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Tensions High as Holy Site Reopens Following Targeted Assassination Attempt of Jewish Activist in Jerusalem

The rooftops of Jewish (West) Jerusalem with a view of the Temple Mount (East Jerusalem) in the background. Image by Flickr user Jelle Drok (CC)

The rooftops of Jewish (West) Jerusalem with a view of the Temple Mount (East Jerusalem) in the background. Image by Flickr user Jelle Drok. (CC)

The targeted assassination attempt of right-wing Jewish activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick is being called a “dangerous escalation” in Israeli-Palestinian relations, leaving many concerned that the region is on the brink of a third intifada (uprising).

Glick was shot and is in critical condition as of late Wednesday night. Known as a “prominent right-wing activist”, Glick lobbied for greater access by Jews to the Temple Mount. Deemed as Judaism's most sacred site, the Temple Mount marks the original location of the Holy Temple, destroyed by Romans in 70 CE in an act that sent the Jewish people into exile for almost 2,000 years. It is also the site where Abraham the patriarch is said to have bound his son Isaac for sacrifice to God.

The Temple Mount is the world's third holiest site to Muslims and includes the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, from where it is believed the prophet Muhammad ascended to Mecca.

The day following Glick's shooting, the Temple Mount was closed to Muslim worshipers, reopening on October 31st with strengthened security ahead of weekly Friday prayers.

The site has been hotly disputed for years. The Second Intifada (the second Palestinian uprising against Israel from 2000 to 2005) was called the Al-Aqsa Intifada as it was precipitated by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, an event considered to be incitement by the Palestinians, resulting in the start of a five-year cycle of intense violence between Palestine and Israel.

Glick is a leader of the organization Temple Mount Faithful, whose stated objectives include:

Liberating the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation. The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque were placed on this Jewish or biblical holy site as a specific sign of Islamic conquest and domination. The Temple Mount can never be consecrated to the Name of G‑d without removing these pagan shrines. It has been suggested that they be removed, transferred to, and rebuilt at Mecca.

Here is an excerpt from a speech Glick gave, minutes before he was shot:

Citizen media responded to the assassination attempt. David Ha'ivri (“David the Hebrew”) asked followers to pray for Glick's recovery:

Daniel Seidemann is the founding director of an NGO called Terrestrial Jerusalem (ירושלים דלמטה) that describes itself as:

“… an Israeli non-governmental organization that works to identify and track the full spectrum of developments in Jerusalem that could impact either the political process or permanent status options, destabilize the city or spark violence, or create humanitarian crises.”

Seidemann observed:

He warned:

Israeli journalist and avid tweeter Barak Ravid remarked:

While in his Twitter feed, multiple commenters remonstrated him to “calm down,” “not to jump to conclusions,” and “be a journalist, not a muckracker.”

Yara, a doctoral student who identifies as Palestinian, responded:

Lisa van Wyk questioned:

“How do you define an uprising in the age of online activism and organised resistance? It's ongoing.”

US-based terrorism specialist Jonathan Schanzer posted multiple times as to the question of whether the escalation of violence in recent weeks indicates a coming intifada:

Writer and activist Mairav Zonszein noted:

We are also reminded that:

In addition, Glick, like two others who died in the last week, was an American citizen. Infant Haya Zissel Braun was killed in a terror attack when when a car rammed into a crowd on a train station platform and she was thrown from her stroller. Orwa Abd El-Wahab Hammad, who lived in the US until he was 6, was shot and killed by Israeli troops “after he attempted to hurl a Molotov cocktail [into] traffic.”

Dr. Belal Dabour, a physician from Gaza, reminds us about the 7-week offensive in Gaza that ended on August 26 and has the last word on the mounting tension:

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