What is really happening in the much-debated and sacred Esplanade of the Mosques (for the Muslims) or the Temple Mount (for the Israelis)?
As I write these lines on this tense and problematic Friday, already three Palestinians were killed, while two others are seriously injured and others have suffered light injuries. This is the outcome of the clashes during Friday prayers, this time recited outside of the Esplanade of the Mosques.
At the beginning of the 1967 war, Israeli troops conquered the old city of Jerusalem. A patriotic and enthusiastic soldier climbed on the roof of the sacred Al Aqsa Mosque and raised the Israeli flag. Defense Minister Moshe Dayan ordered him to remove it immediately; he understood well that this was an affront to one of the most sacred Muslim places.
Dayan, in short, carried out an occupation with dramatic implications, on the one hand with an iron fist but on the other hand, with pragmatic and conciliatory steps. The various Israeli governments over time have always considered the Esplanade of the Mosques a potentially explosive place; any triggers there could have terrible consequences.