Sheikh Kamal Khatib, deputy chairman of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, on Thursday called for a mass ascent of Muslims to the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount on Sunday, when Jews will mark the 9th of Av, the day in history when both holy temples were destroyed.
Khatib, who back in 2014 promised that Jerusalem will not be only the capital of the Palestinian state, but also the capital of the coming righteous Islamic caliphate, once the entire Earth becomes subordinate to the caliphate, did not actually call for violence come Sunday — a day with no significance on the Muslim calendar. “We are close to the Al Aqsa mosque, so we call on everyone to come to the mosque. To come for prayers, of course, not to harm anyone. It’s our right to be there,” said Khatib, who only three days earlier was detained for interrogation on suspicion of incitement.
“Next Sunday is a day when the Jews mark the memory of the destruction of the Temple. It’s a sad day for the Israeli nation which mourns the destruction of the second Temple,” NRG quoted Khatib’s statement. “We have no connection to that crime, not to the destruction of the first nor the second Temple. So why must we pay for the destruction of the two Temples which were ruined by the Babylonians and the Romans?” Khtaib asked, his argument sounding much like the Arab age-old, essentially revisionist question, why must we pay for the crimes of the Nazis (the answer is that Arab pogroms against Jews in Eretz Israel began in 1878, a good half century before the first Nazi ever raised a beer mug in a Munich pub).
Egged on by his own revisionism, Khatib commented, “Unfortunately, the Jews have turned this day into a day of violence against our holy sites. They declared Sunday as the day on which they would desecrate Al Aqsa mosque. Jewish groups and individuals, rabbis and settler MKs — they’ve all called for going to Al Aqsa mosque.”
Of course, no Jew has even mentioned Al Aqsa mosque, because Jews, especially religious Jews, prefer to attend their services in a synagogue, thank you very much. The confusion is the result of the recent naming of the entire compound, formerly known in Arabic as Haram al Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary, or, really, Holy Temple), as “Al Aqsa Mosque.” Arabs are entitled to their PC speech like everyone else…
There have been calls by the Temple Mount organizations to increase the number of Jews ascending the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av, and there has been talk of spreading straw mats in the peripheral area where Jews are permitted to set foot, for mourners to sit and absolutely not whisper lamentations, which would be against the rules of the true owners of the area, the Jordanian Waqf.
The Arab website Kamakar Press offered its own, distinctly less mild version of the Khatib incitement. In a report titled, Extremist Israelis tear their clothes inside the Al Aqsa Mosque, the website repeated the notion that the entire compound is now considered one big Al Aqsa mosque, which is why when those “Extremist Israelis” performed the symbolic tearing of their shirts (one, small cut near the collar, usually) on the very outskirts of the compound, this was reported as taking place inside the mosque. The more incitement the merrier. The website also reported that “Over recent days, Muslim worshipers and activists called for intensifying vigil at the Al Aqsa place of worship so as to defend the site against projected Israeli mass-break-ins to mark the so-called Destruction of the Temple Mount anniversary.”
In light of the Sheikh’s incitement, it’s likely that Jerusalem Police will do what it usually does in these cases, and bar Jewish mourners from the Temple Mount altogether Sunday, possibly along with Muslims. Which shows you how much can be accomplished with one speech and a couple of newspaper articles…