There is no more horrifying scenario for Israel, and perhaps the entire Middle East, than a serious attack on the Temple Mount, which to Muslims is the Haram al-Sharif, site of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Such a scenario has been keeping Israeli defense officials awake at night since the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel took control of the eastern part of Jerusalem. At 7 a.m. July 14, it looked as if that very scenario might unfold.
Three young Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm burst into the compound, the third holiest site in Islam, armed with makeshift machine guns, a pistol and knives. As they made their way, they shot and killed two Border Patrol officers stationed at one of the entrances. Their plan was to seize control of Al-Aqsa and thereby ignite a huge conflagration in Jerusalem, and perhaps Israel, the West Bank and the entire Middle East. Fortunately, Border Patrol officers responded quickly, and after a brief chase through the square surrounding the mosques there, shot and killed the three attackers.