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January 2, 1998
Last December, when two Jewish terrorists were arrested for allegedly plotting to throw a pig's head onto the Temple Mount - an act of provocation intended to coincide with Ramadan prayers at the al-Aksa and Omar mosques there - Yasser Arafat noted that, "many times, we have warned of the attempts of Israeli extremists to defile al-Aksa and destroy it".
Indeed, over the years, several Jewish radicals have been jailed for planning to blow up the mosques, as a prelude to the rebuilding of a Jewish Temple of Herod on the site.
Now evidence has emerged of a more mainstream call for their destruction - a call issued by the chief rabbi of the Israeli army, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, just hours after Israel captured the Old City during the Six-Day War of 1967.
According to information that has come to light this week, the late Rabbi Goren, urged Uzi Narkiss, the commander of the Israeli troops in the Old City, to "put 100 kilograms of explosives into the mosque, so that we may rid ourselves of it once and for all". The mosque is the holiest shrine in Islam, after Mecca and Medina.
Major General Narkiss, who died last month, discussed the conversation
in an interview conducted a year ago, but insisted it not be published while
he was alive. He recalled that he firmly rejected Rabbi Goren's suggestion,
but that the rabbi was persistent: "Uzi, you'll go down in history
if you do this," Rabbi Goren told him, "You don't realize what
tremendous significance this would have.
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