By Baruch Yedid, TPS
The reasons for the unprecedented violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the presence of green Hamas flags on the Temple Mount should be sought among the Islamic Movement in Israel, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood in general, a senior Jordanian figure in eastern Jerusalem said in an interview with TPS.
“This is a fifth column, which is increasingly occupying the Temple Mount, taking advantage of the Jordanian weakness from here and the weakness of the Israeli government from here,” he warned.
Since the beginning of Ramadan, a massive presence of activists from the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel in the mosque plaza can be seen, as well as a lot of activity by the women of the Morabitat, an organization established by the Northern Branch to take hold of the Temple Mount and which was banned by Israel.
An Israeli security source told TPS Sunday that with the release from prison of Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, there is a lot of activity to return the women of the Morabitat to the Temple Mount compound as part of the Salah’s activities to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount.
According to the source, the activists’ have been restricted and their presence inside the mountain compound has been banned, but in recent days they have returned to the area.
The security source said that “although Sheikh Salah gives high priority to funding the Morabitat, security forces in Israel have until recently refrained from acting against them to prevent unrest, but intend to act now, at the end of Ramadan, and bring the women away from the mountain.”
Dozens of busloads of agitators
The women of the Mourabitat who were removed from the mosques continue to hold prayers at the entrance gates to the Temple Mount and help organize the convoys of Muslim worshippers from the Galilee.
“Many dozens of buses came from the Galilee to the Al-Aqsa Mosque at the initiative of the Northern Movement and gave impetus to Hamas’ calls to mobilize for Al-Aqsa,” a Fatah activist from eastern Jerusalem told TPS, adding that “these worshipers themselves became the setting for a play organized by dozens of Hamas supporters on the conquest of the mountain from Israel and the Jordanian Waqf.”
Dozens of videos taken around al-Aqsa since the beginning of Ramadan show hundreds of young people playing football and basketball games, setting up barricades, or collecting piles of rocks to be used against the police, and especially carrying huge posters of Hamas’ military wing and green flags, pointing to widespread effort on the part of Islamic organizations to cling to the holy place.
Sources in eastern Jerusalem say that even the extremist “Tahrir” activists have been very active in recent weeks in the mosque plaza alongside Hamas supporters, many of whom have mobilized to support the organization even though they have no affiliation with the organization.
Meanwhile, security coordination between Israel and Jordan continues around the Temple Mount. However, alongside the security coordination, tensions and expressions of Jordanian concern about the situation can be found in an article by former Foreign Minister and former Jordanian ambassador to Israel Marwan Maasher to the Al-Quds newspaper, titled “The future of Jordan-Israel relations.”
“These days, Jerusalem is witnessing a dangerous Israeli escalation, in the form of daily invasions by the occupation forces into the al-Aqsa compound, with clear defiance not only of the Palestinian side, but also of the Jordanian role in defending the holy places of Islam in Jerusalem,” he wrote.
“Jordan foresaw these steps by Israel and tried to prevent them through a number of meetings between King Abdullah and his senior officials and senior Israeli officials before the start of Ramadan. However, it is clear that Israel has other goals and it is clear that protecting Israeli extremists is only one step on the way to controlling the mosque complex,” he alleged.
Palestinian ‘new generation’
In eastern Jerusalem, it is claimed that most of the activists do not belong to any of the established Palestinian organizations. “Many of the rioters are members of the Palestinian ‘new generation’ and not necessarily religious, but Hamas manages to recruit them easily,” said a Palestinian source.
“Hamas has managed to operate a well-oiled propaganda system and distribute dozens of videos that create the impression that the Al-Aqsa Mosque has been occupied by it and turned the dozens of buses that brought Muslims from the Lower Galilee and the Triangle into a theater setting.”
Samer Sanjalawi, a Fatah activist from the east of the city, told TPS that “the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership have proven their failure during the recent events and have not been able to manage the crisis. Abu Mazen is busy with the survival of the Palestinian Authority and Bennett is busy with domestic politics, and the biggest beneficiary is Hamas.”