Mosques on Temple Mount
Mosques on Temple MountIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Islamic Movement-affiliated Al-Aksa Organization released its fourth annual report on the state of the mosque on Saturday. Like previous reports, the coverage of events in 2009 and 2010 included accusations regarding alleged Israeli attempts to damage the mosque, located on the Temple Mount, Judaism's most holy site, but there were new additions.

The report contained an unusually bizarre allegation this year. The writers accused Jewish organizations of deliberately defiling the Temple Mount, in part by hiring policemen who urinate in the area. It was unclear why the organization believed the Jerusalem Police were involved in a plot to defile the mount or how defiling their own most holy site would benefit Jews.

Other developments that worried the report writers included an increase in the number of rabbis who publicly allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, and court rulings supporting Jews' right to pray in the area.

The Al-Aksa Organization, as before, made allegations that Israeli archaeological digs and construction work near the Temple Mount endanger the mosque. It also reported with concern the presence of new synagogues in the area, which is located in the Old City of Jerusalem where many religious Jews make their home.

There is no Jewish edifice whatsoever on the Temple Mount, occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967 against international agreements and kept out of bounds for Jews. Control pf the Temple Mount was returned to the Arab Wakf by Israel right after Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli control in the 1967 Six Day War in order to show its peaceful intentions towards Muslims. Since then, Jews have limited access to the area, while the Muslim Wakf conducts unsupervised excavations and regular prayer services.

Al-Aksa Organization members accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of allowing Jewish "settlers" to pray on the Temple Mount, outside the Al-Aksa mosque. While the term "settlers" is sometimes used to refer to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the organization appeared to be using the term to refer to all Jewish worshipers on the Temple Mount.

The group expressed concern over Netanyahu's success in getting the Palestinian Authority leadership to sit down for direct talks with no preconditions. That, coupled with Israel's success in fighting "resistance" - an Arab euphemism for terrorism - in Judea and Samaria, could give Israel an advantage, the writers worried.

The report ended with a call to action. It urged Muslims to "resistance" against Israel. It also called on "the Palestinian community in Al-Quds and the lands occupied in 1948" - that is, Jerusalem residents and Israeli Arabs - to join the fight.

The Al-Aksa Organization operates under the auspices of the Northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which in turn is a branch-off of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that spawned Hamas. The Islamic Movement, which refers to all of Israel as occupied territory, is allowed to operate openly in democratic Israel, and several of its leaders have been elected to Knesset.