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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 Palestinian National Movement Has Reached a Point of Crisis

With Hamas having failed to achieve anything through several weeks of demonstrations and violence, and Mahmoud Abbas reduced to giving rambling anti-Semitic speeches, Palestinian aspirations seem to have hit a brick wall. Elliott Abrams explains:

[Neither] Fatah [nor] Hamas offers Palestinians a practical program for national independence. . . . [The current situation] leaves Palestinians high and dry, with no way forward at all. Whatever the criticism of the “occupation,” Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. . . . There are only two other options. The first is the “one-state solution,” meaning union with Israel; but that is a nonstarter that Israel will reject no matter who is its prime minister. The other option is some kind of eventual link to Jordan.

In polite diplomatic society, and in Palestinian public discourse, such a link cannot be mentioned. But younger people who visit there, Palestinians have explained to me, can see a society that is half-Palestinian and functions as an independent nation with a working system of law and order. Jordanians travel freely, rarely suffer from terrorism, and [can vote in regular] elections, even if power is ultimately concentrated in the royal palace. The kingdom has close relations with all the Sunni states and the West, and is at peace with Israel.

The fundamental question all this raises is what, in 2018, is the nature and objective of Palestinian nationalism. Is the goal sovereignty at all costs, no matter how long it takes and even if it is increasingly divorced from peace, prosperity, and personal freedom? Is “steadfastness” [in refusing to compromise with Israel] the greatest Palestinian virtue now and forever? These questions cannot be debated in either Gaza or the West Bank. But as Israel celebrates 70 years and the “occupation” is now more than a half-century old, how much longer can they be delayed? . . .

The catastrophic mishandling of Palestinian affairs by generations of leaders from Haj Amin al-Husseini (the pro-Nazi mufti of the British Mandate period) to Yasir Arafat and now to Mahmoud Abbas has been the true Palestinian Nakba.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians