American fighter jets shot down two drones flying over Iraq last month. The defense establishment has confirmed the drones were Iranian and headed towards Israel. The foiled attack occurred February 14, after Israeli security officials were on high alert “over fears of an Iranian response to a series of Israeli attacks on Iranian targets as part of the IDF’s war-between-wars campaign.”
The drones were intercepted and thwarted near Erbil, the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The drones were taken down by the international coalition efforts. Israel has announced the Iranian “Shahed 197 drones” being eliminated before, such as last year, when drones were “ferrying weapons to Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.”
The drones were taken down March of 2021”by missiles fired by the stealth jets, making it the first time that the aircraft downed unmanned aerial systems anywhere in the world” reports The Jerusalem Post.
It is believed Iran is testing capabilities for drones to be able to deliver equipment such as military, weapons or pieces to aid in carrying out terrorist attacks to enemies of Israel such as the Gaza Strip and Palestinian territories.
“Israeli officials estimate that Iran was attempting to test whether military equipment could be smuggled to Gaza via drone and if successful, if more significant weapons could be smuggled in a similar way in the future.”
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Temple Mount Outcry Denies Jewish Rights in Jerusalem
Earlier this month, Israeli Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir peacefully visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for 15 minutes in the morning. Only 24 hours later, the United Nations Security Council convened a meeting to discuss the issue. So was Ben-Gvir’s reactions worthy of such an outcry?
The “Jews Storming al-Aqsa” Canard
Arab governments were swift to condemn Ben-Gvir. Representatives from the governments of Egypt and Jordan accused Ben-Gvir of “storming” the Al Aqsa mosque while the UAE and Saudi Arabia condemned Ben-Gvir for “storming” the Al Aqsa “courtyard” or “compound,” respectively. Ben-Gvir was never in the mosque, and observing the footage of his leisurely walk, he clearly wasn’t “storming” anything either.
But Secretary of State Ned Price enabled this false narrative by not correcting a reporter who made a parallel to Ariel Sharon’s 2000 visit to the Temple Mount, stating that “Ariel Sharon stormed Haram Sharif and launched one of the most violent episodes in Palestinian-Israeli history that went on for a very, very long time.” In this reporter’s bizzarro world, Sharon stormed the Temple Mount, and used this to launch violence against the Palestinians. But in reality, Sharon’s visit had been greenlighted by the Palestinian Preventative Security Service chief Jibril Rajoub and Yasser Arafat had planned the Second Intifada months ahead of time.
The “storming” libel echoes Palestinian propaganda that Jews are invading, defiling, and destroying the al Aqsa mosque, canards which have been shown to persuade terrorists to kill Jews. So Arab governments using such rhetoric, and even calling Ben-Gvir’s visit a “provocation” or a “provocative” act as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar did, has potentially deadly consequences.
Arab Desecration of Jewish Heritage Sites
Rather, Arab leadership and terrorists were the ones that often did the invading, defiling and destroying of Jewish heritage sites. These include on the Temple Mount when the Wakf removed “roughly 400 truckloads” of dirt from the Temple Mount in the late 1990s using heavy machinery. Subsequent sifting of said dirt by the Temple Mount Sifting Project yielded several Jewish archeological finds.
Additional desecrations included the Palestinian Authority’s promise of and failure to protect Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, destroyed by a Palestinian mob in 2000, and multiple terror attacks on Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and many others. Back when the Jordanians controlled Jerusalem’s Old City from 1948-1967, Jordanian soldiers and everyday folk destroyed 56 synagogues in the Jewish Quarter and almost completely destroyed the 2,000 year old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
Libels of the Jews provoking violence on the Temple Mount is related to Palestinian propaganda that Jews have no rightful claim to the Temple Mount, and that Solomon’s Temple never existed. Such “Temple Denial” existed in Palestinian nationalism at least as early as 1998, when Ikrima Sabri, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem at the time, denied that Solomon’s Temple was in Jerusalem, and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat repeated a similar claim in 2000. Palestinian propaganda also claims the Western Wall is a Muslim site, and exclusively so.
Such Temple Denial proliferated amongst Palestinian nationalism, despite an old Arabic term for Jerusalem, “Bayt al-Maqdis,” which comes from the Hebrew “Beit Hamikdash,” meaning “the Holy Temple.” (The modern Arabic term for Jerusalem, “al-Quds,” is in turn a derivative of Bayt al-Maqdis.)
Ironically, Muslims have identified the Temple Mount with the site of Solomon’s Temple since Umar ibn al-Khattab, the Arab conqueror of Jerusalem. Versions of a tour guide for the Temple Mount written in 1924, 1925, 1929 and 1932 by the Supreme Moslem Council all recognize that the Temple Mount has a connection with Solomon’s Temple, with all four versions stating that the Temple Mount’s “identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” Following Israel’s re-establishment in 1948, the Wakf removed references to Solomon’s Temple from its guidebooks.
What is the “Status Quo?”
The Biden administration supports the “status quo” of the holy sites in Jerusalem, as recently stated by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of State Spokesman Ned Price and US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Wood. When elaborating on the status quo, Price struggled to offer specifics, stating that “it’s not for me to define…what the historic status quo is.” But Israel and Jordan’s Armistice Agreement (1949), Israel’s Protection of Holy Places Law(1967), Article 9 of Israel’s Peace with Jordan (1994) and the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (1995) all recognize the right of Jews to access holy sites in Jerusalem.
The heart of the matter is that the United Nations, the Arab states, and unfortunately the Biden administration do not recognize Jewish rights in the Temple Mount. Supporting the “status quo” is supporting the continued denial of Jews to those rights. True, enduring peace in the Middle East can only be achieved when all parties recognize and respect Jewish rights to peacefully access the Temple Mount.
You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic
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