Paul Calvert spoke with Steven Jaffe, the Grassroots and Advocacy Consultant, for the Board Of Deputies Of British Jews, the only democratically elected, cross-communal, representative body in the Jewish community.

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Steven: Very sadly two Israeli policemen lost their lives. They were actually from the Druze community, which is an ancient religious tradition in Israel and kind of an offshoot of Islam I think. The people who murdered them were Israeli Arabs, who had smuggled automatic weapons onto the Temple Mount and hidden them in the mosque.

As a result of that murder, Israel placed security apparatus on the entrances to the Temple Mount, which is no different from what we would pass through when we go through an airport or to a particular venue. The response from the Palestinian Authority and the Muslim world was to say that Israel putting basic security equipment there was undermining what I described as the status quo; that putting security apparatus there was a desecration. They never referred to the murder of those two policemen as a desecration, or a defilement, but Israel's response in putting very basic security apparatus there was condemned in the strongest terms. People were provoked into a day of rage and violence to show their opposition to what Israel was doing and a Jewish family was slaughtered, three of them on their Friday night Shabbat, at their Sabbath table.

Paul: Won't these metal detectors actually protect Palestinians and all Israelis?

Steven: Totally. It's there to protect everyone who uses the Temple Mount, whether they are Muslims, Jewish or Christian visitors, or the security forces there. Anyone with a reasonable attitude would realise it is important to safeguard the security of people there. If you visit Mecca they have similar apparatus. If you visit the Vatican, again, there is similar security apparatus, but it became a matter of huge controversy when Israel tried to protect and safeguard people visiting the Temple Mount.

Paul: Israel has taken down the metal detectors. Is this pressure from around the world?

Steven: Absolutely. I am not privy to what exactly was said, but I should imagine Israel was told that it's relationship with Jordan, with which it has a peace treaty, would be at stake; that it's relationship with the wider Arab world was going to be undermined, so I should imagine the pressure was coming from all corners of this earth to say to Israel not to do something, which we would expect any reasonable Government to do.

Paul: Are you seeing signs of a third Intifada, or uprising?

Steven: That was certainly a major concern and I don't think we are out of the woods yet. There is no doubt that if the Muslim and Arab world wish to provoke another Intifada, they will say that the Jews are seeking to destroy the mosque. That is what we continually hear, that the Jews want the mosque flattened and want to take over. This is a very emotional cry that the likes of the President of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas, are saying. Hamas are saying it and Iran is saying it. They want to provoke another Intifada, even though they know that the brunt of that will be by who? By ordinary Palestinian people. It is a total disregard for the safety and well-being and the future betterment of Palestinians, of a younger generation of Palestinians who deserve a better future. But it's not going to come by Intifada. It's not going to come by spreading lies about Israel and the Jewish people. It will only come through peace and dialogue.

Paul: As an Orthodox Jew what is your prayer for the Temple Mount?

Steven: We are commanded by God as Jews and Christians, and all of earth, to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I know that Christians take that very seriously. That is a commandment from God, pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I can think of no better prayer for Jerusalem than that contained in the Psalms. CR

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