Hamas’ goal is a Temple Mount cleansed of Jews
Hamas is now trying to write a new equation: quiet in the south in exchange for a Temple Mount cleansed of Jews. Israel must respond with a resounding and public “no.”
Hamas’ demand that Israel start prohibiting Jews from visiting the Temple Mount “in exchange” for quiet in the Gaza sector, can only come from a terrorist organization that feels immune to repercussions for its untamed behavior – whether this includes firing rockets at southern Israel or carrying out a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, Lod or Judea and Samaria. Hamas is presenting an opposite reality: Instead of Israel deterring the terrorist group – Hamas is looking to deter Israel. It has succeeded in doing so in the past.
Follow Israel Hayom on Facebook and Twitter
The organization that has leveraged the modern-day libel of “al-Aqsa is in danger” and turned it into an assembly line for producing terrorist attacks to “save,” “liberate” or “redeem” al-Aqsa from the Jews and Israel who “defile its Muslimhood,” is now taking it one step further.
Hamas is no longer content with libeling the State of Israel, which it accuses of wanting to destroy the Temple Mount mosques; it is no longer satisfied with knife and car-ramming attacks across Israel “on behalf of al-Aqsa” and its “liberation.” Neither is it placated anymore by lone-wolf stabbers who boasted in their interrogations of trying to commit knife attacks at the Temple Mount entrance to disrupt and prevent Jews from visiting the site.
Now, Hamas is allowing itself to go one step further and put things on the table: No more Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. Essentially, it wants to return to the time when Jews were banned from visiting their own most holy sites.
We need to hope that no one in any of the Zionist political parties, defense establishment, or Israel Police is even remotely entertaining this impertinent demand. The ability to visit the Temple Mount is all the Jews have left after former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan decided in 1967 to prohibit Jewish prayer at the site.
Israeli governments throughout the years have since adhered to this “status quo,” even though the Muslims have violated the “sacred status quo” on the Temple Mount on numerous occasions since Dayan’s decree. They built two additional mosques at the site. They also turned the Gate of Mercy area into a place of worship, destroyed and desecrated Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount, and greatly expanded Jordan’s influence at the site, to the point that it became an equal partner with Israel in the site’s management. They have also established a foothold in the “Mount’s environs” and occasional influence or veto changes at the Temple Mount’s walls (eastern, southern and the western).
In recent years, Jews have been murdered and wounded by terrorists with ties to Hamas, which desired these attacks to “block” or “disrupt” Jews from visiting the Temple Mount or to “harm them.” Such was the case with Masabah Abu Sabih, who on October 9, 2016, opened fire on commuters at the Ammunition Hill light rail station, murdering Levana Malihi, 60, and police officer Yossi Kirma. Such was also the case with Mohammed Nasser Tra’ayra, 19, who in 2016 murdered 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel as she slept in her bed in Kiryat Arba. As was the case of the Palestinian terrorist who stabbed and wounded an Israeli in November 2015 outside a supermarket at the Sha’ar Binyamin Industrial Zone, who wrote that he “devoted himself to protecting the al-Aqsa mosque.” And this was the case with Baha Elian and Balal Abu Gaanam, the two terrorists who shot and murdered three Jews on a bus in Jerusalem in October 2015. They and many more like them linked their atrocities to the al-Aqsa mosque.
Each of these hundreds of attacks in recent years “for the sake of al-Aqsa” and to “block the Jews” from going there have not helped Hamas, which is now trying to write a new equation: quiet in the south in exchange for a Temple Mount cleansed of Jews. We must understand and internalize this. Israel must respond with a resounding and public “no,” if nothing else than to rehabilitate its deterrence with Hamas.