The Temple Mount

jonathan flanders jon_flanders at
Sat Sep 15 16:09:17 MDT 2001

September 29, almost one year ago.Israeli leader Ariel Sharon stages the
provocation which put him in power. If we want to do detective work,
perhaps we should be looking back at the chronology of events in the Middle

When you see the Britannica definition of haram(which I interpose in the
text of the Guardian article, the evil intentions behind Sharon's act are
as inconceivable as the acts of the plane hijackers.

"We will redeem the Haram with blood and fire" chant the Palestinian
protestors as reported in the Guardian article.

Jon Flanders

Rioting as Sharon visits Islam holy site

Special report: Israel and the Middle East

Suzanne Goldenberg in Jerusalem
Friday September 29, 2000
The Guardian

Dozens of people were injured in rioting on the West Bank and in Jerusalem
yesterday as the hawkish Likud party leader, Ariel Sharon, staged a
provocative visit to a Muslim shrine at the heart of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Surrounded by hundreds of Israeli riot police, Mr Sharon and a handful of
Likud politicians marched up to the Haram al-Sharif, the site of the gold
Dome of the Rock that is the third holiest shrine in Islam.

He came down 45 minutes later, leaving a trail of fury. Young Palestinians
heaved chairs, stones, rubbish bins, and whatever missiles came to hand at
the Israeli forces. Riot police retaliated with tear gas and rubber
bullets, shooting one protester in the face.

The symbolism of the visit to the Haram..... (from Arabian religion
Sanctuaries, cultic objects, and religious practices and institutions. The
sanctuaries, sometimes carved in the rock on high places, consisted of a
haram, a sacred open-air enclosure, accessible only to unarmed and ritually
clean people in ritual clothes...Brittanica)... by Mr Sharon - reviled for
his role in the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in a refugee camp in Lebanon
- and its timing was unmistakable. "This is a dangerous process conducted
by Sharon against Islamic sacred places," Yasser Arafat told Palestinian

Mr Sharon's second motive was less obvious: to steal the limelight from the
former prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who returned from the US
yesterday and could become a challenger for the Likud party leadership
after Israel's attorney general decided not to prosecute him for

But that ambition was overshadowed by the potential for serious violence at
Haram al-Sharif, the point where history, religion and national aspiration

Palestinian protesters followed Mr Sharon down the mountain, chanting
"murderer" and "we will redeem the Haram with blood and fire". They
narrowly escaped clashing with Orthodox Jews who shouted "go back to

Although the Haram is part of Arab East Jerusalem, occupied illegally by
Israel since 1967, Jews revere the esplanade, which they call the Temple
Mount, as the site of a temple destroyed in AD70.

The 35-acre site is the single biggest obstacle to peace and, as Mr Sharon
asserted yesterday, an inalienable part of the Jewish state.

"The Temple Mount is in our hands and will remain in our hands. It is the
holiest site in Judaism and it is the right of every Jew to visit the
Temple Mount," he said after his descent.

Palestinians and Israeli liberals denounced the visit as a dangerous
provocation. "The timing and the decision to visit the Haram was taken to
flare up the area and to burn up the place," said a blood-splattered Ahmed
Tibi, an Israeli Arab member of the knesset, who suffered a broken wrist in
the scuffles at the shrine. "He wants to see more blood and more killing.
He wants to kill the peace."

The protests inside the Haram were extinguished, but not before two
screaming riot policemen were rushed down the mountain on stretchers, and
at least five Palestinians were injured.

Later in the day, clashes broke out on the main commercial street in Arab
East Jerusalem, and outside the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Mr Sharon was unrepentant, claiming he had been on a mission of
reconciliation. "What provocation is there when Jews come to visit the
place with a message of peace? I am sorry about the injured, but it is the
right of Jews in Israel to visit the Temple Mount."
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