Former PM's spokesman tells ‘Post’: Sharon knew Palestinians were planning violence, but wanted to show he wouldn’t compromise on J’lem.
29 September '10
Future prime minister Ariel Sharon was told by his spokesman Ra’anan Gissin that visiting the Temple Mount could be used by Palestinians as an excuse for violence, Gissin said Tuesday on the 10th anniversary of Sharon’s controversial visit.
Palestinians began throwing rocks immediately after Sharon left the compound. The Palestinians called the uprising that began the “Al-Aksa intifada,” even though an IDF sergeant critically wounded in a bomb attack the day before Sharon’s visit is considered the first victim of the wave of violence, and Palestinian officials have admitted that then- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had planned the intifada months before.“It was a sensitive time during the High Holy Days and at the end of Ramadan,” Gissin said. “I told him the situation was tense in the West Bank and that [Palestinian general Tawfik] Tirawi’s people were planning to do something on the Temple Mount, whether the trigger would be Sharon or something else. Sharon knew he was playing into their hands, but he went in a clear-headed manner to prove that he wouldn’t compromise on Jerusalem and that Israel would stand up for its rights.”
The initiator of the wave of violence, Marwan Barghouti, later told the Al-Hayat newspaper that he had decided that Sharon’s visit would be the most appropriate moment for the outbreak of the intifada.
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