We have repeatedly cautioned that the trends of radicalization in and around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif are intensifying, creating a serious erosion in the substantive (if not technical) status quo. Notably while formally Jewish prayer is still proscribed by the government, even that is being slowly eroded, (including with pushing-the-envelope games like this). Likewise, the frequency of visits by the Temple Mount, the numbers of visitors and the provocative nature of the visits, are creating a growing sense of threat and violation of sanctity among the Muslim worshipers .
These trends are seasonal and cyclical, overlaid over an overall trajectory of radicalization that is constant. Hence, tensions tend to rise around Jewish and Muslim holy days. The events of the past few days indicate that this year’s Jewish fall holidays – Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot – are no exception. For example:
New York Post, Sept. 9: Prophecy fulfilled after red cow is born at Temple of Israel [background on the red heifer initiative is here; video announcing the birth is here – pull quote: “the red heifer brings the promise of reinstating Biblical purity to the world and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple (on the site that is presently the location of the Dome of the Rock & the Al Aqsa Mosque)]
Middle East Monitor 9/9: Dozens of Jewish settlers storm Al-Aqsa compound
IsraelLink 9/9: Minister Uri Ariel ascends the Temple Mount and gives a short speech before Rosh Hashana. Palestinians are outraged. (video here)
Prophecy in the News, Sept. 7: Jewish Holidays, But No Jews Allowed on Temple Mount
Jerusalem Post, Sept. 5: MK Yehuda Glick ascends Temple Mount
New modalities of engagement from the international community geared to prevent the further erosion of stability on the Temple Mount seem to be in order, which is not a simple, easily implemented endeavor. It will take time. In the meantime, the holiday season is upon us, and it would be wise to be vigilant regarding the eruption of potential crises on the Mount.