Israel’s surrender on the Temple Mount

A comparison between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to open the Western Wall tunnels in 1996 and the 2017 Temple Mount crisis.

August 13, 2017 18:14
4 minute read.
Netanyahu family at Western Wall

Netanyahu at Western Wall. (photo credit: REUTERS)

WHEN THE crisis over the installment of metal detectors on the Temple Mount began, the Israeli opposition ransacked its organizational memory and sought to compare the move and the Arab blowback to the decision by the then-neophyte Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to open the Western Wall tunnels in 1996.

That decision triggered a wave of violence as Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority claimed that the tunnels’ objective were a nefarious Jewish plot to undermine the foundations of the Al-Aksa mosque. This was the first instance where Yasser Arafat had ordered his forces to use the weapons that Israel had entrusted them with as part of the Oslo agreement.


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