Following the recent crisis around security at the Temple Mount, Hamas held a summer camp at which children in Gaza acted out a play showing the “liberation” of the al Aqsa mosque from Israel.
Video footage of the play translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute shows some of the children in the play dressed as “worshippers” and others as “Israeli border guards.” The “worshippers” demand to enter the compound to pray, while the “guards” point guns at them and drive them away from metal detectors that Israel had installed.
A riot begins, at which the worshippers chant, “With our souls and our blood we will redeem you, O al Aqsa.” The Times of Israel reported that this was a phrase often used at the actual protests about the metal detectors.
The “worshippers” in the play go on to bomb the metal detectors and storm the Temple Mount compound with the “Israelis” shooting them. The narrator explains, “The Mujahadeen [holy warriors] are confronting the Zionist pigs and wiping them out.”
At the end of the takeover, one of the protagonists proclaims: “This is the battle for the liberation of Jerusalem and of Palestine in its entirety. This is a battle to break the chains, to shatter the shackles and to liberate the al Aqsa Mosque from the defilement of the occupation.”
Since the 1967 Six-Day War and the reunification of Jerusalem under Israel’s control, Israel has charge over security at the Temple Mount.
However, as part of its promise to preserve the holy sites of all the major faiths in the land, Israel gave management of the Temple Mount to the Waqf Islamic authority. The Waqf is a religious trust controlled by Jordan.
On July 14, two Israeli policemen were shot and killed outside the Temple Mount by three terrorists who had emerged from the compound. The murders prompted Israel to set up metal detectors and cameras, a standard security procedure at site such as this s such as the Western Wall and the Vatican.
The measure caused outrage among Palestinians and protests erupted. One man stabbed to death three members of a Jewish family in their kitchen in protest. Five Palestinians were also killed in clashes between protestors and Israeli security forces.
Israel has taken down the metal detectors. Their removal came at the same time as Jordan released an Israeli Embassy guard who killed two Jordanians during a stabbing attack in Amman on July 23. Israel is investigating the killings.
The metal detectors were removed on July 24, but protests continued. Hamas is the governing authority in the Gaza Strip.