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PA daily op-ed: Israeli security measures at Temple Mount are basis for "what they call ‘the Temple,’” first stage in Israeli division and “tak[ing] over” the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Excerpt of an op-ed by Bakr Abu Bakr, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily

Headline: “The intifada from Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas”
     “The Zionist view regarding the [right to] prayer of Israeli Jews at the Al-Aqsa Mosque (i.e., at the Temple Mount), as happened at the Ibrahimi Mosque (i.e., the Cave of the Patriarchs), is the first and main goal. Likewise, [another] clear goal of placing the ‘sovereign’ metal detectors (see note below –Ed.) is to situate what they call ‘the Temple’ within the walls of the Al-Aqsa Mosque as part of the next stage, in which they will strive to divide the third holiest site to Muslims in the world according to areas, and afterwards will completely take it over.”

The mention of metal detectors refers to Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount, including metal detectors at the entrances, following an attack there on July 14, 2017, in which 2 Israeli border police officers were murdered by 3 Israeli Arab terrorists. On July 24, 2017, Israel decided to remove the metal detectors and security cameras it had placed at the site. The PA continued to demand that all measures including inspections at the entrances be removed, and Palestinians continued to riot. On July 27, 2017, PA religious leaders declared that all Israeli measures had been removed.

"Division according to areas and times" refers to a proposed law (May 2013) being reviewed in Israeli Parliament that would allow for both Jews and Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount, what the Palestinians call the Al-Aqsa Mosque plaza. The law seeks to designate separate prayer times and areas of the site for Muslims and Jews. However, Israeli PM Netanyahu has stated on many occasions that the Israeli government has no intention of ‎changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, which means Jews are allowed to enter the Temple Mount, but cannot pray there or engage in any type of worship.