Mixed reaction to Temple Mount reopening to Jews as situation in Jerusalem remains 'shaky'

As Gaza ceasefire holds, Netanyahu ally says Israel will be quicker to act against Hamas in future. Meanwhile, media reports question claims of major gains against Hamas


Temple Mount reopened to Jewish visitors this morning for the first time since violence started to escalate in early May. 

While the decision was praised by the Israeli right, many on the left said that it had been taken too soon. The calm in Jerusalem is still partial and shaky. 

There were clashes between Palestinians and police last night, with around 30 people arrested. According to a police statement, disturbances “included assaulting police officers, throwing stones and bottles and harming passers-by and property”. 

The lobby opposing the restart of Jewish visits to the mount has strong support from Israel’s two ultra-Orthodox parties. Moshe Gafni, head of the United Torah Judaism faction, was quoted saying that Jewish people should revere the Temple Mount from a distance, rather than actually visit. His party represents Charedi communities which believe that religious law precludes Jews from visiting the site.

As the Gaza ceasefire holds, a close ally of Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel will be quicker to act against Hamas in future. Tzachi Hanegbi, a prominent Likud politician, told a television interviewer that rearming and getting ready to fire rockets will be seen as a provocation, and answered with strikes against terror infrastructure. “We can't wait for rocket fire [before acting],” he said. 

But despite the insistence of Mr Netanyahu and his allies of major gains against Hamas, Israel’s media is buzzing this morning with reports claiming that the achievements were actually underwhelming. 

The articles quote unnamed military sources noting that most of the rocket stockpiles were left unscathed by the strikes and that while the IDF pounded military targets hard, both Hamas and Islamic Jihad managed to continually launch rockets throughout the fighting. 

It is being suggested that the IDF needs better strategies for preventing launches during the thick of conflict, and that doing so will be especially important if rocket fire starts at some point from Lebanon, where Hezbollah's rocket supply is stronger than Hamas’s.

Haaretz reported that “senior Israeli officials in the security establishment have raised questions about the effectiveness of the Gaza Strip operation”. 

Thousands of people assembled last night at a rally calling for peace and co-existence inside Israel following the Arab-Jewish violence of recent weeks, and also for a negotiated two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Ayman Odeh, the Arab politician who leads the Joint List party declared: “I speak of citizens in Gaza and there are citizens in the State of Israel, and all citizens must be removed from the cycle of terror. We have come here to build a common future for all of us together."

The novelist David Grossman said that the latest Gaza conflict answered the needs of neither side. "An entire generation of children, in Ashkelon and Gaza, will grow up and probably live with the trauma of shelling and bombing and sirens,” he lamented. 


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