Iran’s Fingerprints Are All Over the Temple Mount Turmoil
Indications emerge that the conflict in Jerusalem had ideological and logistical support from Tehran.
JERUSALEM—Far from a grassroots uprising of the Palestinian people, there is growing evidence to suggest that Iran both instigated the Temple Mount attacks and encouraged the subsequent riots that led to the deaths of six Palestinian demonstrators and three Israeli civilians.
The crisis began on July 14 when young Arab Muslims from the northern Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm traveled by bus to Jerusalem early in the morning. The three men and a backpack-carrying accomplice entered the Temple Mount compound, which houses the third-holiest site in Islam—the al-Aqsa Mosque. A couple hours later, armed with machine guns, a knife and a pistol, the three men killed two police officers by the Lions’ Gate at the northern entrance of the compound.
The eventual installation of security cameras and metal detectors to stop such attacks enraged the Arabs, and they refused to enter the Temple Mount for the next two weeks. During that time, it seems Iran was working on the hearts and minds of the Arab revolters.
On July 29, proof emerged on Twitter, showing a photograph of boxes of refreshments for the protesters that were covered with pro-Iranian propaganda.
— امیر طاها صالحی (@Taha_salehi20) July 29, 2017
According to a Times of Israel report published on Tuesday,”The aid reportedly included boxes of food and drink, which came with a flyer attached depicting the Dome of the Rock and a quote attributed to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, reading, ‘With the help of God, Palestine will be freed. Jerusalem is ours.’”
Apparently, the Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas was aware of the Iranian infiltration into the West Bank to arrange what amounted to around a million dollars’ worth of support. However, Abbas didn’t warn the Israeli government about the Iranian penetration because he had cut off contact with Israeli security establishment days earlier.
“It is clear to us that the regime in Tehran, by means of its long arms, is behind this catering operation,” a Palestinian official told Israel Hayom in an article published Tuesday.
Times of Israel wrote, “The Iranian involvement also angered senior PA [officials], with an unnamed official said to be close to Abbas telling the daily that it was a mistake to allow Iran to reach into the West Bank with its ‘tentacles.’”
“It is plainly obvious that the government in Tehran, by way of its long tentacles, was behind these efforts,” the official said. “This involves millions of shekels, and it appears that the Iranians have found a way to cash in on this and to make it clear to the Palestinians that Iran is taking care of them,” wrote Israel Hayom.
So far, Israeli officials have yet to comment on the Iranian involvement in this attack and its ensuing aftermath. However, it’s possible that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to remove all of the security arrangements set up in wake of the attack was in order to undercut gains Iran was trying to make with the Palestinians. Netanyahu even hinted at other implications in removing the security barriers during his statement at his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. He stated (emphasis added throughout):
I am attentive to the public’s sensitivities and understand their feelings. The decision we made was not an easy one. But as the prime minister of Israel and the person who bears responsibility for Israel’s security, I must make decisions calmly, dispassionately and with proper judgment. I do so with a broad perspective of the entire map and the threats facing us, and some of which are not known to the public.
However, while Netanyahu might not be willing to name Iran as that outside threat in the Temple Mount crisis, other circumstantial evidence points clearly to Iran.
Considering this was the first attack of its kind perpetrated from the Temple Mount itself, it was a strategic decision; and likely one that was not planned by the three individuals. The question then is, who motivated the killers?
As Liel Leibovitz wrote in Tablet magazinelast week, “The latest campaign against Israel has all the hallmarks of an Islamic Republic operation.”
By simple deduction, Leibovitz discounts both the Fatah and Hamas Palestinian factions from contention. Clearly, Fatah’s leadership was caught unawares by the attack and only inserted itself into the fray after it realized the Arab street was fully behind the ensuing riots and wanted to show itself the leader of the Palestinian cause that was already underway. Hamas can be discounted because it is in the habit of claiming its attacks; with the Temple Mount attack, all it did was praise it, without taking credit.
Then Leibovitz wrote this:
After you discount a host of other regional bystanders—like Jordan, where another weak regime depends on Israeli security cooperation for its very survival—you’re left with one conclusion, backed by no discernible evidence but eminently logical and hard to refute: The architect of the recent wave of violence is Iran.
The key piece of circumstantial evidence is provided by the location of the terrorists’ hometown. The three men named Mohammed (19), Mohammed (19) and Mohammed (29) came from the large Arab town of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. This town is known to be a breeding ground for supporters of the Northern Front of the Islamic Movement, an organization outlawed in Israel back in 2015 for its connection to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the constant preaching of hate against the State of Israel.
Its leader, Sheikh Raed Salah, recently experienced a nine-month stint in prison for a 2007 sermon he preached in al-Aqsa when he expressed hope that “the streets of Jerusalem [would] be purified with the blood of the innocent, who shed it in order to separate from their souls the soldiers of the Israel occupation, also in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque.” He further said that “our finest moment will be when we meet Allah as martyrs in al-Aqsa.”
Clearly, the fact that the three terrorists retreated back into the al-Aqsa compound instead of retreating elsewhere indicates they wanted to answer Salah’s call to help “purify the area” with their “innocent blood.”
However, the prison sentence related to the incitement to violence in 2007 wasn’t the only time Salah has served time. From 2003–2005, Salah went to prison on charges of funding Hamas (who was being funded and directed by Iran at the time) and being in contact with an Iranian intelligence agent!
Even the message of Salah is almost identical to that of Iran’s religious leadership. For the past two decades, Salah has been one of the main vocal agitators spreading the lie that Israel is both desecrating the holy site of al-Aqsa and is in need of removal. As Leibovitz related:
Rather than merely force Israel into a tactical defeat, which Hamas, say, or even Hezbollah has tried to accomplish repeatedly, Iran has always made clear that its conflict with Israel was theological in nature. When you heard imams anywhere from Jerusalem to Riverside, California, thunder this week and last about the Jews defying Allah’s will and desecrating his holiest sites, you were quite likely listening to the viral rhetoric of Iranian mullahs.
Liebovitz is the first to admit that proof for an Iranian connection to the actual attack is circumstantial. Conjecture aside, clear evidence is emerging of Iran’s role in the crisis involving the Temple Mount. At Watch Jerusalem, we are compelled to report on such developments because of our long-standing forecast of the Iranian regime’s long-term goal to become more relevant in the Palestinian quest for control of East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
In 1995, Watch Jerusalem editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote, “The most precious jewel of Iran’s plan is to conquer Jerusalem.” He has also stated that Iran’s plan to conquer Jerusalem includes an Iranian-backed Palestinian push to control the Temple Mount itself (these forecasts are detailed in his booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy, free upon request).
Now that we are seeing tangible evidence of such an Iranian-inspired attack involving the Temple Mount, it’s time to read Jerusalem in Prophecy. It will show you where these events in Jerusalem fit into the prophetic timeline of end-time events, equipping you to see past the difficult, yet hope-filled, times ahead.