The Palestinian Authority (PA) has published a cartoon depicting Israel “raping” the Temple Mount, Palestinian Media Watch has reported. The cartoon appears on the PA’s National Security Forces’ official Facebook page, and shows a hook-nosed Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldier with his pants down, salivating over an imprisoned woman wearing a turban in the shape of the Dome of the Rock. The soldier says to the crying woman, “Come on, sweetheart.” The accompanying caption reads: “Daily cartoon: Al-Aqsa being raped.”
The Temple Mount, holy to both Jews and Muslims, has been at the center of a firestorm of protests in recent weeks. Last month, Jewish activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot in an attempted assassination for his efforts in support of Jewish access to the site. The would-be assassin was killed, but garnered praise from PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas for his actions, which he called, “defending the rights of our people and its holy places.”
Since it was liberated by Israel in 1967, the Temple Mount has been under the administrative control of the Muslim Waqf, and Jews have been forbidden from praying there. The Mount is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest places of worship. It is also the location on which the First and Second Temples stood. Periodic surges in violence are common there as Arabs, and Palestinians in particular, routinely accuse Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the site.
Most recently, Jordan demanded Israel offer assurances of maintaining the status quo following attempts by Israeli lawmakers to overturn the existing law forbidding Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted he has no intention of upsetting the current arrangement.
Following the assassination attempt in late October, Israel temporarily shut down access to the Temple Mount to all parties, which Abbas called a “declaration of war”. It has since been reopened for Muslim worship. Meanwhile, Abbas has called for “settlers” to be prevented from accessing the Temple Mount using “any means necessary.”