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My visit to Temple Mount

With hundreds of tourists, I visited the Temple Mount, and contrary to Palestinian accusations, Israel is not trying to change the status quo but cooperates with the Waqf guards during visits at the site.
Israeli paramilitary police walk on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City October 26, 2015. Monday's visit to the compound was low-key by most standards - no fighting broke out, no one was ejected by the police, everyone left calmly and life returned to normal. But in critical ways it cut to the heart of an issue fuelling the worst violence between Palestinians and Israel in years: whether the status quo at the site, also known as the Al-Aqs

I did not visit the Temple Mount for religious, political or ideological reasons. Rather, I came as a journalist wishing to know what the commotion is all about. I wanted to find out firsthand whether the Palestinian allegations that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is in danger are founded. Has Israel really changed the sanctified status quo at the Temple Mount or is it — as Israeli officials claim — the unbridled and deliberate incitement by the northern chapter of the Islamic movement in Israel and by Palestinian Authority (PA) officials that sparked the current wave of terror?

On Oct. 28, a day prior to my visit, Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas from the Joint List, visited the Temple Mount despite a ban to do so that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed on Knesset members. Wearing a large hat to conceal his identity, Ghattas managed to fool the guards and sneak into the compound. “Israel continues to change the status quo and is intensifying its sovereignty and occupation there,” he alleged in the wake of his visit.

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