Upping the ante at Al-AqsaNot being in Jerusalem, I can't comment firsthand on what is going on there, but it appears that another account of these same events is covered here. I note also that Khaled Amayreh's account is perhaps nuanced by the photo accompanying the essay, whose caption reads, "Palestinian youths hurl stones towards Israeli riot policemen during clashes in Jerusalem's old city on Sunday."
Despite Arab government denials, Muslim officials on the ground confirm Jewish extremists are escalating plans to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem
Government-backed Jewish religious extremists have stepped up their efforts to seize a foothold at Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade in East Jerusalem, ostensibly in order to erect there a Jewish temple.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the three holiest Islamic sanctuaries. The other two are the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet Mohamed's Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia.
On Sunday, 25 October crack Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa site, firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at Muslim worshipers. The troops also savagely beat Palestinian worshipers, including women and children. The paramilitary police, known as the Border Guard, also briefly shut off the Noble Sanctuary (the 141,000-square metre court housing Islamic holy places), barring Muslims from accessing the site.
More than 20 were injured, some badly, and dozens of others arrested. The Israeli occupation authorities also cut off electricity to the Old City of Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Many Jews believe that the ancient Temple of Solomon stood where Al-Aqsa Mosque was built more than 1,300 years ago. Destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque and building a Jewish temple in its place is said by some extremists to be a condition for the second coming of Christ.is carefully worded to try to leave doubt that there was a Jewish Temple on the site. It's not quite Temple denial, but it is disingenuous. (Cf. "Temple Mount" in scare quotes later on.) This paragraph and the article in general seems to toss around the term "extremist" pretty freely. I would not call someone an "extremist" unless they were taking, well, extreme (i.e., violent or inciting to violence) steps to try to force the rebuilding of the Temple. There are people who are exercising their free speech to call for its rebuilding (e.g., here). I think they are misguided and politically unhelpful, for reasons explained at the link, but it's a little much to call them extremists. Likewise, people on both sides have the right to engage in peaceful protests. Those on either side engaging in violent ones are only damaging their own cause.
As for this:
Earlier, the Israeli media reported that Israel was planning a "major archaeological excavation under Al-Buraq Court", renamed "the Western Wall plaza". Historically, the place had always been part of Al-Aqsa Mosque until the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967. The excavation, Muslim leaders argue, could seriously destabilise the foundations of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other nearby historic Muslim structures. Israeli officials pay little or no attention to Muslim protests and often invoke the mantra that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal and undivided capital.There are no plans to dig under the Al-Aqsa Mosque. On this see, for example, here and here.
Adnan Al-Husseini is the head of the Supreme Muslim Council, the body overseeing and running the Haram Al-Sharif compound. He accuses Israel of "planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque by way of digging subterranean tunnels in its vicinity."