By attacking the third holiest site in Islam, is the crisis-hit Israeli government deliberately creating a diversion?
During Ramadan recently, Muslims in Al-Aqsa Mosque were observing a religious ritual called itikaf.
But Israeli police claimed some worshippers inside were ‘masked agitators’, so they stormed in with tear gas, swinging batons viciously.
The assault resulted in international condemnation—and retaliatory rocket attacks on Israel from inside Gaza and southern Lebanon.
Israel responded with an aerial barrage on Lebanon and Gaza—but many are asking, Why all this now?
Some claim it makes it easier for far-right Israeli settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa compound, some of whom want the mosque torn down.
Attacks on Al-Aqsa happen almost every year, but one added factor this year may be what Netanyahu’s government stands to gain.
Huge protests against government plans to weaken the judiciary have been called the biggest crisis in Israel since the war in 1967.
But after the violence over Al-Aqsa escalated, protesters cancelled one of their marches, calling it an ‘intensive time’ for security forces.
So, are Israel’s raids on Al-Aqsa about so-called ‘agitators’, or do they serve to distract from a crisis of the government’s own making?
Art by Al Jazeera