The Israeli Deputy “Defense” Minister Eli Ben Dahan said publicly on August 13 “we’re not embarrassed to say it: we want to rebuild the temple.”1 By doing so, Israeli government officials continue to incite extremists in order to change the status quo of The Al Aqsa Mosque Compound, the third holiest mosque in Islam in Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
Other incendiary statements were also released in an event that included with high level representation from the Israeli Government’s Coalition and the so-called Jerusalem Municipality, including settler organizations and other extremist representatives. Thus far, none of the organizations represented in the event have issued any statements against the provocations made by Mr. Ben Dahan, an illegal settler, against the Palestinian people and 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
Around the same time period, the Temple Institute, an Israeli organization which receives funds from the Israeli government,2 circulated a press release among foreign media announcing that they would begin “Training Priests for Third Temple”. The statement says, “In a time when the world is plagued with terror and uncertainty, we enter this project with full faith that one day the Holy Temple will finally be rebuilt and the priestly service reinstated, ushering in an unparalleled era of peace and harmony among all of mankind.”
Jerusalem’s Old City and the Aqsa Mosque Compound is an integral part of Occupied East Jerusalem. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israeli, the occupying power shall respect the religious rights of those they occupy, the Palestinians. The status of Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound has been enshrined through international treaties for centuries, and the United Nation itself has declared the necessity of maintaining the Status Quo, established over 200 years ago, for the protection of the site and inter-faith relations. Under the slogan of “Jerusalem the eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people,” the Israeli government, in coordination with the so-called Jerusalem Municipality, have continued to work with extremists in order to change the status quo of the occupied city at the expense of religious rights.
We denounce the Israeli government’s support for extremist groups that continue their attempts to turn a political problem into a religious war. The government of Israel systematically violates its obligations under international law, including signed agreements, and continues to fuel extremism.