Israel Matzav has provided a very fascinating background to the "controversial" renovations going on at the Temple Mount. Most specifically,
After the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist institutions began to emphasize the Western Wall as a national symbol of the Jewish people, in addition to its religious significance. This action led the Mufti of Jerusalem to claim that the Jews intended to take control of the Western Wall, so he declared the Wall - with no religious or historical substantiation - a holy Moslem site. [Ed.: Now where have I heard that before?] This wall of stones, to which the Muslims ascribed no importance, was thenceforth called El Buraq, after the name of the magical horse of the Prophet Mohammed.
In the 1920s, the Mufti of Jerusalem ordered the opening of the Mughrabi Gate in the southern plaza, thus turning the prayer plaza from a cul-de-sac into a thoroughfare for passersby, who disturbed the worshipers. In August 1929, an incited Muslim mob rampaged through the opening torn by the Mufti in the south of the plaza, attacking the Jewish worshipers and destroying ritual objects. Several days later, the 1929 riots broke out. As a result of these riots, the British established a committee of investigation. The committeeâs report included a specific statement on the use of the El Buraq myth by the Mufti to incite the Arabs against the Jews.