The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

August 16, 2019 | Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus
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On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

In an attempt to disrupt Jews’ right to access the Mount, the Palestinian Authority (PA) took a number of steps, including changing the times of the Muslim prayers and calling for mosques around Jerusalem to remain closed in order to “recruit” as many people as possible to defend the site against the [Jewish] “invasions.”

While the published schedule for the five daily Muslim prayers set the first prayer time for 4:29 am, the second for 5:56 am, and the third for 12:44 pm, the PA-appointed grand mufti decided to delay the second prayer to 7:30. The [purpose for doing so] was to ensure that as many people [as possible] would be present on the Temple Mount when Jews were scheduled to start arriving. . . .

Broadcasting from the Temple Mount, PA television showed how this tactic had succeeded and that, as the Jews were planning to enter the Mount through the Mughrabi Gate, crowds of Palestinians gathered at the site in order to prevent them from passing through. When the time came [for the Jews to arrive], the mufti called for an impromptu prayer session at the entrance to the gate. . . .

In anticipation of the violence, last week the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates prepared the official narrative in advance, blaming the violence on President Donald Trump’s decisions regarding Jerusalem and the international community’s silence regarding the so-called “Judaization” of the al-Aqsa mosque.

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