A Guardian article by their Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes (“31 people dead as Netanyahu vows to intensify Gaza attacks”, May 11)
a provocative annual parade by thousands of Israeli nationalists in the city went ahead the same day. Jerusalem Day celebrates Israel’s capture of the entire city, including the Old City and Palestinian neighbourhoods, from Jordanian forces in 1967.
Ayman Odeh, an Israeli politician from the country’s Arab minority, tweeted a video of Israeli nationalists dancing and singling at the Temple Mount’s Western Wall on Jerusalem Day as a fire – apparently started during earlier confrontations – roared on al-Aqsa mosque compound above. “Shocking,” he wrote in Hebrew.
— Ayman Odeh (@AyOdeh) May 10, 2021
The entire premise of Odeh’s tweet, uncritically promoted by the Guardian reporter, is inaccurate.
First, Holmes fails to inform readers that the fire was started by Palestinians, who shot fireworks from the Temple Mount compound towards the Western Wall, where Jews were celebrating Jerusalem Day.
Correction: Additional footage of the incident appears to show that the fireworks were fired from the Temple Mount toward the Western Wall below (where thousands of Jews were gathered for Jerusalem Day celebrations).
The trees were just in the way. pic.twitter.com/NOw9Y1sdda
— Judah Ari Gross (@JudahAriGross) May 10, 2021
Further, as the blog Israellycool showed, the song in question, one that relates to the Jews’ victory over those who in the past tried to destroy them, was sung throughout the day’s celebration – not, as the Guardian wants readers to believe, in reaction to, or in celebration of, the fire on the Temple Mount. We confirmed this in an email exchange with Avi Abelow, an Israeli man who participated in (and filmed) celebrations at the Western Wall during the time in question.
Finally, let’s remember that the Temple Mount (in addition to the fact that al-Aqsa Mosque is located there) is Judaism’s holiest site. So, the idea that Jews would celebrate a fire on the Mount is absurd.
Of course, the most important take-away from the incident – which the Guardian naturally ignored – is that Palestinians launched explosive material towards thousands of Jews, a violent and reckless act that could have resulted in injuries or deaths.