Daily Israel Report

Arab Terrorists Sentenced Over Temple Mount Firebombing

Shua'fat residents sentenced to prison time for firebombing Mount, wounding police officer.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/25/2014, 3:59 PM

Rioters hurl rocks near Temple Mount
Rioters hurl rocks near Temple Mount
Reuters

The Jerusalem District Court sentenced two Shu'afat residents Tuesday who are convicted of launching firebombs at police forces on the Temple Mount in March 2013. 

The two were convicted after confessing to conspiracy to commit a crime, manufacturing weapons and aggravated assault. One was sentenced to  a conditional suspended sentence of six and a half years' imprisonment, the other was sentenced to 32 months in prison.

According to the indictment, one of the Molotov cocktails hit the vest of Officer Binyamin Koretzky, setting him alight. At the time, Koretzky was on duty with a SWAT team who had entered the mount to stop rioting. 

"I saw a ball of fire and flames began consuming my equipment and my uniform," the officer recounted. He fell to his knees in an attempt to extinguish himself, then rolled on the ground. Eventually, fellow officers managed to help him extinguish the flames by pouring water on him and patting out the fire. His leg was burned and he left to find help. 

Luckily, Koretzky said, the only mark that remained was a small scar on his leg. His equipment was protected by fire retardant casings. 

The announcement follows more rioting on the Mount Tuesday morning, which saw two officers injured and the Mount closed once again for Jewish visitors. Clashes have increased as a special Knesset hearing, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, is set to convene for the first time to talk about opening up the site for full religious freedom for the first time since the Six-Day war in 1967. 

Palestinian political and religious leaders frequently accuse Israel of "Judaizing" the Temple Mount, sometimes resorting to illogical accusations, such as saying that Israel is using chemicals to erode the foundations of the mosque in order to cause it to collapse.

Some Palestinian Authority (PA) officials have claimed that Israel was trying to build a new Holy Temple on the Temple Mount, replacing the Al-Aqsa Mosque. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas himself has made claims to this effect.

The reality is that it is Jews, not Arabs, who are discriminated against when they want to visit the Temple Mount.

Israeli police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf which was left in charge of the compound after 1967, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship. Police sometimes close the Mount to Jews altogether in response to Muslim riots - for days or weeks at a time - despite evidence that such violence is usually planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out.