JERUSALEM – Thousands of Muslims protested throughout the Middle East against a plan to bring 10,000 Jews to the Temple Mount, while a senior security source told WND a Palestinian terror group is looking to use the Jewish visit to spark violence.
Several thousand demonstrated Friday in Cairo against a plan by Revava, a Jewish organization with the stated mission of ”restoring self-esteem to the state of Israel by restoring national pride and values,” to bring 10,000 Jews to the heavily restricted Temple Mount April 10 to spark Israeli dialogue about reclaiming the holy site from its Islamic custodians.
Stickers acquired by WorldNetDaily from Al Aqsa Mosque calling for Muslims to stop Jewish Mount visit.
Protesters reportedly chanted anti-Israeli slogans, denounced U.S. policy in the Middle East and renewed a call for boycotting U.S. and Israeli products.
Also Friday, an estimated 10,000 members and supporters of Hamas rallied in Gaza against the scheduled Jewish visit to the Mount. About 2,000 masked but unarmed, uniformed men were seen in footage of the protest.
One threatened over a loudspeaker, “Qassam rockets are going to be ready and aimed toward [the Israeli town of] Sderot on April 10 … if the Zionists attack Al Aqsa Mosque.”
The Jerusalem police have told WND they would not allow thousands of Jews on the Temple Mount at once.
Shmulik Ben Ruby, a police spokesman, said the current government restriction of allowing only small groups of about 30 to 50 non-Muslims to ascend the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews, will apply on the day of the scheduled gathering.
”We will not let so many Jews up at once. This is not the usual habits on the Temple Mount,” Ben Ruby said. “We have to ensure that every Jewish group is going up in safety and will go up quietly.”
David Ha’ivri, Revava director, told WND yesterday his visit will continue as planned.
“We are still in negotiations with the police,” he said. “But no matter what their decision is, we will rally at the entrance to the Temple Mount. If they won’t let large groups go up, we will send up many small groups. Either way, this visit is happening Sunday.”
A senior Israeli security source said the terrorist group Islamic Jihad is talking about using the mass Jewish ascent of the Temple Mount as a provocation to renew attacks against Israelis.
Islamic Jihad issued a press release Saturday stating any “attack” on the Mount by “Jewish extremists” would explode the entire region and open an unprecedented confrontation with the “Zionist entity.”
The Palestinian media have been portraying the Revava visit as an attempt by Jews to attack the Al Aqsa Mosque to spark a confrontation that can be used to delay Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to vacate Jewish settlements this summer from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank.
A police official said Israel also is concerned the Jewish visit will prompt an outbreak of violence,and said police are worried some Jews will use the visit to carry out an attack on the Temple Mount in hopes of disrupting the Gaza withdrawal.
“This visit cannot happen. It will cause violence on the Temple Mount and will result in a deterioration of the security situation in Israel,” the official said. “It is just an excuse by Jewish extremists to start a conflict and try to stop [the Gaza withdrawal].”
The official also told WND the Jerusalem police received intelligence the Islamic Movement, a group involved in Temple Mount activism that Israel accuses of connections to Hamas, has activated a cell in northern Israel to draw plans to foil the Revava visit.
The official said the Movement, which stresses Arab sovereignty over the Temple Mount, has been instructing followers to sleep in mosques starting April 8 to prevent Jews from ascending the Mount.
Confirming the report, Dr. Hasan Sanallah, a member of the Islamic Movement, told WND in an exclusive interview last week, “Yes, we called upon our followers to show up in the Aqsa Mosque not for sleeping but to protect it from any kind of aggression that might be planned.”
Sanallah said the Movement opposes Revava’s visit because Jews have no historic claim to the Temple Mount.
“Jews have to rethink again and again where the Temple Mount is located,” he said. “They have to give account for the numerous contradictions over the site location in their books. Therefore, regarding sovereignty, Jews have no right over the Aqsa Mosque.”
Ha’ivri responded, “Muslim leaders would do themselves a service by not mixing fantasy with ideas of trying to switch history. The location of the Temple Mount, built by King Solomon, has never been questioned by any historic or archeological authority.”
Meanwhile, Palestinians have plastered mosques throughout the Temple Mount area with signs warning of the mass Jewish ascent. The signs, some of which were obtained yesterday by WND, read, ”The Jews, who have no historic claim to the [Temple Mount], are planning to storm our holy site on April 10. We must not allow this to happen.”
The signs, which have been repeatedly removed, do not detail what specific measures Palestinians should take against the Jewish event.
The Temple Mount, the area directly behind the Western Wall in Jerusalem, was opened to the general public until September 2000, when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshipers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area.
Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.
The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It still is open but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered ”sensitive” by the Waqf, the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount.
During ”open” days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any ”holy objects” to the site. Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.