Footage from a major Islamist rally on the Temple Mount last week reveals how Muslim extremists are still inciting and glorifying terrorism and openly supporting Hamas with impunity at Judaism's holiest site, despite pledges by authorities to crack down on the phenomena.
The rally, which took place after Friday prayers last week at the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, featured masked Islamist extremists waving the green flag of Hamas and holding posters with the faces of terrorist "martyrs" emblazoned on them.
In the video above, taken by Muslim demonstrators, protesters can be heard chanting slogans against Israel and Jews in general. Hamas flags and posters praising terrorism and lionizing slain terrorists - many of whom were killed carrying out attacks on Israeli civilians - can also be seen hung prominently around the site, including on the Al Aqsa Mosque itself.
The blatant Muslim incitement is all the more astounding given the ongoing blanket ban on Jews from praying at the Temple Mount under pain of arrest, a move made to placate Muslim groups in violation of numerous court orders requiring police to ensure freedom of worship for all religions there.
The Temple Movements Joint HQ - an umbrella of activist groups campaigning for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount - condemned the apparent ease with which extremists linked to Hamas are able to operate there.
Echoing claims made by other leading campaigners, the group accused the Israeli government of willfully ceding control of the site for political reasons.
"The state's control over the Temple Mount has continuously loosened, with instruction from the political leadership, since Operation Protective Edge and the terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, including the shooting of Rabbi Yehuda Glick," the group said in a statement, referring to Israel's 50-day counter-terrorism operation over the summer and the attempted assassination of a veteran Temple Mount campaigner just months after.
Violence in Jerusalem, particularly on and around the Temple Mount, flared up during the summer conflict, fanned by incitement from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority leadership, as well as the Islamic Movement - a Hamas-linked branch of the Muslim Brotherhood which astonishingly still operates legally in Israel despite repeated calls to ban it.
Police and outgoing Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich were sharply criticized for not taking a firmer hand against the unrest. In particular, organized Muslim harassment of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount increased dramatically over that period, despite vows by Aharonovich and others to crack down on the Hamas-linked groups responsible.
At the same time, however, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sought to "calm tensions" on the Mount with a flurry of statements, and even a secret meeting, with Jordan's King Abdullah, in which he guaranteed to maintain a ban on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
But the Temple Movement claims the government went further still, actively providing support to the Jordanian-controlled Waqf Islamic trust which administers the Mount, and has played a key role in preventing Jewish prayer and destroying priceless Jewish artifacts at the site.
The group cited comments reportedly made by Israel's Ambassador to Jordan, Daniel Navo, at a recent talk to students at Tel Aviv University.
"It's good that the Muslims rule there," it quoted him as saying, as well as: "the announcement [made in 1967 by IDF chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren after the liberation of Jerusalem - ed.] that 'The Temple Mount is in our hands' was a mistake. The Temple Mount is not in our hands."
During the talk, Navo reportedly revealed that Israel "gave more resources" to the Waqf to help them consolidate their hold on the Temple Mount, and ostensibly to counter the growing influence from Hamas and the Islamic Movement.
"Despite statements by the police that (there will be) one rule for Jews and Muslims alike on the Temple Mount, and that they would not allow any kinds of demonstrations or flag-waving on the Temple Mount, it has become clear specifically on the week of Israel Independence Day, that with instruction from the political leadership the Temple Mount has turned into a hotbed of incitement and terrorism," the statement continued.
"While Jews are still arrested there for praying or bowing (in prayer), the Muslims are free to incite, to demonstrate and to educate terrorism."
The group added that police-enforced limits on Jewish groups visiting the site had tightened recently following a series of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem - a move it branded "a humiliating surrender to terrorism" - and had reached a point whereby only a few individual Jews are being allowed to visit at a time. Those restrictions reached their peak over the Passover festival, when no more than 40 Jews were allowed to ascend the Temple Mount each day - despite the fact that hundreds of pilgrims were flocking to the site daily.
The Temple Movement called to end "the Waqf's reign of terror" by replacing it with a "special Temple Mount authority" to administer the site fairly "as the most important site for the Jewish people," and enable Jews to visit as freely as Muslims current are able to.