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.