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Playing with Fire On the Temple Mount

Provocative visits to the Temple Mount by Knesset members and ministers from the right could prove costly, writes Nadav Perry.
Israeli police officers walk in front of the Dome of the Rock, on the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City March 17, 2010. A surge in Palestinian-Israeli violence on the streets of Jerusalem and the West Bank is a sign of broader instability ahead unless the United States can quickly restore faith in the peace process. Clashes this month indicate the rising tension between Palestinians and a right-wing Israeli government which has incensed Pale
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Police assigned to the Temple Mount in the Jerusalem District have been kept quite busy since the 19th Knesset was sworn in. In March, it was only at the very last minute that they successfully prevented Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin (Likud) from visiting the most sensitive spot in the entire Middle East.

Feiglin, one of the most powerful people in the ruling party, is a “regular visitor” to the Temple Mount. He continues to visit there in his new position, not only as a Knesset member but as its deputy speaker. Knesset Member Miri Regev, from the same party, has also earned herself a reputation as a provocative firebrand. Immediately after being elected this week to serve as head of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, she announced that she plans to organize a visit to the Temple Mount by the committee. According to Regev, the pretext for this visit is “to protect the rights of Jews to pray at the site.” In September 2000, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ignited the second intifada when he made a very public visit to the Temple Mount. Now it seems like Regev is determined to ignite a third intifada.

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