Middle East, Iranian media raise anger over Israeli 'crimes' on Temple Mount

A long list of condemnations and negative reports have emphasized the growing anger in the region at Israel over the Jerusalem tensions.

 Palestinians pray as Israeli security forces take position at the Al-Aqsa compound, also known as the Temple Mount, while tension arises during clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2023 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
Palestinians pray as Israeli security forces take position at the Al-Aqsa compound, also known as the Temple Mount, while tension arises during clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2023
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Major media in the Middle East are focusing on the tensions in Jerusalem in the wake of Israeli police clearing protesters from the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa mosque overnight. The incidents led to rocket fire from Gaza and threats from Hamas. This comes amid other tensions between Israel and Iran. 

The media coverage is interesting because while the Iranian pro-regime coverage is stereotypically anti-Israel, there is increased criticism of Israel in the Gulf. This includes media in the UAE and also recent concerns in Saudi Arabia about incidents in Jerusalem. Saudi Arabia has normalized ties with Iran and is focusing now on its new relations with Iran.  

What are major Middle East media outlets saying?

Al-Arabiya noted that Saudi Arabia has condemned “Israeli police attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.” This kind of framing is important because it illustrates that Gulf media linked to Riyadh or Abu Dhabi is increasingly taking a tough tone on Israel.

In the wake of the Abraham Accords, many of the media in the Gulf tended to be less critical of Israel. However, the rise of the Right in Israel and the new government of Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as other factors, appear to be influencing the coverage.  

Al-Ain media in the UAE has also shifted its tone in recent weeks, becoming more critical of Israel. On Wednesday Al-Ain claimed that “dozens of Israeli extremists storm Al-Aqsa” and noted that Israeli police had detained hundreds of Palestinians. The media reported commentary from Jerusalem that said there had been “desecration of the sanctity of the mosque.”

 Palestinians pray as Israeli security forces take position at the Al-Aqsa compound, also known as the Temple Mount, while tension arises during clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD) Palestinians pray as Israeli security forces take position at the Al-Aqsa compound, also known as the Temple Mount, while tension arises during clashes with Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City, April 5, 2023 (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

In addition, pro-Iranian media is exploiting the tensions to add fuel to the fire. Al-Mayadeen, which is pro-Iranian, has several articles about the tensions in Israel. These include comments by religious leaders slamming Israel. The reports quoted the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, Archbishop Atallah Hanna, claiming that the incident on the Temple Mount could happen at the Holy Sepulchre.

Besides his comments, the website included a long list of articles about Israel. These include headlines about “occupation attacks on al-Aqsa” and “settlers stormed al-Aqsa.” The pro-Iranian media also accused Israeli “settlers' calls to slaughter sacrifices in al-Aqsa.” 

These reports have emphasized the growing anger in the region at Israel over the Jerusalem tensions. This includes Jordanian condemnations and claims the Arab League may meet about the incidents in Jerusalem. Iranian state media also slammed Israel, calling Israel’s policies “brutal.”