It was “fake news” that triggered a Temple Mount faceoff in recent days, a confrontation that included the shooting deaths of two Israeli officers and the killings of three other family members, says a commentator in a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
That’s the verdict from Yaakov Lappin, a military and strategic affairs correspondent who wrote in the Investigative Project on Terror.
He also provides research for think tanks and is the Israel correspondent for defense publications.
He explains the situation erupted when terrorists, three Arab-Israeli gunmen, smuggled guns onto the Temple Mount and shot two Israeli police officers, and then were shot by security forces.
The aftermath included a Palestinian knife attacker, pledging to “die” for Al-Aqsa on his Facebook page, killing three members of an Israeli family in their home in the West Bank.
But it elevated into a dispute reaching around the globe because of the reaction to Israel’s decision to elevate security there – and set up metal detectors.
Israel’s “defense establishment” had expressed concern that the move would “fuel the propaganda of fundamentalist forces, leading to unrest and instability.”
“The defense establishment’s concerns came true. Rioting erupted in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Mass demonstrations were held in Israel’s eastern neighbor, Jordan, and included members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood,” Lappin explained.
“All of these events were driven by incitement to religious violence. The unrest was sparked by the false accusation that Israel was seeking to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa, and that the site needed defending from Israelis schemes. It is a conspiracy theory that has been peddled by Palestinian hardliners for decades, dating back to the days of Hajj Amin Al Husseini in the 1920s and 30s,” Lappin said.
He said the episode reveals how fundamentalist Islamists can “seize control of the narrative.”
He noted Hamas politburo chief Ismael Haniyeh proclaimed, “Israel wants more than ever before to implement its plan for complete control over al-Aksa Mosque.”
And Islamists in Gaza, Jordan, east Jerusalem all pushed “their interpretation,” he said.
“They claim Israel wants to take over the holy site and destroy the mosque to make way for a third Temple. This baseless narrative sweeps away the terrorist attack that caused the crisis and presented three Palestinians killed in subsequent clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem as martyrs who died defending Islam.”