TEL AVIV – It cannot be ignored that today’s deadly Palestinian terrorist attack at the Temple Mount comes less than two weeks after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed an anti-Israel resolution declaring Jerusalem’s Old City and its ancient walls to be “occupied” and scandalously listed the areas as Palestinian heritage sites.
And the attack on the Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – comes one week after UNESCO passed an anti-Israel resolution singling out another holy site. The UN body declared the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – as another “Palestinian” world heritage site in danger.
The UNESCO vote would make Israel the “occupying power” over the Temple Mount and Western Wall and implies that the Palestinian Authority, which never had a state or legal entity in Jerusalem (or the West Bank, for that matter) is the rightful authority over the ancient city of Jerusalem.
In Friday’s attack, two Israeli Border Police Officers were murdered and a third was wounded when three Palestinian terrorists opened fire at security forces near an entrance to the Temple Mount at the Lions Gate and then fled into the Mount complex. The Palestinian assailants, reportedly carrying two rifles and a pistol, were pursued by Israeli forces and were shot and killed as they tried to escape toward the mosques on the Mount.
The terrorists reportedly came from the Temple Mount and were walking toward the Lions Gate exit when they attacked Israeli officers near the gate.
The Lions Gate is included among the ancient walls declared by UNESCO as “occupied” by Israel and the Temple Mount is located within Jerusalem’s Old City that was the focus of the UN’s decision.
It was not immediately clear how the weapons were smuggled on to the Mount. Visitors to the site must first pass through security checks with metal detectors.
No group has yet claimed responsibility but it is obvious that this was a premeditated attack. If the Temple Mount area had been the intended target, then the attack just hit one of the most politically and religiously sensitive sites in the world.
Attacks on the mount are rare, especially attacks utilizing guns. In 2015, the outlawed Islamic Movement mobilized Arab youth in an attempt to smuggle fire bombs, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and stones on to the site to attack Jews there. Riots broke out on the Mount in October 1990, ushering in the First Intifada, and the Second Intifada kicked off in September 2000 after the Palestinians used a visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon as a pretense to launch an orchestrated terrorist campaign after bolting U.S.-brokered talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state.
Now one week after UNESCO’s Hebron decision and ten days after its vote on Jerusalem’s Old City and walls, a rare attack takes place on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City at the Lions Gate, a critical part of Jerusalem’s ancient walls.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.