Middle East pundits like to talk about the cycle of violence in the region, particularly in relation to the Israel-Palestinians conflict. But the truth is that the violence is not a cycle, it is a spiral, prodded and pushed and magnified at each level by the Palestinians and their leadership. (In a previous post (back in 2013!) I wrote about the “unicycle of violence“).
I saw the perfect graphic on Twitter illustrating this spurious “cycle” of violence, via Kirsten Stauffenberg: (click on the graphic to enlarge)
We see this spiral every day, but never so clearly as we have this week when, the Palestinians, incited and inflamed by their religious and political leadership, declared a day of rage at the chutzpah of Israel in installing metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount following the deadly terror attack last Friday.
As part of the security measures taken in the wake of the shooting to prevent further such attacks, police installed metal detectors at the entrance to the site, which Jerusalem police commissioner Yoram Halevi said were necessary for it to reopen. Friday’s gunmen, residents of the northern Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, emerged armed from the compound and opened fire on the police officers stationed outside.
Fatah on Monday called for marches in the West Bank toward Israeli checkpoints in protest of the new measures and announced that Friday prayers, when many worshipers go to the Temple Mount, would be conducted in public squares instead. The decision was made following a meeting between Fatah Revolutionary Council secretary Adnan Ghaith, Fatah central committee member Jamal Muheisin, and Fatah representatives from the northern West Bank.
The group said the measures were called in order to denounce Israeli “terrorist procedures” in the Old City, according to a report in Ma’an.
The officials called for maintaining the delicate status quo at the Temple Mount, denouncing a “fierce and organized attack” by Israel against East Jerusalemites.
Watch scenes from the Arab riots in Jerusalem on Tuesday night:
Dozens of Arabs rioted outside the gates of the Temple Mount on Tuesday evening and threw rocks and bottles at police.
Police dispersed the rioters using crowd dispersal measures. Two policemen were lightly injured.
In Ras al-Amud, rocks were thrown at a Border Police force. The officers are searching the area for suspects.
Channel 2 News reported that the chief preacher of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, said during the demonstration, “We are here to protect Al-Aqsa. I call on the Muslims to go to the mosque in large numbers on Friday.”
The riots continued on into Wednesday across Jerusalem:
By early Wednesday morning, the riots had spread to Silwan, near the City of David, where dozens of Arab rioters hurled fire bombs and stones at police and Border Police officers at a number of locations across the neighborhood. Rioters also shot fireworks at officers before being dispersed by security forces.
Rioters also attacked police Wednesday morning in the Arab neighborhood of Issawiya. Fire bombs were hurled at officers before the attackers were dispersed by security forces. No officers were injured in the attack.
One Israeli woman was injured after Arabs threw stones at a car near the Beit Orot neighborhood on the Mount of Olives.
The disturbances come hours before demonstrations planned as part of the “Day of Rage” declared by Palestinian Authority leaders and Muslim clerics in protest of new security measures put in place on the Temple Mount following last Friday’s terrorist attack.
The vile Mufti of Jerusalem fanned the flames as he warned Muslims that if they go through the metal detectors Allah will not hear their prayers. (Seriously!). Nevertheless many Muslims defied the Mufti’s orders and entered the Mount quietly after having gone through security.
Not only Muslims, but Jews too entered the Temple Mount freely. However after exercising their inalienable right to worship (at least one would think it was our inalienable right), the police temporarily closed the Mount to Jews:
Muslims began returning to the Temple Mount Wednesday, even as the Waqf continued to order worshipers away from the holy site in protest against the installation of metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount following the deadly terrorist attack at the holy site last Friday in which two Druze police officers were murdered.
Hundreds of Muslims passed through the upgraded security to visit the Temple Mount Wednesday.
… With the Waqf temporarily absent, Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount took the opportunity to exercise their freedom of religion, but were escorted off the Mount by police and detained.
After the two separate incidents of Jewish prayer on the Mount, Jerusalem Police Commander Yoram Levy ordered the Temple Mount closed to Jewish visitors.
“Following an additional violation of the visitation rules for the Temple Mount by a group of Jewish visitors who ascended the Mount, Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Levy ordered the group removed from the area and Temple Mount closed to Jewish visitors,” a police spokesperson said.
However, the site has since been reopened to Jews as long as they comply with the Waqf-imposed and Israeli police-enforced ban on Jewish prayer.
The Temple Mount was reopened to Jewish visitors Wednesday afternoon, after police had closed the holy site to Jews earlier this morning.
Jewish visitors were barred from visiting the holiest site in Judaism after police claimed several Jews “violated visitation rules” earlier on Wednesday.
Under the current rules, Jews are not allowed to engage in prayer on the Temple Mount, even silently, and are barred from bringing religious items with them, such as prayer books and tefillin (phylacteries).
Jewish visitors are usually escorted by officials from the Jordanian Waqf, the Islamic trust which manages the Muslim sites on the Mount. Waqf officials monitor Jews visiting the Mount to ensure that they do not approach the Muslim prayer areas or engage in prayer.
It was also just announced (via RRW) that the terrorists’ accomplice has been arrested:
New details have been released by Israel Police on last Friday’s terror attack at the Temple Mount.
Police have arrested the accomplice who helped the terrorists smuggle in the guns with which they murdered two Israeli police officers and wounded several others, according to Israel’s Channel 10 TV.
In addition, police have released the security footage that tracks the movements of the terrorists in the minutes prior to the attack.
The police have not identified the man and they blocked out his face in the video so he can’t be identified.
As the article above ntoes, if there had been metal detectors installed, this terror attack could not have taken place.
It must also be stressed that in the holiest place according to Islam, in Mecca, there are metal detectors and explosives detectors. And no Mufti or Muslim official declares that the prayers from Mecca are not going to go to Allah! Many other holy sites around the world, from the Vatican to Buddhist and Hindu sites and others also have metal detectors. Why is Israel singled out? (Rhetorical question, no prizes for the correct answer).
The question is, what next? Will Israel cave in to international pressure (surprise!) to remove the metal detectors? Given Netanyahu’s jelly-like behaviour in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised:
The London-based Arabic-language Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Thursday that the United States is proposing a compromise, whereby the magnetometers will be removed from the entrance to the compound, but visitors will be continue to be carefully inspected by Israeli security guards before being allowed to enter.
The newspaper quoted senior Palestinian Arab officials who claimed that there was agreement on their part to inspect suspicious persons only, but who stressed they would not agree to a situation in which every Arab entering the Temple Mount complex would be inspected.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear on Wednesday that the security measures on the Temple Mount will continue, but added that discussions are being held on how to do this optimally.
Meanwhile, the controversy over the magnetometers within the defense establishment is ongoing. The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) argues that there is no need for the magnetometers, while the police claim that they are necessary in order to assist in the prevention of terror.
On Wednesday night, the White House published a statement in which it expressed “concern” over the situation on the Temple Mount.
Maybe Netanyahu will withstand the pressure given that, very surprisingly, the Saudi Arabian King Salman intervened over the Temple Mount crisis, speaking much more responsibly than “our friends” the Jordanians:
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud personally intervened to end the closure of the Temple Mount following a terrorist attack at the site, according to an Arab media report on Tuesday.
King Salman, according to a report in the Saudi-owned and London- based Arabic news site Elaph, sent a message to Jerusalem via the White House, urging Israel to reopen the site to Muslim worshipers as soon as possible.
In return, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly sent back reassurances that he had no intention of altering the 50-year-old status quo at the site, according to which non-Muslims may visit but not pray at the site. Misinformation regarding Israeli plans to make changes to the status quo surfaces frequently, roiling the Palestinian street and angering the Arab world.
The source for the Saudi report defended the installation of the metal detectors at the gates to the Temple Mount, saying it had become “commonplace” at holy sites to because of terrorism, which attacks “without discrimination.”
Netanyahu reportedly expressed anger to King Abdullah II of Jordan over a comment made by the speaker of the Jordanian parliament, Atef Tarawneh, who praised the attackers and said a prayer for them during a parliamentary session.
Maybe the Mashiach really is on our doorstep at last. Jews can ascend freely to the Temple Mount without Waqf activists screaming epithets in their faces (albeit without permission to pray); the Saudis are intervening on our side in a religious crisis… all we need now is for the Temple to be rebuilt, speedily in our days, Amen!