Klein: Media Distort Muslim Riots on Temple Mount

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MUSA AL-SHAER/AFP/Getty

Muslims on the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – engaged in a clearly orchestrated assault on Israeli police protecting the site on the very day that Jews worldwide mourned the destruction of the First and Second Jewish Temples.

Despite the unprovoked violence in which Israeli police acted to protect themselves, Arab nations claimed that Israel was responsible for the riots and the mainstream U.S. news media painted a picture of seemingly spontaneous protests in which some 37 Muslims were injured, at least one seriously. Four Israeli police officers were wounded.

A widely-circulated Associated Press article titled “Muslims clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site” was published by scores of major newspapers.

“Muslim worshippers and Israeli police clashed Sunday at a major Jerusalem holy site during prayers marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha,” the screed begins. “Clouds of tear gas swirled and stun grenades thundered across the stone-paved esplanade as masses of worshippers skirmished with police in the worst bout of fighting at the contested holy site in months.”

One needs to scroll down eight paragraphs to divine the reported origin of the clashes:

Large numbers of Palestinians had gathered at the gates of the compound early Sunday after rumors circulated that police would allow Jewish visitors to enter the site. The protesters chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) and threw stones at police, who then charged into the compound while firing stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets.

So Palestinian protesters already had stones (and other objects, according to numerous other mainstream media reports) ready to instigate clashes and the rent-a-mob “violence” began when these rioters threw stones at police, a potentially fatal assault on Israeli security forces.

To be clear, Muslims on the Temple Mount carried out a preplanned assault on Israeli forces, and those forces responded in self-defense.

NBC News published its own story titled, “Muslim worshippers clash with Israeli police at Jerusalem holy site.”

After reporting on “Muslim worshipers” who “clashed with Israeli police,” the story finally allows:

Police said Muslim worshippers started throwing stones and chairs at officers who were guarding the entrance to the site, which Muslims refer to as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews refer to as the Temple Mount.  Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in response.

Without providing much context, meanwhile, the AP story amazingly reports on the so-called provocation that prompted the Muslim assault in the first place – that Jews wanted to visit their holiest site. As per above, the AP story reports (emphasis added), “Large numbers of Palestinians had gathered at the gates of the compound early Sunday after rumors circulated that police would allow Jewish visitors to enter the site.

So Muslims rioted Sunday because Jews dared to ascend the mount that is the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples. And this as Jews that same day practiced the annual fast day known as Tisha Ba’av, which mourns numerous major disasters in Jewish history, especially the destruction of the two Temples. Visiting the Temple Mount on that day is important to Jews.

Muslims have long sought to entirely shut down non-Muslim worship on the Temple Mount, which they refer to as the Haram al-Sharif – the site that later became associated with Muhammad’s night journey long after the Jewish temples stood in the same place.

Israel allows the Jordanian-controlled Waqf to serve as custodian of the Temple Mount and grants Muslim worshippers access to the site 24 hours per day, seven days a week with the exception of rare instances of security threats.

Jewish and Christian visitors are restricted by the Waqf from visiting the Mount except on small tours for about two hours per day. The Waqf does not allow non-Muslims to pray on the Mount or bring holy objects to the site; whereas Muslim prayer is entirely unrestricted. Waqf representatives closely monitor non-Muslim visitors to the site and are known to boot those engaging in prayer.

But that’s not enough for the Waqf. The Islamic custodians especially opposes Jewish visits on Jewish holidays, which is why these riots were obviously orchestrated in a ploy to pressure Israel into shutting down the Jewish tours on Jewish holy days.

Mainstream Palestinian Authority institutions promote the conspiracy that the Temple Mount is only holy to Muslims and the Jewish Temples never existed.

Rejecting archeological evidence, the historical record and accepted fact, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, told Breitbart News in a previous exclusive interview  that the Temple Mount is “a holy place for Muslims only, and no one but the Muslims have any religious or historical right there.”

Maher al-Sousi, a lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza, claimed that the Jewish Temples were never located on the Temple Mount and that Jews have no right to the holiest site in Judaism.

In a previous Breitbart Jerusalem interview , Khaled Elkhaldi, a professor at Gaza’s Islamic University, completely denied Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

In 2007, this reporter conducted an exclusive video interview with Waqf official and chief Palestinian cleric Taysir Tamimi, who used the occasion to claim the Jewish Temples “never existed” and the Western Wall was really a hitching post for Muhammad’s horse.

Excavations near the Mount routinely uncover archaeological evidence further tying Jews to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. For example, discoveries at the City of David, an archeological site just outside the Mount, have unearthed the core of ancient Jerusalem, including Hezekiah’s Tunnel, evidence of the Gihon Spring, Jewish Temple artifacts, Temple purifying pools and more.

Not only are these Muslim scholars’ claims about the lack of evidence tying Jews to the Temple Mount false, the Islamic scholars gloss over the Palestinians’ own complicity in disposing of Jewish Temple artifacts further solidifying Jewish ties to the site.

As I previously reported:

In 1997, the Waqf conducted a large dig on the Temple Mount during construction of a massive mosque at an area referred to as Solomon’s Stables. The Wafq at the time disposed of truckloads of dirt containing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temple periods.

After the media reported the disposals, Israeli authorities froze the construction permit given to the Waqf and the dirt was transferred to Israeli archaeologists for analysis. The Israeli authorities found scores of Jewish Temple relics in the nearly disposed dirt, including coins with Hebrew writing referencing the Temple, part of a Hasmonean lamp, several other Second Temple lamps, Temple-period pottery with Jewish markings, a marble pillar shaft, and other Temple-period artifacts.

The Waqf was widely accused of attempting to hide evidence of the existence of the Jewish Temples.

And in 2007, I personally reported from the site of an unusual dig on the Temple Mount in which the Waqf utilized heavy machinery to dig in one of the most sensitive archaeological compounds in the world and were once again caught red-handed destroying Temple-era antiquities.

Local Arabs did not always deny the reality of Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. A 1925 official guide book to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem stated the Mount was the site of Solomon’s Temple. The book, titled, “Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” states on page four, “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which ‘David built there an altar unto the Lord.’” 

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.

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