When Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli army Chief Rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up the Mosque “once and for all.”
The story was told by Narkis shortly before his death in 1997 and quoted by Avi Shlaim’s in his important book , “The Iron Wall- Israel and the Arab world.”
“There was an atmosphere of spiritual elation. Paratroopers were milling around in a daze. Narkis was standing for a moment on his own, deep in thought, when Goren went up to him and said ‘Uzi, this is the time to put a hundred kilograms of explosives in the Mosque of Omar-and that’s it, we’ll get rid of it once and for all.’ Narkis said ‘Rabbi, stop it.’ Goren then said to him, ‘Uzi, you’ll enter the history books by virtue of this deed.’ Narkis replied, ‘I have already recorded my name in the pages of the history of Jerusalem.’ Goren walked away without saying another word.”
Interestingly, this Goren reentered the Haram al Sharif esplanade on 15th August 1967, in military uniform along with two dozen soldiers from the Israeli army in order to take the measurements of its length and width. Afterwards, Goren announced where the temple would be positioned. Two weeks later after this incident, the Israeli occupation army seized the key to one of the gates of al-Masjidul Aqsa (the Moroccan Gate).
Four days after the seizure of East Jerusalem, Israeli army bulldozers wantonly demolished the Maghariba and al-Sharaf neighborhoods, leveling them to the ground. The Palestinian inhabitants of the two neighborhoods were expelled unceremoniously at gunpoint. All in all, 135 houses, two mosques, and two religious schools or Zaouias were destroyed and completely obliterated.
On April, 1968, Israel confiscated the Haret el Maghariba for “public use” and built on the site a large plaza in front of the Buraq Wall (Wailing or Western Wall.” The Haret al Maghariba and the adjacent smaller Haret al-Sharaf, which was also destroyed and completely obliterated, were both Islamic Waqf (religious endowment) property dating back to the Kurdish Muslim warrior Salahuddin al-Ayyoubi who defeated the Crusaders and restored Jerusalem to Islam.
On 21 August, 1969, an Australian Christian Zionist, bearing the name Michael Dennis Rohan, set fire on the interior of the Aqsa Mosque, probably using flammable substance. The huge fire he set quickly and completely gutted the ancient exquisite minbar of Sallahuddin. ( a new minbar, a replica of the old one, was put into place on Feb. 1, 2007). Rohan claimed he was “the Lord’s emissary” and acting upon divine instructions. He said his purpose was to enable the Jews to build a temple in order to hasten the second advent of Jesus. The Israeli authorities, which claimed that Rohan was deranged, hindered efforts to put off the fire, thus contributing to the destruction of the priceless minbar.
In 1970, Israeli occupation authorities began intensive excavation works right beneath the mosque on the southern and western sides, and in 1977, the digging continued and a large tunnel was opened beneath the women’s prayer area.
In 1979, a new tunnel was dug under the mosque, going east to west.
On 2 March, 1982, an armed Jewish terrorist, a Talmudic student, attacked al Masjidul Aqsa from Bab al Silsila after assaulting Muslim guards. Eventually, the terrorist was overpowered, thus preventing the occurrence of a potential massacre.
On 11 April, 1982, a Jewish American terrorist, who was also an Israeli soldier, by the name of Allan Goodman, entered the Dome of the Rock and started firing randomly at Muslim worshipers. Dozens of people were killed and injured. Goodman, a member of the Jewish Defense League, was eventually pardoned by the Israeli government after spending a few years in jail.
On 27 April, 1982, Jewish terrorist leader Meir Kahana, along with a hundred of his followers, stormed the Aqsa Mosque plaza, carrying a large diagram of the Temple which he was planning to build “on the ruins” of the Aqsa Mosque.
On 27 January, 1984, two waqf guards saw two Jewish terrorists fleeing near the Golden Gate, the two left behind ladders, 13 Kg of explosives and 21 Israeli-manufactured grenades similar to the ones found previously.
On 29 March, 1984, the Israeli archaeological department of the Ministry of Religious Affairs dug a tunnel, one meter in length and two meter in width and ten meters deep near the western part of the Aqsa Mosque, endangering the Islamic “Majlis” or Council building.
On 1 August, 1984, the Al-Aqsa security guards discovered another group of Jewish terrorists preparing to blow up the Mosque. Sheikh Sa’ad al Din al Alami, the Mufti of Jerusalem, said “Had it not been for the protection of God, the whole mosque would have been completely obliterated.
Also on 1 August, 1984, a Jewish terrorist by the name of Yosef Zeruya was convicted of plotting to blow up the Dome of the Rock Mosque and sentenced to 3 years in jail.
On 8 October, 1990, Israeli “border police” soldiers murdered as many as 22 Palestinians and injured more than a hundred others during a protest triggered by an attempt by Jewish extremists to lay the cornerstone for a Jewish temple in the Haram al Sharif plaza. On 19 August, 1991, an Israeli Judge, Ezra Kama, ruled that the police, not the Palestinians, provoked the violence. The UN also condemned Israel for the carnage.
In September 1996, the Israeli occupation authorities opened a large ancient tunnel beneath the Hamara al Sharif, sparking off bloody clashes with Palestinian Authority police throughout the West Bank in which 57 Palestinians and 16 Israelis were killed.
In December, 1997, Jewish terrorists tried to toss a pig’s head into the Haram al Sharif.
On 28 September, 2000, Ariel Sharon, then opposition leader, carried out a deliberate provocation when he led hundreds of Israeli crack police into the Haram al Sharif esplanade in order to “underscore Jewish rights”. The next day, the al-Aqsa Intifada broke out.
On 7 February, 2007, Israeli bulldozers began digging outside Bab El-Maghariba (Moroccan Gate). Israel claimed that it was only repairing an old ramp leading to the Aqsa Mosque. However, Muslim officials contended the digging was part of Israeli designs against the Mosque. On Friday, 9 February, the Israeli occupation authorities prevented Muslims from accessing the Aqsa Mosque for the weekly congregational prayer. Non the less, a few thousand Palestinians managed to enter the Mosque where they protested the provocative excavations. The Israeli police fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters, injuring several of them.