By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
A Palestinian flag has been hanging on the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, for at least 10 days, spurring questions about Israel’s sovereignty over the compound.
In 2000, a Palestinian flag was hoisted on the Temple Mount for a total of three days — the longest ever, until now — and was taken down by the Israeli authorities, just before the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
So, why hasn’t the Israeli government taken steps to remove the flag, considering that the Temple Mount is the holiest Jewish site and is under Israeli jurisdiction and located in Israel’s capital city?
Tom Nisani, CEO of the Temple Mount advocacy organization, said the lack of response stems from a policy of appeasement to terror, originating in the upper echelons of the Israeli government.
“Never before has the PLO flag waved over the Dome of the Rock for 10 days without a police response, [and this is] apparently due to orders from high up in the political establishment,” Nisani told World Israel News.
“When entering the Old City, the first eye-catching sight is the PLO flag hoisted above the Temple Mount. These are disturbing [optics] and signal that Israel has given up Jerusalem, and [the flag’s placement] could become permanent.”
Nisani added that the flag serves as a highly-visible “symbol of victory” for terrorists over Israel, as incitement against Jews and Israelis continues “at a frenzied pace.”
Maor Tzemach, CEO of the Zionist NGO Your Jerusalem, linked the flag’s presence to an overall policy of Israeli appeasement to Islamist terror on the Temple Mount.
Unfortunately, the Israeli government is not taking appropriate steps towards mitigating presence of terror supporters and widespread incitement in the compound, he told WIN.
Israel authorities seem to believe that a strong or forceful response will stoke the flames, but in reality, the lack of response is emboldening terrorists.
But the lack of response from Israel appears to embolden the terrorists, Tzemach observed.
“Even on Holocaust Remembrance Day, we heard chants like ‘Khybar, Khybar ya yahud’ [a reference to a mass slaughter of Jews in ancient Saudia Arabia], and calls for [Gaza-based Hamas terrorist] Mohammed Deif to fire rockets at Tel Aviv,” he said.
Allowing the display of the Palestinian flag, along with the flags of Hamas and other terror groups, and widespread calls to murder Jews to occur without an Israeli response “hurts our sovereignty, calls into question Israel’s authority on the Temple Mount, and that’s unacceptable.”
Speaking to Israel National News on Sunday, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said that while he was concerned about the presence of the flag on the Temple Mount, removing it wasn’t his primary focus.
“We fight terror, not flags,” he said. “There are much more serious occurrences of lack of governance and [loss of ] sovereignty in the Negev, the Galilee, and [on] the Temple Mount that must be addressed.”