Violence Began with Palestinian Attack on French Tourists

[Ha'aretz] Avi Issacharoff - Two weeks of continuous incitement by the Islamic Movement's northern branch, members of the Palestinian Authority, and Palestinian clerics has generated a particularly volatile mixture. On Sep. 25, the former mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, who delivers the Friday sermon at Al-Aqsa, called upon all Muslims to come and defend the place. He was joined by people from the extremist group Hizb al-Tahrir and by Fatah's Jerusalem minister Hatem Abd al-Kader. By Sep. 27, about 200 enraged Palestinians who had come to "defend" the mosque were waiting for "the Jewish fanatics." As a few tourists from France arrived, the "Al-Aqsa Faithful" were not sticklers for detail; they did not take the trouble to ascertain who the visitors were and immediately started throwing stones at them and at the police. Last Friday, the Islamic Movement convened the 14th annual "Al-Aqsa Is in Danger" rally in Umm al-Fahm, attracting thousands. Movement spokesman Zahi Nujeidat explained to Ha'aretz how claims that the Temple Mount is sacred to the Jews simply are not relevant. "It is better for the Jews to save themselves time and look for what they call the 'Temple Mount' somewhere else." Sheikh Kamal Khatib of the Islamic Movement explained Wednesday in an interview with Army Radio that he finds it unacceptable that "an [Israeli] Ethiopian policeman, a Negro, would ask a Muslim for his identity card" at the entrance to the Temple Mount compound.

2009-10-09 06:00:00

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