Since almost the beginning of the current clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, Palestinian sympathizers have characterized Ariel Sharon’s visit to the contested Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif holy site as tantamount to an act of war. But Newsweek goes even further than this position in the Periscope section of the Dec. 25-Jan. 21, 2000 issue, in which a photo of Ariel Sharon praying by the Western Wall (NOT the Temple Mount) is labeled: “Sharon’s visit to disputed area touched off a war.”
Thousands of Jews pray on a daily basis at the Western Wall without incident. It is odd that Newsweek now considers Jewish worship at the Western Wall (even by a Jews as controversial as Ariel Sharon) a cause for war. Moreover, Newsweek is apparently escalating Palestinian demands of Israel by dubbing the Western Wall, not just the Temple Mount, a “disputed area.”
Perhaps the editors selected this photo which is seemingly unrelated to Sharon’s controversial visit to the Temple Mount because nothing more appropriate was found to accompany the erroneous headline “The Prayer That Killed the Peace.” Indeed, no picture exists of Ariel Sharon praying at the Temple Mount, because Sharon never prayed there. Since 1967, when Israel regained sovereignty of the Temple Mount and thereafter relinquished control to the Islamic Trust, the Muslim authorities have prevented Jews from praying there.