the pure land of Palestine [with their blood],” Numerous articles in the Jordanian press condemned Israel. A column from the government daily Al-Rai, praised the attack and referred to the attackers’ “martyrdom”.
As part of the security measures taken in the wake of the shooting to prevent further such attacks, police installed metal detectors at the entrance to the site. Friday’s gunmen, residents of the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, had emerged armed from the compound and opened fire on the police officers stationed outside. The Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, called for a “Day of Rage” on Wednesday to protest new security measures installed by Israel at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem after a terror attack by three Israeli-Arabs killed two Israeli police officers.
Protesters rioted in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods overnight Tuesday against new security measures at the Temple Mount, throwing stones and petrol bombs at police and shooting fireworks at Israeli forces. At least 50 Palestinians and one officer were reported hurt.
Clashes broke out between Muslims and police in the Old City of Jerusalem for the third night in a row on Tuesday, in response to Israel placing metal detectors at entrances to the Temple Mount compound following a terror attack in the area. After evening prayers at a gate outside the Temple Mount, a group of Muslims “started throwing rocks and bottles at the police officers”
The first medic to respond to the Temple Mount terror attack was Nedal Sader a Muslim who frequently prayed at the compound. His organisation United Hatzalah has about 300 Muslim, Druze and Christian volunteers EMTs, paramedics and doctors, who account for about 10 percent of the total
NRG/Maariv reported that the Mufti of Jerusalem issued a new religious edict for Muslims on Monday: Any Muslim who goes to the Temple Mount to pray at the Mosques, and enters via the Zionist metal detectors, their prayers will be “invalid” and not be received by Allah. The “Zionist metal detectors” were installed as a security measure after last Friday’s fatal terrorist attack when 3 Arab terrorists shot and killed 2 Israeli policeman at the Holy site, using weapons they smuggled in and stored at the Mosques on the Temple Mount.
In 2011 Saudi Lieutenant Colonel Fawaz al-Sahafi, who heads the security team at Mecca’s Holy Mosque, spoke of plans to fit “sophisticated metal and explosive detectors” at the multiple gates.
COMMENT & OPINION
It’s outrageous that in parts of the Muslim world, Israel is being castigated for installing metal detectors designed to boost security at the holiest place in the world for Jews and the third holiest for Muslims…
It’s outrageous that many of those who are castigating Israel for ostensibly “changing the status quo” at the Temple Mount / Al-Aqsa Mosque compound are doing so without so much as mentioning the murderous attack that defiled the holy site and prompted the deployment of the metal detectors…
It’s outrageous that the deployment of metal detectors outside the compound is being misrepresented as a change to that post-1967 status quo, when Israel since 1967 has always maintained overall security responsibility for the site, and when Friday’s events manifestly demonstrate the imperative for improved security…
It’s outrageous that the metal detectors are deemed unacceptable when religious sites the world over are secured in exactly the same way, for exactly the same unfortunately necessary reasons…
It’s beyond outrageous that, since the compound was reopened by Israel on Sunday, after two days of security sweeps following Friday’s murderous attack, the Waqf officials have overseen what amounts to a boycott of their own holy places — insisting that Muslim worshipers not enter the Al-Aqsa compound so long as the metal detectors remain in place. The religious custodians of the third most holy place in Islam self-evidently loathe the notion of what they portray as a submission to those Jewish-overseen security checks more than they cherish the right and opportunity to pray there…
To put it really crudely then, Arabs killed Arabs at a holy place, the Jews are trying to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, and the Arab world is furious with the Jews about it. (As the footage below shows, one of the victims has his back to the compound as the gunmen emerge; he was there to protect them from outside attack.)