Friday, October 31, 2014

The NYTimes Does In the Temple Mount

The New York Times has reported on the events of the past day and a half here in Jerusalem.  If you compare it, for example, to its previous coverage of Women of the Wall, also a religious issue, also controversial, also pitting rights against obsurantist authorities, you will quickly realize that the [paper has taken a side in its reporting.

I am going to begin a fisking of it and my comments are in italics within brackets [].  I doubt whether I can touch on all its poor journalism content, but it's a start.

Its article is accompanied by a side bar, so i'll start off with that:

Sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims [why put Christians first? It was a Jewish site at the start and even Jesus came there as a Jew], the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City has long been a flash point in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. [how long? perhaps since 1929? earlier?]
• Jews call it the Temple Mount and Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary.• Muslims worship at the Al Aksa mosque, third-holiest site in Islam. [and the Marwani Mosque built irregularly beginning in 1996 when tons of earth, containing ancient archaeological artifacts, were dumped outside the compound]. It also includes the gold-domed shrine, the Dome of the Rock.• Jews cannot worship atop the mount [by order of Israel's governmenets in a bend-over-vackward-to-please compromise to maintain a fictitious status quo], only at the Western Wall, a remnant of the retaining wall around the ancient Second Temple.• More than 300,000 foreign tourists visit there annually. [and they cannot pray either]• Christians are drawn to the ruins of the temple Jesus attended. [whose Temple was that?]

and now to the body of the article which, remarkably, while quoting a Waqf official, the family of the terrorist, a spokesman of the Palestinian Authority and for Jordan, an anti-Jewish rights group Ir Amim, the restaurant owner, the police and Israel's government - and a hospital spokesman for a health report - not one Temple Mount advocate for Jewish rights is present in his/her own words.

Israel Blocks Access to Contested Holy Site in Jerusalem

OCT. 30, 2014

JERUSALEM — The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested [properly, it is not contested.  we recognize that it is also a holy site for Muslims.  Muslins do not recognize it as a holy site for Jews.  it's a one-sided contest] holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years [the last time, the waqf closed it unilaterally after Sharon's 2000 visit], a step that a Palestinian spokesman [that was Abbas, not just a 'spokesman'] denounced as amounting to “a declaration of war.”

The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator [he actually is a Rabbi, a clergyman. are all other human rights activists termed 'agitators'?  And, if any other cleric of any other faith would have been denied freedom of prayer at a site he considers holy, would that term be used?  freedom of worship, then, cannot be demanded by Jews?] for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closing prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam.

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the police, said that the site had been closed to prevent further unrest, and that a security assessment would be made Thursday evening to decide whether it could be reopened.

Israel has increasingly restricted access to the site on certain days, barring young Muslim men or non-Muslim visitors, citing concerns over clashes [and those concerns stem from rabid and irrational incitement, violent behavior by Muslims and attempts to alter the status quo by Muslims as well as the fundamental Temple Denial attitude]. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, said that the action on Thursday was the first complete closing of the site since 2000 [by the Waqf as noted above], when a visit by Ariel Sharon — who was then the leader of the opposition in Parliament — helped set off the second Palestinian intifada.

Samir Abu al-Leil of the Islamic Waqf, the trust that has managed Al Aksa and other Muslim holy sites for centuries, said the area had not been fully closed since 1967.

In a statement, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, quoted Mr. Abbas as describing the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem as “a red line” [he said more: Jews attempting to enter are a 'herd of cattle' and see below] where there could be no compromise. Israel’s decision was a “grave act” that would “add to the tensions and instability and create a dangerous atmosphere,” he said.

The site has been the scene of increasingly fierce clashes between Muslim worshipers and protesters [there are no clashes as all the violence is one-sided, from and by Muslims] and the Israeli police [who simply attempt to restore calm and public order] in recent weeks. Mr. Abbas has accused Israel of trying to change the status quo at the site [but it has not and Netanyahu is on record these past two weeks in particular as saying he will maintain the status quo] to allow open Jewish prayer there, something Israeli and Palestinian analysts alike have warned could set off a major conflagration.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has insisted that he will not alter the status quo at the site [ah, one paragraph late], which Israel seized along with the rest of the Old City in 1967 but immediately handed back to the Islamic authorities. Israel maintains responsibility for security.

On Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu condemned the shooting of the Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, as “an act of terrorism,” and accused Mr. Abbas of inciting violence. He pointed to a recent speech in which the Palestinian Authority president called on his people to defend the mosque compound from Jewish encroachment “by all means.”

“I have ordered significant reinforcements, so that we can maintain both security in Jerusalem and the status quo in the holy places,” Mr. Netanyahu said after an emergency consultation with senior security officials. “This struggle might be long, and here, like in other struggles, we must first of all lower the flames. No side should take the law into its own hands. We must be levelheaded and act with determination and responsibility, and so we shall.”

Mr. Glick is a prominent Israeli-American activist who has frequently been arrested at the Temple Mount. Israeli counterterrorism forces said they killed the Palestinian man suspected of shooting Mr. Glick while they were attempting to arrest the man on Thursday.

Mr. Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, said the forces had surrounded a house in the Abu Tor neighborhood when shots were fired at the officers, who responded immediately.

The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, identified the man who was killed as Mu’atez Hijazi, and said he was released in 2012 after spending 11 years in an Israeli prison. He was said to be in his early 30s.

Mr. Hijazi worked in the kitchen of the restaurant that operates in the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, where Mr. Glick was attending a convention on Jewish prayer rights at Temple Mount before he was shot. Staff members at the restaurant refused to comment. The owner told Israel Radio that he had followed all the required security procedures before hiring Mr. Hijazi about a year ago.

Hours after Mr. Hijazi was killed, residents and the police were clashing in Abu Tor, as the latest events brought months of tension in Jerusalem to a new peak.

Taghreed Hijazi, Mr. Hijazi’s aunt, said she heard a commotion outside her home early Thursday morning. When she looked out her kitchen window, she said, a police officer aimed a gun at her. “He ordered me to shut the window and get inside,” she said.

Ms. Hijazi said she saw a group of police officers dragging Mr. Hijazi’s brother Odai into the courtyard. Some officers went up to the rooftop, where Mr. Hijazi was later found dead, and others raided his room, she said. Solar panels on the roof were punctured with more than two dozen bullet holes.

Mr. Hijazi’s sister Shayma, 25, accused the police of killing him “in cold blood.” [and a police reaction to this claim?]

A spokeswoman for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, the Jerusalem hospital where Mr. Glick was taken, said on Thursday that he had suffered four gunshot wounds to the chest, neck, stomach and arm and that his condition was stable but still very serious. Witnesses to the shooting said a lone assailant had fled the scene on a motorcycle.

Under an arrangement in place for decades, Jews are not allowed to worship atop the mount, only in the Western Wall plaza below [and the prohibition even to enter the Cave of the Patriarchs, a parallel status quo, was altered in 1967 and is in place until today with far less clashes]. Ultranationalist Jewish activists and groups, often led by Mr. Glick, have made a point of visiting the mount more frequently in recent years and have been campaigning for Jewish prayer rights on the mount, where ancient Jewish temples once stood.

More than 8,500 Jews visited the mount last year, compared with fewer than 6,000 in 2010, according to the Israeli police. Mr. Rosenfeld did not respond to requests for information on Jewish visits this year, but Ir Amim, a left-wing group [wow, 'left-wing] that tracks activity at the site, said the police had reported an increase of 20 percent.

At a Parliament committee meeting this week, the interior ministry reported that Israel had restricted Muslim access, usually barring men under 50, on 40 occasions this year, up from eight days in 2013, according to Aviv Tatarsky of Ir Amim, who was present at the meeting. Jews, whose access is always restricted to certain hours, have also been barred on various days, including during part of the recent holiday of Sukkot.

Mr. Abu al-Leil of the Islamic Waqf said the police stopped him on Thursday from entering the Aksa compound for the noon prayer, as he normally does, so he instead worshiped with others near an Old City gate.

“To prevent worshipers from praying is irrational policy, because it triggers violence and hatred,” he said in an interview. “It is very hard to accept this situation. The violence will erupt soon.” [why should it trigger violence? why not a non-violent campaign?  must Muslims always resort to violence?  are they use this threat and practice to gain unfairly the oppression of Jewish rights?  what about Article 9 of the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty that promotes freedom of worship and coexistence?]

Beyond the fears of mounting violence between Israelis and Palestinians, the closure of Al Aqsa has regional repercussions, particularly for Israel’s relationship with Jordan, which both sides see as vital in warding off Islamic extremism. Officially, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is ultimately responsible for Jerusalem’s Islamic holy sites. Jordan’s minister of Islamic Affairs, Hayel Daoud, said on Thursday that the closure was “a serious escalation and ‘state terrorism’ by the Israeli authorities.”

The statement followed a string of unusually harsh public criticism of Israeli actions in Jerusalem by Jordan’s king and other leaders. Equating “Zionist extremism” with “Islamic extremism,” King Abdullah told members of the Jordanian government on Oct. 20 that “if Jordan and other countries are fighting extremism within Islam, and the Israelis are slaughtering our children in Gaza and Jerusalem every five minutes, then we have a problem.”

Jordan’s ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, said at an event in Tel Aviv on Sunday marking the 20th anniversary of Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel that the continued expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem or changes in the status quo at the mount “will ultimately imperil the treaty.” [see above on Article 9]

Jawad Anani, a former Jordanian foreign minister and deputy prime minister, said in an interview on Thursday that “Jordanians feel the latest actions taken by Israel are directed against Jordan this time, not only against Palestinians.”

“Jordan is finding it hard to explain to its people that it is in its interest to maintain the peace treaty and defend it,” Mr. Anani said. “His Majesty is reflecting the anger domestically. If anything happens to Al Aqsa under his guardianship, there will be huge consequences inside and outside of Jordan, so there’s a lot of pressure.”

Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan, said the king was worried that the eruption of a third Palestinian intifada would send a new wave of Palestinians emigrating to Jordan, where millions of Palestinian refugees already live and where hundreds of thousands of people have fled from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

“The Jerusalem issue is a big issue from the Jordanian point of view, but it’s not going to threaten” the peace treaty, Mr. Eran said. Noting that Israel and Jordan cooperate on security, share intelligence, and are negotiating important deals on water and gas, he said of the Jordanian side: “They will lose a lot if something happens to the agreement. There are real daily existential needs, and Jordan cannot turn a blind eye to those.”

As darkness fell in the Old City, about 50 Muslims spread small carpets near the Lion’s Gate to say the evening prayer, surrounded by about two dozen Israeli police officers in helmets. A young imam with a long black beard read two verses from the Quran — one that called for fighting [oh, really?], and one about the acceptance of other religions [and what is that verse?].

“God protect our Aqsa,” the imam said. “Amen,” the worshipers responded.

Other issues appearing in other media outlets are covered by Ari Soffer.

UPDATE:  This Jordanian angle, I see, is now covered here.  While it is noted that the Hashemites are foreign to Jordan, again, no Jewish Temple Mount advocate is quoted on the mater.  And it includes this graphic:

Another version of the article defined so: 'A version of this article appears in print on October 30, 2014, on page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Activist in Israel Is Wounded in Shooting', is now up and you can see some 'on second thought' evidence:

JERUSALEM — An Israeli-American agitator who has pushed for more Jewish access and rights at a hotly contested religious site in Jerusalem was shot and seriously wounded Wednesday night by an unidentified assailant in an apparent assassination attempt.

The shooting of the activist, Yehuda Glick, compounded fears of further violence in the increasingly polarized holy city, where tensions are already high over fears of a new Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

Reports that Mr. Glick had been shot came as the United Nations Security Council convened in an emergency session, at the request of Palestinian and Jordanian diplomats, to address the religious strife and growing anger over Israeli housing expansions in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians regard as the capital of a future state.

Israel, which regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, has faced intense criticism over the housing expansions, including from its most important ally, the United States, which has described them as illegitimate obstructions to an any hope for a peaceful solution to the longstanding Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for the police, said Mr. Glick had been wounded by an assailant who escaped on a motorcycle. He said the police were examining the possibility that the assailant was a Palestinian assassin.

Mr. Glick, widely viewed as a provocative figure who has exacerbated tensions between Muslims and Jews, is an American-born leader of groups pushing for more Jewish access to the Temple Mount, the sacred plateau revered by Jews as the site of ancient Jewish temples and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, the location of Al Aksa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The compound is in the Old City of Jerusalem in territory that Israel seized from Jordan in the 1967 war and then annexed in a move that was never internationally recognized.

Tensions over the site, which is administered by the Muslim authorities, have sharply risen in recent months, with Muslim worshipers and protesters clashing with the police and accusing them of restricting access. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel ordered an increase in the Jerusalem police force to quell the violence.

Palestinian leaders have decried the increasing Jewish presence on the mount, as Jewish activists have made a point of visiting more frequently.

Under the status quo, Jews are allowed to visit the compound but not to pray there. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has called on Palestinians to defend Jerusalem and the Muslim holy sites there “by all means.” Mr. Netanyahu, who has vowed to maintain the status quo, has accused Mr. Abbas of escalating tensions with such statements, an assertion Mr. Abbas has called “baseless.”

“The solution is to remove the causes for this tension, primarily the presence of the settlements in Jerusalem which serve as provocation to the local residents, and second, to stop the prevention of prayers,” Mr. Abbas said Wednesday in an interview broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10.

The shooting of Mr. Glick took place outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in a predominantly Jewish area of central Jerusalem. Mr. Glick and his supporters had been attending a Temple Mount convention there.

Tall, redheaded and bearded, Mr. Glick is an easily recognizable figure. Footage from Wednesday night’s convention broadcast on Israeli television showed Mr. Glick addressing the audience and warning that those who “stand up” for more Jewish rights on Temple Mount are likely to be denounced by opponents as “right-wing extremists,” “dangerous” and “delusional.”

Peeking at his cellphone while on the podium Mr. Glick joked that he kept it on just in case permission came through to rebuild the Jewish temple at the ancient site, in which case, he said, he would have to leave. Mr. Glick has described himself in interviews as a licensed tour guide who makes a living by taking groups on tours of Temple Mount. The police have banned him several times from the site, a measure that Mr. Glick has challenged in the Israeli courts.

At the Jerusalem hospital where Mr. Glick underwent surgery, his father, Shimon Glick, told reporters his son had received numerous death threats but that the police had given him no protection.

At the Security Council, Jeffrey Feltman, the under secretary-general for political affairs, said rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions, coming even as the recovery effort from the 50-day Gaza war this summer had barely started, were ominous. Instead of moving toward the goal of a two-state solution to the conflict, he said, Israelis and Palestinians were “moving the situation ever closer to a one-state reality.”

There was no hint of conciliatory talk by either the Palestinian or Israeli speakers, however, with both appearing to harden their long-held differences.

The Palestinian ambassador, Riyad Mansour, said Israel, as the occupying power, was “further inflaming this volatile situation, and threatening to ignite yet another cycle of violence.”

The Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor, asserting what he called Israel’s unassailable claim to all of Jerusalem dating to biblical times, accused the Palestinians of incitement, “outright lies and half-truths about Israel.”

And another story:

Contested Holy Site in Jerusalem Reopens for Muslim Worship


JERUSALEM — This city’s most contested sacred site reopened for Muslim worship Friday morning after an extremely rare daylong closing...Palestinian leaders called for a “day of rage” because of the closing on Thursday and the killing by Israeli forces of a Palestinian man suspected in the assassination attempt on Wednesday night against Yehuda Glick. Mr. Glick is a right-wing activist who promoted increased Jewish access and prayer at the site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.

“May Allah deny his mercy to those who prevent us from entering Al Aksa,” the imam said.

The site, where ancient Jewish temples once stood, is the holiest in Judaism, the third holiest in Islam, and is also sacred to Christians as Jesus worshiped there. [that sounds as if someone read my fisking but who knows?] ...A small band of religious Jews, including Mr. Glick, a 48-year-old Israeli-American who was seriously wounded by four gunshots on Wednesday night, have agitated in recent years [increasingly in recent years but since 1967. i started in 1970] against Israel’s prohibition of non-Muslim prayer at the site, with some calling for a third temple to be erected there...A spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, called the closure on Thursday “a declaration of war.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has tried to calm the situation...Israel Radio reported that one of Israel’s chief rabbis met on Thursday with a leading Islamic cleric and that the two had called for freedom of prayer and an end to the “cycle of blood.”


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