Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave an important speech worthy of discussion when he addressed the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on June 29. The following excerpts are from the official translation on the prime minister’s office website:
An historic change is taking place in our region, with major repercussions for Israel’s security and the security of the entire world. The Sykes-Picot agreement which, almost a century ago, defined the borders in our region, has come to an end. … we are now looking at many years of conflict and instability.
Israeli police have released footage of the clashes between Islamists and riot police on the Temple Mount this week. The video shows Muslim extremists hurling rocks and shooting firecrackers at police from inside the Al Aqsa Mosque complex on Judaism’s holiest site. Temple Mount activists have condemned authorities for their conduct during the riots, which have taken place since the eve of Pesach (Passover), which started Monday evening, saying police were giving in to Islamist threats by banning Jews from the site in response to Muslim violence.
Israeli security officials said on Wednesday evening that they would ultimately have to force their way into al-Aqsa mosque, atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, because hundreds of young Arab Palestinian men are now routinely stockpiling large quantities of rocks and slabs of stone there to attack security forces The unnamed officials, quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 news, were speaking hours after dozens of Arab Palestinian terrorist and an Israeli policeman were wounded on the Mount when clashes broke out soon after the holy site was opened to Jewish visitors on Wednesday morning.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Palestinians threw “stones and firecrackers” at police when they opened the walled compound’s gates. Police responded with stun grenades, Rosenfeld said, and closed the complex to the Jewish visitors after a small number had toured the site. An AFP correspondent at the scene said dozens of Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated bullets and stun grenade canisters, and were staying inside the al-Aqsa mosque out of fear they would be arrested when leaving.
However, the Israeli security officials said young Palestinian men were being allowed to hide out in the mosque by the authorities from the Waqf, or Muslim Trust, that administers the site, and that they used the holy place as a stronghold for what have now become routine attacks on Israeli security forces. The officials were quoted saying that, sooner or later, there would be “no choice but to storm” the mosque. At the same time, they acknowledged that this is precisely what the Palestinian protesters hope will happen, since the sight of armed Israeli security personnel forcing their way into the third holiest site in Islam could prompt a surge in anti-Israeli protests throughout the Arab world.