Mr. Yousef wasn't fully activated until the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000. A few months before at Camp David, the late PLO chief Yasser Arafat had turned down the Israeli offer of statehood on 90% of the West Bank with East Jerusalem as the capital. According to Mr. Yousef, Arafat decided he needed another uprising to win back international attention. So he sought out Hamas's support through Sheikh Yousef, writes his son, who accompanied him to Arafat's compound. Those meetings took place before the Palestinian authorities found a pretext for the second Intifada. It came when future Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Mr. Yousef's account helps to set straight the historical record that the uprising was premeditated by Arafat.
And here it comes again:
The Organization of the Islamic Conference on Saturday called the fighting one day earlier between Israel Police officers and Muslim worshippers on the Temple Mount "a sacrilegious act of profanation of the holy Islamic site," according to French news agency AFP. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Jeddah-based pan-Islamic body, called for international intervention to end what he described as "Israeli aggression."
Israeli police stormed the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif plateau after Muslims who participated in Friday prayers threw stones at Jews praying at the Wailing Wall underneath the compound. Some 50 policemen entered the open-air plateau, which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque, and fired stun grenades to disperse at the crowd. Around 60 of the several hundred protesters were treated for teargas inhalation, near 15 policemen were slightly injured and five of them taken to hospital.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Friday's events could damage the chances of resuming the peace process.