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Temple Mount Riots Past and Present

Aug. 10 2017

The recent Palestinian riots over Israel’s installation of metal detectors at the Temple Mount—a preventive measure in the wake of a terrorist attack and the discovery of large caches of arms being stored there—were hardly the first of their kind. Making some comparisons with other, similar outbreaks of violence, Manfred Gerstenfeld believes this won’t be the last:

In the past, the . . . Palestinian Authority (PA) was able to control riots. A typical case in point was the “al-Aqsa intifada” which began in late September 2000. Though presented as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, several Palestinian Liberation Organization and PA officials (including Marwan Barghouti) later admitted that the violence had been planned well in advance by Yasir Arafat. All that was required was a handy pretext to start it.

Since then, the stature in the western world of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has steadily increased. [But, in] contrast to his glowing image among Europeans, Abbas is seen by most Palestinians as very weak. His Fatah movement supported the riots, partly because it fears losing even more influence if it does not. He is playing a dangerous game, however. If the riots continue, Abbas may lose control over them. If it is true that he has canceled the PA’s security collaboration with Israel, [as he has claimed], he might find himself in immediate danger. If he is without the protection of the Israeli security services, it will be much easier for Hamas sympathizers to target him.

Another recurrent pattern is the abuse of holy or protected places. During Israel’s military campaigns against Hamas, the terrorist group often hid weapons in mosques, universities, and schools. . . . Still another . . . is the behavior of foreign media, which habitually turn aggressors into victims and vice-versa. . . .

The Temple Mount riots created a perfect [prototype for future violence]. Commit a crime against Israel related to al-Aqsa. If Israel reacts with enhanced security measures, incite rioting by declaring the mosque to be in danger.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada, Temple Mount

 

The Threats Posed to Israel by a Palestinian State

Oct. 23 2017

To the IDF reserve general Gershon Hacohen, the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank would, given the current circumstances of the Middle East, create a graver danger for the Jewish state than either Iran or Hizballah. More damaging still, he argues, is the attitude among many Israelis that the two-state solution is a necessity for Israel. He writes:

Since the Oslo process began in the fall of 1993, dramatic changes have occurred in the international arena. . . . For then-Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, Oslo was based on the superpower status of the U.S. . . . At the time, the Arabs were in a state of crisis and aware of their weakness—all the more so after the U.S. vanquished Iraq in the First Gulf War in the winter of 1991. . . . It was that awareness of weakness, along with the PLO leadership’s state of strategic inadequacy, that paved the way for the Oslo process.

[But] over the [intervening] years, the America’s hegemonic power has declined while Russia has returned to play an active and very influential role. . . .

Something essential has changed, too, with regard to expectations in the Israeli-Palestinian sphere. At first, in the early days of Oslo, the expectations were of mutual goodwill and reconciliation. Over the years, however, as the cycle of blood has continued, the belief in Palestinian acceptance of Israel in return for Israeli concessions has been transformed in the Israeli discourse into nothing more than the need to separate from the Palestinians—“They’re there, we’re here”—solely on our own behalf.

The more the proponents of separation have honed their efforts to explain to Israeli society that separation is mandated by reality, enabling Israel to preserve its identity as Jewish and democratic, the more the Palestinians’ bargaining power has grown. If a withdrawal from the West Bank and the establishment of a Palestinian state is a clear-cut Israeli interest, if the Israelis must retreat in any case for the sake of their own future, why should the Palestinians give something in return? . . . Hence the risk is increasing that a withdrawal from the West Bank will not only fail to end the conflict but will in fact lead to its intensification.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Oslo Accords, Russia, Two-State Solution