Swastikas alongside the Star of David, the ancient Jewish symbol, greeted visitors to the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – on Sunday morning, following incitement on Friday by Palestinian Authority Chair Mahmoud Abbas, who stated that Jews should be prohibited from visiting the compound.
Abbas called on Palestinians living in east Jerusalem to maintain a large presence on the Mount in order to resist the “fierce onslaught” of Jewish visitors.
Meyer Beck, a freelance photographer for United with Israel and a regular visitor to the site, was “appalled that at our most sanctified place, I would have to be exposed to abhorrent hate graffiti. I come to the closest place for man to approach God and here I have this barrier to my prayers. Who is protecting Har Habayit (the Hebrew name for the site)?”
Over the past week, violence increased dramatically as Islamists protested the right of Jewish visitors to ascend the Temple Mount.
“It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa… and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it,” Abbas stated in a Fatah party address on Friday, referring to Jewish visitors as “settlers” and “herds of cattle.”
“Jerusalem is the jewel in the crown and it is the eternal capital of the Palestinian state. Without it, there will not be a state,” Abbas declared. “It is important for Palestinians to be united in order to protect Jerusalem….
“It is our sacred place, al-Aqsa is ours, this Noble Sanctuary is ours.”
“The Palestinian leadership will be taking the necessary legal measures, at the international level, regarding the aggression of settlers on the Al-Aqsa mosque,” Abbas, who had been regarded as a partner in U.S.-brokered peace negotiations with Israel, stated.
“These words reveal, again, the true face of Mahmoud Abbas, the Holocaust denier who talks about a ‘Palestinian state free of Jews,’” the Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman asserted on Saturday evening.
Abbas “was, and remains, an anti-Semite wrapped in a nice suit and pleasantries for the international community,” Liberman stated.
“Abbas has effectively joined the frontlines of extremist Islamist organizations, such as the Islamic State,” the foreign minister added.
Indeed, anti-Israel activists were flying the Islamic State flag on the Mount in recent weeks.
The Temple Mount has been administered by the Jordanian Waqf (Muslim Trust) since the liberation of east Jerusalem in 1967. Under Waqf management, Jews and, to a lesser extent, Christians and other non-Muslims, Jews experienced profound discrimination and abuse, including a prohibition against prayer and limited access.
In 1984, Abbas’ doctoral thesis, which is widely considered as a work of Holocaust denial, was published as a book in Arabic, titled: The Other Side: the Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism.
Linda Olmert, deputy director of Haliba – the Movement for Freedom of Worship on the Temple Mount, told United with Israel in an interview on Sunday:
“Israel abdicated control of Har Habayit in 1967. We have come to the point that the head of the Palestinian Authority says black is white and white is black. While Muslims paint swastikas throughout the Mount on the days that the Mount is unjustifiably closed to Jews, Abbas states that Jews are desecrating the Mount by their mere presence. Swastikas don’t desecrate, while Jewish presence does desecrate? If this is not the epitome of Jew hatred, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, then what is?”