The battle of Al-Aqsa Mosque is ongoing with the Netanyahu government, which is surrounded by corruption cases and drowning in the confidence crisis that is being threatened with the emergence of more evidence regarding its involvement in corrupt and suspicious deals. Under the current circumstances, the Israeli government and its media mouthpieces found the best solution to be exporting its crisis abroad and fabricating crises with countries that support the worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, beginning with Turkey and the ruling Justice and Development governing.
The extremist right-wing government in Tel Aviv, as well as the Israeli security elites, think tanks, and the pro-government media have launched a fierce campaign against Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, claiming that he played a role in igniting the situation in occupied Palestine. They claim he did so by his unwavering support for the Palestinians’’ demands to remove the electronic gates at the Al-Aqsa Mosque entrances and his attack on Israel due to its recent measures.
Israeli elites loyal or close to Netanyahu have appeared in the media claiming that Turkey’s role is considered one of the main factors that encouraged Palestinians to continue their protests and achieve their goal of removing the gates. They mainly blamed the speech made by Erdogan in the Turkish parliament in which he stressed that Israel has no sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque or East Jerusalem, and that Israel’s capital is Tel Aviv. He also stated that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and called on Muslims around the world to visit Al-Aqsa to confirm their rights to it.
The Turkish president also stressed that the measures taken by the Israeli occupation under the pretext of combatting terrorism are only a means to take Al-Aqsa from the Muslims. During his speech at the weekly parliamentary AKP meeting, Erdogan said, “What is being done now is using the fight against terrorism as a pretext to take al-Aqsa Mosque from the hands of Muslims. There is no other explanation.” He also called on the Muslims to visit Al-Aqsa, “I make a call to all Muslims. Anyone who has the opportunity should visit Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque. Come, let’s all protect Jerusalem.”
The Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon, responded to Erdogan’s speech in a series of tweets on his Twitter account, describing the speech as “delusional and distorted,” adding that Erdogan “would do better to deal with the problems and difficulties in his country.” Nahshon also noted that Turkey must be aware that “The days of the Ottoman Empire are over.” The Turkish Foreign Minister responded to the tweets by saying that such positions would not cover up the fact that East Jerusalem is considered an occupied territory and the continuation of this would not be conducive to an environment to resolve the current conflict.
Israeli commentators close to Netanyahu compared the “extremist” position expressed by Erdogan regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque to the “moderate” positions issued by some of the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Israeli commentator, Pazit Ravina, said, “While Saudi Arabia did not hesitate to express their understanding of Israel’s security requirements in Al-Aqsa Mosque, we find Erdogan trying to ignite the area.”
In an article published by Israel’s right-wing newspaper, Makro Rishon, Ravina said, “Contrary to Erdogan, Saudi Arabia was convinced by the justifications given by Netanyahu justifying the placement of electronic gates”. He considered the speech by Netanyahu in the Turkish parliament addressing Al-Aqsa Mosque “bordering on anti-Semitism.” Ravina also claimed that Erdogan did not want the issue to end because “he intends to incite against Israel, even after the police removed the gates,” adding that Erdogan is not satisfied with only inciting the Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world against Israel.
The right-wing Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs claimed that Turkey is responsible for instigating the recent events at Al-Aqsa Mosque, alleging that Turkish tourists pray in Al-Aqsa and incite Palestinian worshippers.
In an article written by researcher Pinhas Inbari on Monday, he claimed that by provoking problems in Al-Aqsa, Erdogan “aims to expel Israel and Jordan from the mosque”. He also alleged, “Turkish institutions recently visited Jerusalem and has been collecting heritage that links the Ottoman Empire to Jerusalem’s history.” Inbari called on the Israeli government to learn the lessons from the recent events and to make sure the status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque is not changed, “by preventing Turkey from interfering.” He warned that Turkey’s interference would make the Al-Aqsa crisis a regional crisis.
The Israeli government has proven that it will continue to attack Al-Aqsa Mosque and worshippers on a daily basis. The decision to close down Al-Jazeera’s offices and revoke its correspondents’ press cards is just another example of the attacks and gagging policy against those who expose the truth to the Arab and Muslim world regarding the occurrences at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Israeli actions against it. Meanwhile, the Arab countries that claim to lead the Arab and Muslim worlds are content with understanding the Israeli government’s motives and hesitate even to issue statements supporting the worshippers and Murabitoun who have not and will not wait for any support from those who disappointed in the past and present.
Translated from Al Quds Al Arabi, 22 August 2017
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.