Why is it, then, that violence has broken out around the High Holy Days for the past two years? And why was there no violence during the High Holy Days in 2013, despite the fact that the struggle between Temple Mount activists and their Muslim counterparts was as tense as ever?Imagine if governmental authorities tried to forbid some WCG members from attending services in Ambassador College. WCG members would be deeply offended. Let us remember what happened during the receivership crisis.
More restrictions, more violence
Something significant changed between 2013 and 2014. Starting in June 2014, Israeli police began placing unprecedented restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshippers to Haram al-Sharif. Those restrictions, which were implemented between the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Sukkot, were imposed based on age and gender, thus negatively impacting an entire population that had never been involved in any rioting, clashes, or crime. The collective restrictions reappeared during the High Holidays in 2015. (Aviv Tatarsky, CCTV cameras at Al-Aqsa will not lower tensions in Jerusalem, +972 Magazine, March 19, 2016.)
These restrictions forbidding Palestinians from entering Al Aqsa Mosque thus restricting their freedom of religion has had a disastrous effect upon the political situation in the Holy Land.
As far as the police are concerned, the collective restrictions were borne of security concerns. But the results, in reality, had an unequivocal and opposite consequence: reinstitution restrictions on access to Al-Aqsa on the eve of Rosh Hashana, on September 13, immediately led to the outbreak of violence, which spread rapidly from the closed-off Temple Mount through the alleyways of the Old City and throughout the streets of East Jerusalem. That same night the first Israeli was killed in the current wave of violence when Palestinian youths in Sur Baher threw stones at his car. The violence worsened as the mass restrictions on entry to Al-Aqsa remained in place, leading up to the first deadly stabbing on Ha-Gai Street, or Al-Wad Street in Arabic. After that things began to spiral out of control. ...With such sobering facts in mind will Israeli authorities stop enacting this disastrous policy?
The repeated imposition of restrictions on access for Muslim worshippers to Al-Aqsa is something that has only taken place over the past two years. (Aviv Tatarsky, CCTV cameras at Al-Aqsa will not lower tensions in Jerusalem, +972 Magazine, March 19, 2016.)
The Israeli authorities on Tuesday imposed restrictions on Palestinians wishing to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem over the Jewish holiday of Purim.How discouraging. It would appear the Israeli authorities have learned nothing from what happened in the last two years.
Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the general director of the Jerusalem endowment, told Ma'an that Israel had banned all Palestinian men under the age of 50 from entering the compound. (Israel restricts Palestinian access to Al-Aqsa Mosque for Purim, Ma'an News Agency, March 22, 2016.)