AFP Corrects: Dome of Rock Access Not Blocked Since 2003

CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted correction of a series of AFP photo captions which erroneously stated that access to the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine on the Temple Mount (or Noble Sanctuary in Arabic), has been cut off since 2003.

A sampling of the erroneous March 1 captions follow:

A Palestinian Muslim worshipper walks past the Dome of the Rock mosque, situated in the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city on March 1, 2019, before friday [sic] noon prayer. The religious site is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day war and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. Access was closed by an Israeli court order in 2003 during the second Palestinian intifada over alleged militant activity there, police say, but Waqf officials have argued that the organisation that prompted the ban no longer exists. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

 

Palestinian Muslim worshippers pass by the Dome of the Rock mosque, situated in the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city on March 1, 2019, before friday [sic] noon prayer. The religious site is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day war and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. Access was closed by an Israeli court order in 2003 during the second Palestinian intifada over alleged militant activity there, police say, but Waqf officials have argued that the organisation that prompted the ban no longer exists. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

 

Palestinian worshippers walks past the Dome of the Rock mosque, situated in the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s old city on March 1, 2019, before friday [sic] noon prayer. The religious site is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day war and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. Access was closed by an Israeli court order in 2003 during the second Palestinian intifada over alleged militant activity there, police say, but Waqf officials have argued that the organisation that prompted the ban no longer exists. AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP

The captions are apparently confusing the Dome of the Rock with a separate site, also on the Temple Mount – the Golden Gate (Shaar Harachamim, or Gate of Mercy, in Hebrew, and Bab al-Rahma in Arabic). While the Dome of the Rock has been in virtually continuous Muslim use, aside from occasional brief closures during intensive periods of violence, the Golden Gate, on the eastern part of the Temple Mount, was closed in 2003, aside from periodic use for Muslim classes and exams in coordination with Israeli authorities.
As reported in The Jerusalem Post:
Israel closed the Golden Gate site in 2003 after Palestinian activists and members of the Islamic Movement in Israel – Northern Branch reportedly used it to carry out political activities on the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary).
Last month, in a challenge to the status quo, Muslims began using the Golden Gate as a mosque.
In response to communication from CAMERA, AFP today commendably corrected the captions, removing the erroneous claim that access to the Dome of the Rock had been blocked since 2003. The amended captions appeared with the following correction:
The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo dated March 1, 2019 by AHMAD GHARABLI has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: (removing an irrelevant background in the second sentence). Please immediately remove the erro [sic]