JERUSALEM – Major Arab state groups and Jordan each separately condemned Israel for temporarily closing the Temple Mount on Friday, but failed to mention the deadly Palestinian terrorist attack at the Mount that prompted Israel to enforce the closure for national security reasons.
The statement from Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit complained that the Jewish state’s “banning Palestinians from praying” will only work to “inflame extremism and escalate tension” in the Middle East.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which consists of 57 member states and calls itself the “collective voice of the Muslim world,” also slammed Israel for closing the Mount, claiming the move amounted to “a serious crime and a dangerous precedent.”
The Jordanian government, which administers to the mosques on the Mount, issued a statement reading, “The Jordanian government opposes any harm against Muslims in carrying out their religious worship in their holy places, freely and with no obstacles.”
None of the statements mentioned the reason for Israel’s rare temporary closure of the Temple Mount. Mount preachers are notorious for using Friday night sermons to incite against Israel – especially with false claims of Israeli threats to the Al Aqsa Mosque – and there was fear here that the services could have been used to instigate further violence on the Mount following Friday’s terrorist attack at the site.
Two Israeli Border Police Officers were murdered and a third was wounded on Friday 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.
One unnamed Israeli official responded to the Jordanian statement, telling Israeli TV that “instead of condemning the attack, Jordan chose to attack Israel, which is protecting worshipers and maintaining freedom of worship in the place.”
Jordan is a controlling force over the Waqf, the Mount’s Islamic custodians. Jordan’s statement further did not mention that three Waqf officials were reportedly detained in an Israeli police raid on Friday under suspicion that they aided the terrorist attack.
Help from the inside would make sense. The terrorists reportedly came from the Temple Mount and were walking toward the Lions Gate exit when they attacked Israeli officers near the gate. 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.
Friday’s attack occurred 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” sites and listed the areas as Palestinian heritage sites in “danger.”
And the terrorist attack took place one week after UNESCO passed another anti-Israel resolution regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron – considered the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount – claiming the tomb is a “Palestinian” world heritage site in danger.
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.