Writing in The Guardian, academic Mick Dumper states that the Jewish historical presence on the Temple Mount is merely an “increasingly strident claim.” He also believes that: “Flushed with his electoral victory, and politically tooled-up with US support for his annexationist dreams, Netanyahu has the Islamic sites of Jerusalem in his line of fire. He exhibits all the hallmarks of a politician about to go rogue.”
According to Dumper:
A particular flashpoint is the al-Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest shrines in the Islamic world… known as the Haram al-Sharif.
Note that nowhere does Dumper also refer to the site as the Temple Mount. The reason why becomes apparent when he addresses increasing demands from some Jews for greater access and rights on the site:
They are driven by the increasingly strident claim that the al-Aqsa mosque and other Islamic sites in the Haram al-Sharif were built upon the ruins of Solomon’s Temple.
Clearly Dumper is not a professor of history or archaeology. It’s undeniable that there were two Jewish temples on the site. This is not an “increasingly strident claim” as Dumper says, but is an established and provable fact.
No wonder Dumper cannot bring himself to acknowledge that the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site. In the best traditions of Palestinian extremists, he denies that there was ever a Jewish temple there at all.
Read more about Jewish ties to the Temple Mount here.
Ergo, by Dumper’s rationale, any Jewish demands for access to the Temple Mount are rendered illegitimate. This is qualitatively different to the ongoing, legitimate debate over whether Jews should pray on the Temple Mount, given various religious and security considerations.
There are already heavy restrictions in place for non-Muslims to visit the Temple Mount at limited times. This includes Israeli Jews and foreign tourists. Yet, according to Dumper:
Ignoring Judaic religious injunctions, Israeli legislation and Jordanian-Israeli agreements not to conduct Jewish prayers on the site, larger and larger numbers of Israeli settlers and religious Jews have been entering the site to pray more and more frequently. Parties of up to 50 Jewish worshippers, accompanied by paramilitary police, have led to altercations with Waqf guards, demonstrations by Palestinian Muslim worshippers, age restrictions on Muslims allowed access to the site, and a breakdown in security cooperation between Waqf officials and the Israeli police.
Nobody checks where a Jew lives when he or she visits the Temple Mount compound. Dumper’s claim that large numbers of “Israeli settlers” are entering the site is his way of portraying Jewish visitors as extremists by playing into the stereotype propagated by media such as The Guardian that all Jews who live in the disputed territories are radicals.
The claim that they “have been entering the site to pray more and more frequently” is not based on evidence. The Israeli police themselves will arrest any Jew who so much as mumbles a prayer on the Temple Mount, something that Jewish visitors are well aware of.
Yet Dumper presumptuously refers to them all as “worshippers” and infers that they are the instigators of altercations and demonstrations. Having been up on the Temple Mount and witnessed for myself the aggression and intimidation meted out against any identifiable religious Jew for simply visiting the site, it is clear why a group of Jews would need the protection of the police. It is the intolerance and extremism of Palestinian Muslims at the site that is primarily responsible for creating inflammatory situations that Dumper blames solely on Jews.
Here is but one example caught on video of harassment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount. The incident, from 2014, is reported here.
So does Benjamin Netanyahu have the “holy Islamic sites in his sights?” While the reelected prime minister alluded during the election campaign to potentially annexing Jewish settlements in the disputed territories, he did not mention any proposals to alter the existing status quo on the Temple Mount. Nor did he make any statements that would lead anyone to believe that the freedom of worship that has existed for Christians and Muslims at their holy sites under Israeli control since the state’s foundation, is under any threat.
Is Netanyahu displaying “all the hallmarks of a politician about to go rogue?” Only in the minds of Mick Dumper and The Guardian.
Source material can be found at this site.