Etzion: Temple Mount Situation is Worst It´s Ever Been

"The policy is simply to give in to the Waqf across the board, and I call on the public to arise against this." So says Yehuda Etzion, long-time Temple Mount activist, referring to yesterday's decision to close the holy site to Jews.


"The policy is simply to give in to the Waqf and the PA across the board, and I call on the public to arise against this." So says Yehuda Etzion, long-time activist on behalf of the Temple Mount, referring to yesterday's police decision to close the holy site to Jews once again.

Jews had not been allowed to ascend to the Mount since the outbreak of the Oslo War in September 2000, until about a month ago. Yesterday, the police again announced the closing of the site, for unexplained "operational reasons." Etzion told Arutz-7 this morning that the "operational reasons" are that Arafat simply threatened once again to order violent riots if Jews are allowed to ascend to the site.

Etzion, head of the Chai VeKayam (Eternally Alive) movement working to secure Jewish rights on the Temple Mount, said,
"The sad reality is that we're still outside [the Mount], while the Moslem enemy who has arisen against us is still inside. The worst thing is that there is coordination between the Waqf [Islamic trust that runs the Mount] and the Israeli government. Even during this past month, when Jews were allowed up, it can be assumed that it was only because it was made worthwhile for the Waqf. I don't have precise documentation, but I can say that the tourists who are [now allowed up] bring them good money, and I know that they have received tacit permission to start renovating a whole wing on the Mount... We are acting like a dishrag, allowing Arafat to determine when we can enter and when we can't. There are simply no words to describe this. It began with Moshe Dayan, who returned the Mount to the control of the Arabs hours after we conquered it, even though they were sure that they had lost it... Here and there you can find some common sense in the police or the Shabak, but the moment Arafat just looks at them cross-eyed, they get weak-kneed and whine, 'What can we do? We tried.' But the fact is that they just don't want!"

Etzion explained that the police "made an agreement for the past month with low-level officials of the Waqf, and when Arafat heard about it, he called in the Waqf people and said, 'How dare you agree to this without me?' and threatened all sorts of things. So the Waqf came back to the police and said, 'Sorry, we can't do this anymore...' What happened last week? A small group came up, and the Waqf made a small provocation - claiming that one of the Jews was actually praying, Heaven forbid! This of course caused a big fracas, lots of Arabs surrounded them, and the police of course looked for the first open gate, and escorted them out. Right away, the PA press reported that they had thrown the Jews off the Temple Mount, while the police claim that they are stopping the visits for 'operational reasons.' You see how we've deteriorated? It's better to believe the Arabs, and not the police. It's not 'operational reasons' at all, but rather policy reasons - and the policy is to cave in throughout to the Waqf and the PA."

Etzion explained that the Waqf collects an entrance fee only for the entry to the mosques, but not to the Temple Mount itself. "This was the result of a court petition by Yisrael Ben-Dov just several days after we liberated the Mount in 1967," Etzion said.

Ministers and Knesset Members of the National Union and National Religious Party condemned the decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews. Labor MK Eitan Cabel said that the decision was a correct one.

A record number of participants took part in the monthly Walk Around the Temple Mount Gates last night. Police estimate that over 5,000 people marched through the Old City of Jerusalem, reciting Psalms at each of the several gates leading to the holy site. Etzion said that this is our way of pressuring "both the Heavens and the authorities." He said that in truth it's our own fault:
"We are a few days before Tisha B'Av, the day of mourning for our Holy Temple, and we are in the worst situation we've ever been in. Until now it was closed, true, but now it's closed because of a direct threat by Arafat, something that has never happened. We must not accept this. We must not 'weep in vain' [rather, we must do something]. The Waqf is leading, and our government is being dragged along. We must rise up against both of them, whether by walking around the Gates or in any other way."