Five Must-read Analyses on the Temple Mount Crisis

Get our top correspondents' takes on the latest tensions between Israel and the Palestinians

Palestinians and Israeli security forces clash during Friday prayers in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud, July 21, 2017.
Emil Salman

1. Fears of political rivals led Netanyahu to make a grave error

Immediately after the attack on the Temple Mount compound a week ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu grasped that this incident bore the seeds of a greater conflagration. After all, he has the wisdom of experience behind him. Netanyahu remembers well what transpired during his first term following the opening of the Western Wall tunnels in 1996, what happened after Ariel Sharon entered the compound in 2000 and the events of the summer of 2015, after cabinet member Uri Ariel went there as wellRead Barak Ravid's full analysis here

2. Jerusalem unifies the Muslims through struggle

A secular young man from the Ramallah area expressed his astonishment at how Jerusalem was unifying the entire Palestinian people, and compared the perpetrator of Friday night’s attack in Halamish, Omar al-Abed, to Saladin. A silly comparison, all would agree. Still, the need to bring up Saladin encapsulates all the fatigue among Palestinians about those they perceive as the new Crusaders. Read Amira Hass' full analysis here

3. This is why Arab states are conspicuously silent on Temple Mount crisis

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu engages in boastful rhetoric about the meetings he holds with Arab leaders – including the recent revelation of a secret meeting five years ago with the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister – he seemingly ignores Islamic forces looking on at these diplomatic moves. The recent tensions over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount make it clear that any diplomatic or security move is also immediately gauged from a perspective that transcends the religious importance of the holy sites. Read Zvi Bar'el's full analysis here

4. Between political and legal fears, any sign of leadership in Israel is absent

If Israel’s ministers were to walk through the Temple Mount’s metal detectors, with the prime minister at their head, not the faintest beep would be heard. Certainly not from the steely resolve of decision-makers.

When members of the government think about the future, they think mainly about the next election. And in times of crisis, they also think about the commission of inquiry in the wake of the next failure. They don’t dare make difficult decisions, as is required of them. They look sideways and down, for volunteers to bear the responsibility. If there are no volunteers, they place responsibility on others – but that has a rubber-ball quality and tends to bounce back. Read Amir Oren's full analysis here

5. To quell Palestinian protests, Israel divides and conquers in Jerusalem

Thousands of people took part in demonstrations and clashes with the police around the Old City of Jerusalem after Muslim prayers on Friday. Such large numbers of protesters have not been seen in Jerusalem since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir by Jewish extremists in the summer of 2014. Read Nir Hasson's full analysis here