Israel Hangs “Temple Mount” Sign near Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa

JERUSALEM, February 11, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli Municipality of West Jerusalem set up Wednesday a signal reading “Temple Mount” in reference to the nearby al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

The signal, which was placed near the Al-Nather Gate of the compound, was made available in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic and English.

Jews refer to the site as the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples destroyed in ancient times. The site is home to the third holiest mosque in Islam, and houses the al-Aqsa Mosque Building and the Dome of the Rock.

The site, which is part of East Jerusalem, was occupied by Israel from Jordan in 1967 but both countries agreed to keep the site under Jordanian jurisdiction since then.

The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which has administrative jurisdiction over the compound, said the set up of a sign featuring the Jewish term “Jewish Temple” instead of the internationally recognized Islamic term, Al-Aqsa Mosque, is nothing but an attempt to “Judaize” the holy site and the city of Jerusalem.

The site has been an epicenter of the prolonged Israeli-Arab conflict. The site has witnessed recurrent clashes in recent years between Muslim worshipers and Israeli police, most frequently due to provocative visits by Jewish extremists who believe the mosque should be destroyed and replaced with a Jewish temple.

The most violent clashes were witnessed in the year 2000, when late Israeli Prime Minister, long known for his far-right views, Ariel Sharon entered the holy site along with 200 police officers, provoking what was then known as the Palestinian Second Intifada.