Middle East Forum director Gregg Roman appeared on Al-Jazeera English on October 6, alongside Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, and Ian Black, the Middle East editor of the Guardian newspaper, to discuss the recent tensions at the Temple

Middle East Forum director Gregg Roman appeared on Al-Jazeera English on October 6, alongside Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, and Ian Black, the Middle East editor of the Guardian newspaper, to discuss the recent tensions at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. See video at right.

Excerpt

Abunimah: With all respect, I don't agree with Ian Black that these things are irreconcilable. If it were a matter of access for religious communities, as he said, that has been managed for centuries. Muslims, Christians, and Jews had access to Jerusalem. What is causing the problem is Israel's violent and aggressive colonization of Jerusalem ...

moderator: Ok, Gregg, I want to bring you in here ...

Abunimah (interrupting): ... and more broadly the West Bank. And its claim that it alone should control everything.

moderator: If we could just let Gregg respond to your fears. Are they realistic? Is the destruction of Al-Aqsa mosque imminent with the arrival of these Jewish settler groups, these Jewish activist groups, coming onto the compound ...

Ali Abunimah (left) and MEF Director Gregg Roman

Abunimah (interrupting): I didn't say imminent.

moderator: Ok, but is it a possibility, then?

Roman: It's not a possibility. Mr. Abunimah sounds more like a spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad when he uses these vile accusations of the "judaization" of Jerusalem. The fact ...

Abunimah (interrupting): Personal insults don't get you ...

Roman: The fact is that Mr. Abunimah has a very short memory. When we look at 1967, or the time period between 1948 to 1967, the illegal occupation of Jerusalem by the Jordanian government violated the UN resolution that established the state of Israel. There was supposed to be shared use of religious sites, there was supposed to be shared residency between the Islamic areas, between the Christian areas, between the Jewish areas, and between the Armenian areas.

I think that the bottom line of what we're looking at here is that Mr. Abunimah has a problem with freedom of religion and freedom of movement.