Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Waqf's double talk - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

An Ugly Pattern of Hypocrisy Emerges

There is no need to look for logic or reason in the wild behavior of the heads of the Muslim Waqf on the Temple Mount on Sunday. One can, however, look for and identify a pattern of duplicitous behavior. 

The Waqf has a dual relationship with Israel. As a religious body and the arm of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places, it presides over religious autonomy on the mount. Its guards are stationed alongside police officers at the gates to the Temple Mount, and its leaders take part in the Israeli-Jordanian dialogue on issues at the site. 

But the Waqf must also demonstrate its leadership presence within the framework of the "struggle for Al-Aqsa." 

On Sunday, in order to avoid the appearance of being a "collaborator," the Waqf chose to make its presence felt in the "struggle" and come out against the use of metal detectors as a violation of the status quo.

Unofficially, the Waqf understands full well the need for metal detectors. Officially, however, it has chosen to respond in the same way as in the past. The heads of the Waqf secretly admired the archaeological findings in the Western Wall tunnels and at the foot of the southern wall when they visited the sites with representatives from the police and the Israel Antiquities Authority. 

But then, without batting an eye, they went to the media and fanned the flames. They lied about the excavations and claimed they were destabilizing the foundations of Al-Aqsa mosque. 

They said they understood the urgent need to build the Mughrabi Bridge, following the collapse of the rampart that led to the Mughrabi Gate. But mere hours later, they depicted its construction as a "crime and danger to Al-Aqsa." 

In October 1990, its leaders were informed that the police did not have the slightest intention of allowing the Temple Mount Faithful movement to lay a cornerstone for a third temple on the Temple Mount. That did not prevent the Waqf from calling on the masses "to come and defend Al-Aqsa." The chain of events that ensued has led to violent clashes between police and Muslims on the mount, and 17 Palestinians have so far been killed.

Officially, the Waqf does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel's sovereignty in Jerusalem. Yet it is in constant dialogue with almost all of the arms of the Israeli government. It is between these two poles that its men oversee the Temple Mount, which requires them to maneuver between the Israeli sovereign, the Jordanian employer and pressure from extremist elements such as Hamas and the founder of the outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, Raed Salah. 

Nadav Shragai

Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=19447

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