In the aftermath of the Har Nof shul terror attack there have been some outstanding pieces in the various media on the root causes of Palestinian rejectionism. Contrary to what most of the world believes, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not a territorial dispute. At base it boils down to “the Muslims don’t want us here in Israel. In fact they don’t want us to live at all, anywhere”. In other words it is a religious war against the Jews.
But, as David Horovitz in the Times of Israel says, Palestinians should know it’s not going to work: (emphases are mine).
“Jerusalem is starting to burn. Religious fervor is intensifying,” I wrote here less than two weeks ago. On a day when Palestinian terrorists chose to target Jews at prayer in a synagogue, the centrality of religious dispute to this latest iteration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now unmistakable.
And at the core of this new iteration, Tuesday’s attack made murderously clear, is Muslim intolerance — of the very notion that Jews have a religious connection to the Temple Mount, and by extension to Jerusalem and to Israel.
Because the final thing that has to be put in writing, even on a horrible, evil day like this, when the fingers loathe the necessity to tap the keyboard, is that it’s not going to work. Palestinian terrorists, and those who incite them and support them, should know: We are not going to be shot and stabbed and bludgeoned out of here by your brutality and the false justifications you invoke to legitimate it.
We stood firm during year upon year of Second Intifada terrorism, when you were blowing up our buses, malls, restaurants and supermarkets, and pragmatism could have dictated that we do what the terrorism was designed to make us do: flee. We do not insist on maintaining our majority Jewish state to the exclusion of your rights. Anything but. We seek co-existence. But your rights cannot be achieved by denying us ours.
For this is the homeland of the Jewish nation, the only place we have ever been sovereign or sought sovereignty. And what needs writing and saying, most especially on a terrible day like today, is that we will not be driven from it.
Similarly,the blogger Abu Yehuda notes the religious roots of the conflict and writes: This is the Jewish State, get used to it:
It’s time for a reevaluation of the relationship between Israel and the PA, as well as its Arab residents. I suggest that we start with the passage of the Basic Law that defines Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and follow up with the annexation of Area C, the parts of Judea and Samaria that are under Israeli control and where all the Jewish communities are. Areas A and B, where 97% of the Arabs live, can be granted political autonomy, but must remain under Israeli security control — borders, airspace, etc.
Is this a problem? Too bad. A completely sovereign ‘Palestine’ in the territories is inconsistent with the continued existence of a Jewish state. This is true regardless of the “aspirations of the Palestinian people.” This isn’t something that can be negotiated; it’s a fact of geography.
That’s it. No more ‘peace process’ that envisions a sovereign ‘Palestine’ in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Arabs were on the losing side of several wars and intifadas that they or their allies started. Those are the consequences. They can call it “Nakba 2.0″ if they want.
Finally, we need to send the message to our Israeli-Arab residents, particularly in eastern Jerusalem: this is the Jewish state — get used to it. We own it. The descendants of the 1948 Arab refugees are not coming back. The flag is the Magen David and the national anthem is Hatikva. If you can’t stand the lack of Arab or Muslim sovereignty, you can go to the PA areas or Gaza, or 22 other Arab states, or even Sweden for all we care. But if you want to live here and enjoy the benefits provided by the State of Israel to all of its citizens, Jews and Arabs, then you have to stop trying to kill Jews or overthrowing our state.
Varda Epstein at Israellycool wrote a powerful piece in which she captured the essence of the conflict. She expressed so eloquently exactly what I feel but find so hard to put into words: “It’s not about land, it never was”:
It was never about land. It was never about the Temple Mount.
I will tell you what it is about. You might scoff. But I will still be right.
I’ll be right about the root cause of the conflict. The conflict that began between two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac. One cast out, a bad influence.
The other, Abraham’s heir.
Two nations spawned, sprung from one father, two mothers. One nation chosen. The other nation scorned, spurned, JEALOUS, evil.
The Jews persist. They, we, refuse to die out, no matter how many of us they kill. Six million they killed, and still we lived. Live.
It makes everyone mad. It makes President Obama mad. Those Jews. He can’t say it out loud. Not where anyone can hear it. But you know he thinks it.
Europe, who wishes we would just go away and not remind them of their most primitive blood lust that can only be satisfied by persecuting Jews.
The Christians who resent us for not accepting the trinity. The Muslims who hate us for not being Muslim. The Temple Mount which refuses to stretch the truth to include a revisionist history in which Jesus did not drive out moneychangers and usurers from Al Aqsa. A Temple twice destroyed. Artifacts ignored.
…Except they fail. We are not easily eradicated.
We will not let them drown out the truth with their idiotic notions: Peace with Arafat. Peace in which Jews are forbidden entry to this village or that within the land God gave them. Two states on Jewish land will not please God. Two states is a euphemism. A solution that is The Final Solution.
The solution that will solve The Jewish Problem which is the Jews’ refusal to die out like any other normal people. The insistence on remaining a living part of humanity on God’s green earth. The Jewish refusal to roll over into the sea.
But even if we agreed, were forced to jump off a cliff into raging waters, would it matter? Did God not split the sea that we might live?
It was never about land. There is plenty of land to go around. Masses of land. Twenty-two Arab states. Oil-rich, filthy rich, Muslim Arab land. Plenty of room for their brethren.
But only one tiny sliver of land that is ours.
Read it all.
Arlene Kushner approaches the issue from a different angle. Although she identifies the religious and political roots of the violence, she advises to tread cautiously on the Temple Mount while exerting our sovereignty in all of Jerusalem:
I do not believe that attempting to seize control of the Temple Mount now would be a constructive act.. I have written extensively about the fact that King Abdullah of Jordan sits uneasily on his throne. Were he to be toppled, he would be replaced by jihadis and radicals – and this would definitely not be in our best interest. What is more, we have a relationship with Jordan that is valuable in a host of other ways.
One of the ways Abdullah maintains political strength and commands respect from the people is by demonstrating that he – via the Jordanian Wakf – exercises control on the Mount and is able to confront Israel. He makes a great show of this. And while it is not to my liking, I do understand it. To undercut Abdullah now, while the region is in such ferment, would be unwise.
Do I think what Moshe Dayan did was deplorable? Yes. Do I believe Jews should have full and equal rights on the Mount? Absolutely. But what was done badly in the past must be undone when the time is right.
More to the point, I believe, is exercising full Israeli sovereignty and control over all Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. Not incidentally, this includes effective control over Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives) and the ancient Jewish cemetery there, where we are still seeing Arab vandalism and destruction of graves.
The need to be strong – to make the Arabs fear us – is a point I’ve already made.
We need to bring out the army and have an on-going military presence in the city. Checkpoints, if necessary, at intersections leading in and out of the most troublesome neighborhoods. There should be a situation in which Arabs with knives and cleavers are likely to be caught before they use their weapons. They should at least know they cannot walk around with such weapons with impunity.
We need to increase our intelligence and behave proactively to bring in people plotting attacks before they are reality – with preventative detention of agitators.
There are caches of guns in Arab areas of Jerusalem, and they need to be searched out and confiscated. I find it deplorable that this has not yet been done.
Naftali Bennett gave an interview on Army Radio today in which he espoused this sort of approach.
We should not active defensively, he says, but go on the attack, just as we did to put down terrorism in Arab areas of Judea and Samaria, in 2002, in Operation Defensive Shield. Terror infrastructure must be rooted out.
It is time to openly conceptualize the PA and Abbas as the enemy, not as a potential partner, whom the world is waiting for us to sit down and talk to as soon as matters settle down. Passing the law establishing Israel as a Jewish state is a part of this thinking.
Simmering under the surface is the issue of our jurisdiction in Area C in Judea and Samaria – over which, according to Oslo, we were to have civil and military control. I cannot say this is a question of sovereignty, because – unfortunately – we have not declared sovereignty in this area (yet). But it is a close second, in terms of losing our prerogatives in an area over which we were supposed to have control. And this, in my opinion, is directly connected to the governmental mental set (which must change now) regarding such matters as slipshod control over certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
No one said this was going to be easy to sort out. Or to make right.
Read the rest of her thought-provoking article.
This Jerusalem Post editorial sums up the general Israeli feelings about this religious war:
Ever since Israel’s founding the pretext for killing Jews is Jewish sovereignty on land deemed to belong to Muslims, no matter what the borders. Even the ultra-Orthodox Jews of Har Nof and who have traditionally opposed political Zionism are legitimate targets for Palestinian murderers. Haredi spiritual leaders such as Chief Sephardi Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef have even implored Jews not to go up on the Temple Mount so as not to enrage Muslims.
The obscenity of what transpired Tuesday morning in Har Nof’s Kehilat Yaakov Synagogue cannot be explained away by glib terms like “despair” or “occupation.” There are millions of people living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan – Jewish, Muslim, and Christian – who may fall into despair without resorting to heinous crimes like the one perpetrated in Har Nof.
Nor does the murder of innocent civilians advance the Palestinian cause. Religious Jews wrapped in prayer shawls and phylacteries lying in pools of their own blood on the floor of a synagogue is an instantly recognizable image – not just for Jews. It conjures up centuries of violent anti-Semitism and places the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the context of just another example of irrational – and therefore incurable – Jew hatred. It seems to prove to Jewish Israelis that there is really nothing to talk about with the Palestinians, let alone a peace agreement that must of necessity rest on mutual trust.
I would add that the standard battle cry of Arab terrorists is the proof that their hatred is for Jews – not “just” Israelis. They scream “Itbah al-Yahud!” – Slaughter the Jews! – as they rush to murder us. You will never hear them shout “Itbah al-Israili” or “Itbah al Zioni”.
It’s the “Yahud” with whom they have a problem. The feeling is mutual.