Israel furious over French proposal for international monitors on Temple Mount

Israeli officials are livid over a French proposal to place international monitors on the Temple Mount as a mere provocation against Israel and an empty gesture.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
Netanyahu Yossi Cohen

PM Netanyahu (L), with Yossi Cohen, head of the National Security Council. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israeli officials responded in rage on Saturday to a French proposal to deploy international observers on the Temple Mount who would supposedly ensure that the status quo is kept at the holy site, saying that the suggestion was an infringement on Israel’s sovereignty in its capital.

News outlets reported Saturday that France’s envoy to the UN, François Delattre, submitted a proposal to the Security Council (UNSC) calling on Israel to allow the entry of monitors who would ensure the status quo on the Temple Mount.

A “senior official” in the Prime Minister’s Office dismissed the initiative as “baseless” and as “only declarative.”
“We expect the French to condemn the Waqf  (Muslim trust) for their incompetence on the Temple Mount,” the official stated.
“Those who brought explosives and fired firecrackers were Palestinians who turned the Temple Mount into a terrorism warehouse, and they are the ones who tried to change the status quo,” he added. “Israel maintains the status quo and is obligated to it.”

He pointed out that, under the status quo, Jews are permitted to visit the Temple Mount, and that under the 1949 Armistice Agreement there was an international commitment to the rights of the Jews to visit the Temple Mount, a right not implemented until Israel united Jerusalem following the Six Day War in 1967.

The official stressed that Israel ensures free entry to all religions onto the Temple Mount, pointing to the desecration of Joseph’s Tomb by Palestinians on Friday as an example of the treatment of holy sites under Palestinian control.

“The arson at Joseph’s Tomb testifies to what would happen to holy places that are not under Israel’s control, just as they have happened in Palmyra and Iraq,” denoting to the destruction of non-Muslim shrines and archeological sites by the Islamic State (ISIS).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed National Security Council (NSC) head Yossi Cohen and the Foreign Ministry to lodge a complaint with the French and protest the “biased and baseless” language of the initiative.

Former head of NSC Yaacov Amidror dismissed the French initiative as an attempt to become a relevant player in the international arena and as a mere irritation.

“The proposal’s objective it to irritate and annoy us,” he told Israel’s IDF Radio.

“Its like telling UN observers to monitor the murder of Jews in Paris, and the UN would not stop even one murderer, and therefore these monitors are completely useless. Their sole purpose is to harm Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem,” he explained.

‘Israel is Not the Problem – Its the Solution’

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan dismissed the French initiative as “distorted and biased,” and said it was giving a prize to Palestinian violence.

Gilad Erdan

Minister Erdan. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“Israel cannot accept the French draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council. It doesn’t mention Palestinian incitement; it doesn’t mention Palestinian terrorism; and it calls for the internationalization of the Temple Mount,” Netanyahu stated Sunday during the weekly Cabinet meeting.

“We’ve seen across the Middle East – in Palmyra, in Iraq, throughout Iraq and elsewhere how the militant Muslims blast each other’s mosques to the sky. We’ve just seen it in a Jewish holy site, Joseph’s Tomb. Only Israel, Israel alone, is the guarantor of the holy sites on the Temple Mount,” he clarified.

“The reason the status quo has been violated is not because we changed it. We didn’t change anything,” the premier pointed out. “The orders of prayer, the visiting rights have not changed for the last 15 years. The only thing that’s changed are Islamist hoodlums paid by the Islamist Movement in Israel and by Hamas, who are entering the mosque… and from there emerge and attack Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, and Christian visitors. That’s the only change in the status quo.”

“Israel will protect the holy sites, will guard the status quo. Israel is not the problem on the Temple Mount. Israel is the solution,” he concluded.