Prepare now for High Holidays at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif
Prepare now for High Holidays at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif

Prepare now for High Holidays at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif

The violence at the Holy Esplanade accompanying the commemoration of the 9th of Av may have been a mere preview of the High Holidays in September. Dozens of young Palestinians barricaded themselves within the Al-Aqsa Mosque and attacked the Israel Police at the holy site with stones and firecrackers in order to prevent the ascension of religious Jews to the Temple Mount on the day marking its destruction. The Israel Police, under new Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, chose not to close the site to Jews, as it occasionally has done, but rather to enable the entry of hundreds of religious Jews (reportedly 300-1,200) by rushing the Esplanade and forcing closed the doors of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, sealing violent protesters inside.

Unlike the second half of 2014, the Israel Police wisely did not punitively prevent the entry of young Muslims into the Esplanade, which may have helped contain the violence at the Esplanade itself, sparing the rest of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. But the breaching of al-Aqsa by the police and the presence of hundreds of religious Jews on the Esplanade as young Muslims were locked within the mosque only affirmed to many Arabs and Muslims the sense that Israel’s policy is to divide the site.

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President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is welcomed by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank June 14, 2022. Mohamad Torokman / REUTERS

Realigning European Policy toward Palestine with Ground Realities

Events in 2021 – particularly the Gaza war – put in sharp relief how much Europe’s policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a refresh. The European Union and its member states should use the levers they have to push for their stated goal of a peaceful resolution. 

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