Sky News Arabia’s Jerusalem: the sun shines, the wind blows and Jews ‘storm the mosque’

Little is new in Sky News Arabia’s world: the sun shines, the wind blows, and Jewish settlers "storm al-Aqsa Mosque". Thus, the British-Emirati network’s portrayal of virtually all Israeli and Jewish presence at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, as illegitimate, has encompassed twenty-two exclusive news items over less than two years.

Little is new in Sky News Arabia’s world: the sun shines, the wind blows, and Jewish settlers “storm al-Aqsa Mosque”. Thus, the British-Emirati network’s portrayal of virtually all Israeli and Jewish presence at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, as illegitimate, has encompassed no less than twenty-two exclusive news items over less than two years.

The most recent one, “Clashes in al-Aqsa plaza during the War of 1967 commemoration”, was published on June 2nd, 2019.

Here are selected excerpts from these twenty-two news items.

Unless otherwise specified, all quotes are by anonymous reporters/editors, usually attributed to “Sky News Arabia” and occasionally to “agencies” (all in-text remarks and emphases are by CAMERA Arabic):

1. June 17th, 2017: “the storming of dozens of orthodox settlers into al-Aqsa Mosque”

2. July 14th, 2017:

2.1.    (0:33) “Following the incident [the 2017 Temple Mount shooting] the [al-Aqsa] Mosque [i.e. the entire compound] was closed to worshipers. [By doing this,] Israel continued policies it had started more than 50 years ago, fulfilling a dream that tantalized Theodor Herzl, to one day remove everything not sacred to Judaism from the city [Herzl never called for such removal]. Fulfilling the dream in Jerusalem was belated due to the historical importance of the city, as well as al-Aqsa […].”

2.2.    (1:39) “[Israel] was persistent in digging tunnels under [al-Aqsa], and even held its government meetings last month in al-Buraq Wall. The Mosque is not the only site where daily Israeli violations occur” – a video report by Shireen Younis (recognized by voice).

3. July 16th, 2017:

3.1.    A chronology entitled “Main violations carried out against al-Aqsa” is riddled with falsehoods, e.g. that the 1996 Western Wall Tunnel riots broke out because Israel [i.e. Ministry of Religious Affairs] has dug the tunnel under the Temple Mount and“intruded” into “al-Aqsa complex [in fact, no portion of the tunnel was dug under Temple Mount and the opening of its northern exit – triggering the riots – lead into the Muslim Quarter].”

3.2.    The chronology also refers once to “the alleged temple [the regular phrasing in Arabic-speaking media regarding the First and Second Temple, used to suggest there’s doubt as to whether it ever really existed].”

4. July 17th, 2017:

4.1.    “al-Aqsa Mosque – decades of violations”

4.2.    “Israel renews its [policy of] letting ‘orthodox Jews’ intrude in the noble Jerusalem sanctuary”

4.3.    “The closing of al-Aqsa [after the 2017 Temple Mount shooting] has provoked international criticism”

5. July 21st, 2017:

5.1.    “Israel has been seizing the keys to the Gate of the Moors since 1967, and has control over the Gate’s opening and closing [times. This is] since the gate is considered the closest one to the Chapel of Public Prayer [al-Musalla al-Jami’, i.e. the al-Aqsa Mosque building, on the southern wall of Temple Mount], which the Jews aim to remove and build a Jewish house of worship instead of it.”

5.2.    ”As for al-Buraq Wall, it lies on the southwestern parameter of the Mosque [i.e. the parameter of the entire Temple Mount sanctuary], 50 meters in length and 20 meters in height. It is a part of the al-Aqsa Mosque, while the Jews name it ‘the Wailing Wall’ nowadays, arguing that it is the remaining part of the alleged Temple”

5.3.    The chronology published on July 16th appears as an appendix at the bottom of this report as well.

6 August 1st, 2017:

6.1.    “Hundreds of settlers enter Jerusalem sanctuary premises”

6.2.    “[URL of the report reads:] Largest intrusion into Al-Aqsa Mosque in 50 years”

August 29th, 2017:

7.1.    “Israel allows its parliament members to intrude on al-Aqsa” – anonymous editor entitles Shireen Younis’s video report

7.2.    (1:56) “Once again, the right-wing government [of Israel] triggers intrusion on the Jerusalem sanctuary” – a video report by Shireen Younis

8 September 20th, 2017:

8.1.    “Extremist settlers storm al-Aqsa plaza”

8.2.    Acts of intrusion came after invitations voiced by ‘organizations of’ the alleged ‘Temple’, to participate in a large-scale intrusion into al-Aqsa Mosque [actually, organizations invited Jews to enter the compound, not the building of the Mosque]”

9 November 5th, 2017:

9.1.    “al-Aqsa and Abraham’s sanctuary – a month of violations”

9.2.    “[indirectly quoting Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Muslim Sanctuaries: Last] October has seen an increase in the [number of] intruders, especially during the holidays period, along with raising the volume of demands to allow parliament members to intrude on al-Aqsa”

10 April 1st, 2018:

10.1.      “Dozens of settlers storm al-Aqsa plaza”

10.2.      “Dozens of Jewish settlers stormed the Jerusalem sanctuary’s plaza”

11. May 13th, 2018: “Settlers storm al-Aqsa under the guard of Israeli police”

12. May 20th, 2018:

12.1.      “Hundreds of settlers storm al-Aqsa plaza”

12.2.      “Repeated attempts to perform Talmudic [i.e. Jewish] prayers and ceremonies in the Mosque”

13. June 3rd, 2018:

13.1.      “110 attacks on al-Aqsa and Abraham’s sanctuary [Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron] in May”

13.2.      “[indirectly quoting Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Muslim Sanctuaries:] the City of Jerusalem has seen many violations in May, having the sanctuaries in both Jerusalem and [Hebron] suffer more than 110 attacks”

13.3.      “[indirectly quoting Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Muslim Sanctuaries:] The ‘alleged Temple’ organizations continued their calls to double the [number of] intrusions”

14 July 22nd, 2018: “Under heavy guard: hundreds of settlers intrude on al-Aqsa”

15 July 25th, 2018:

15.1.      “For the second day: settlers intrude on al-Aqsa plaza”

15.2.      “Intrusions were carried out at the Gate of the Moors by a series of small groups performing tours in the Mosque, before exiting through Chain Gate”

16 July 27th, 2018: “Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat has intruded on the al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy guard”

17 August 21st, 2018:

17.1.      “al-Aqsa’s arson attack anniversary – Israel still ignites fire”

17.2.      “The anniversary of the al-Aqsa Mosque arson attack in Jerusalem falls this year on Eid al-Adha, so that one overshadows the other and makes its joy disappear, especially amidst repeated Israeli violations [it is unclear to which ‘violations’ does the report refer here. Palestinian sources are quoted later in the report, accusing Israel of digging tunnels at the foot of al-Aqsa and harassing worshipers]”

17.3.      “an Australian extremist Jew named Michael Dennis [Rohan] deliberately started fire [in the arson attack of 1969. Rohan was Christian, in fact]”

18.  September 23rd, 2018:

18.1.      “An Israeli campaign to storm al-Aqsa – settlers start carrying [it] out”

18.2.      “Repeated attempts to perform Talmudic [i.e. Jewish] ceremonies”

19. December 23rd, 2018: “A prominent Jewish extremist [former MK Yehuda Glick] intrudes al-Aqsa on the anniversary of his wife’s death”

20. February 20th, 2019: “Injuries and arrests during an Israeli intrusion on al-Aqsa”

21. March 14th, 2019:

21.1.      “Dozens of Jewish extremists storm al-Aqsa plaza”

21.2.      “Jewish extremists storm al-Aqsa”

21.3.      “[elaboration after quoting Jewish sources:] ’Temple Mount’ – the name that the Jews have given the al-Aqsa Mosque”

22. June 2nd, 2019:

22.1.      “Clashes at al-Aqsa plaza during the War of 1967 commemoration”

22.2.      “the storming of hundreds of settlers into the Mosque”

22.3.      “Israel lets Jews enter al-Aqsa”

This long list reflects a disturbing picture of Sky News Arabia employing incendiary propaganda against Jews and Israel in Temple Mount-related issues (whether by using the voice of its own reporters or by indirectly quoting others without criticism), which has been addressed repeatedly at this blog. This time, however, we at CAMERA Arabic believe it would be more adequate to provide a quantitative analysis of the campaign perpetrated by the network, i.e. breaking it down to the methods used repeatedly in its service, which could help identify further propaganda pieces promoted by Sky News Arabia, as well as other Arabic-speaking outlets:

Claim – Jews have little or no real connection to Temple mount

Rhetorical Methods – Temple Mount is referred to almost exclusively as “al-Aqsa”, Jewish names are marginalized, existence of Temples is brought under doubt

Out of the twenty-two news items listed above:

22/22 erase or deny the Jewish connection of more than two millennia to Temple Mount:

12/22 use the terms “al-Aqsa”, “al-Aqsa Mosque” or “al-Aqsa plaza” exclusively in reference to the entire compound of Temple Mount

5/22 use “Jerusalem sanctuary” and various “al-Aqsa” terms interchangeably

4/22 actively call into question the very existence of the Jewish Temples, describing them as “alleged.”

1/22 claims that the term “Temple Mount”, originated in the Hebrew books of Jeremiah and Micha, is a “name that the Jews have given the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Claim – Jewish presence on Temple Mount and its surroundings is violent and illegitimate

Rhetorical Method – Biased, repetitive and (admittedly) very narrow vocabulary used to describe peaceful Jewish visitors and their visits.

Out of the twenty-two news items listed above:

22/22 label peaceful and legal visits by Jews to Temple Mount (or, in numerous cases, tourism and worship-related Israeli activity in the Western Wall and its tunnels) by either the Arabic term إقتحام “Iqtiham” (translated here as either “intrusion” or “storming”, according to context) or the Arabic term إنتهاك “Intihak” (translated here as “violation”, what exactly is violated remains unuttered):

16/22 label the visits and other non-violent, legal activity “Iqtiham” (“intrusion”/”storming”)

4/22 label them both “Iqtiham” (“intrusion”/”storming”) and “Intihak” (“violation”)

2/22 label them only as “Intihak” (“violation”)


10/22 attribute the “intrusions”, “violations” and acts of “storming” to “settlers”/”extremist settlers”/”orthodox settlers”

6/22 attribute them only to “Israel”

4/22 attribute them to Jewish-Israeli public figures (MKs, Jerusaem mayor)

3/22 attribute them to “extremists”/”extremist settlers”/”extremist member of Knesset”

2/22 attribute them to “orthodox Jews”/”orthodox settlers”

Claim – it is the buildings of al-Aqsa (Dome of the Rock, the building of al-Aqsa Mosque) which are under attack, and it is an Israeli policy to allow/facilitate such attacks.

Rhetorical Methods – Lack of distinction between “al-Aqsa”, “al-Aqsa plaza”, “al-Aqsa Mosque”, “the Jerusalem sanctuary” and “al-Aqsa complex” (the last refers to the Muslim Quarter, in fact), along with concealment of important information regarding the current status-quo on the compound, enforced jointly by Israel and the Waqf.

Out of the twenty-two news items listed above,

22/22 refrain from pointing out the fact, that non-Muslims are collectively forbidden from entering the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque building since the year of 2000, and that the Jews visiting Temple Mount peacefully and legally never try to enter the buildings anyway.

21/22 fail to make the distinction between the different landmarks of Temple Mount, viewing them all as part of “al-Aqsa” or “al-Aqsa Mosque”, including at times when the subject is Israeli policy.

1/22 commendably, one report uses the term “al-Aqsa plaza” consistently throughout the text.

Claim – There’s a broad Israeli and/or Jewish conspiracy against Muslim buildings on Temple Mount.

Rhetorical Method – distortions in the description of events and historical figures

Out of the twenty-two news items listed above,

5/22 imply or wholeheartedly state that Israel and/or the Jews are involved in a decades-long conspiracy against al-Aqsa.

The so-called “evidence” is diverse:

  • It was Theodor Herzl’s dream (that Israel now wishes to fulfill)
  • The tunnels that Israel digs under the compound
  • The reason as to why Israel controls the Gate of the Moors (because it’s the closest to the Mosque, which “the Jews” seek to destroy)
  • Michael Dennis Rohan, who set the Mosque on fire in 1969, was actually Jewish, and Israel helped him escape punishment
  • The Jews who visit al-Aqsa are actually carrying out a sinister Israeli campaign.

Research and writing by CAMERA Arabic. Edited by UK Media Watch.

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