Why Was Mahmoud Abbas Avoiding the UN Secretary-General?

Sept. 8 2017

Last week, the UN secretary-general António Guterres visited Israel, Ramallah, and Gaza without meeting with the Palestinian Authority president, who was conveniently in Turkey to see President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pinḥas Inbari suggests that Abbas simply didn’t want to hear what Guterres had to say:

Guterres’s meeting, [Abbas’s aides believed], was to be a continuation of the visit of the U.S. delegation led by Jared Kushner that pressured Abbas to “behave himself” at the [upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly]. That meant not addressing the assembly with extreme anti-Israeli messages, not applying to the Security Council for status as an independent state in the UN, and not applying to UN agencies for membership.

The moderate Arab countries, . . . Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, . . . are pressuring Abbas along the same lines. . . . The point these Arab states are emphasizing is that “we are with Trump.” They demand the Palestinians align with their pro-Trump policy. . . .

There was a second reason why Mahmoud Abbas avoided seeing the UN secretary-general: Gaza. He knew that Guterres was about to plead with him to soften the PA’s sanctions against it, and he did not want to hear that message.

Indeed, the purpose of Abbas’s Turkey visit was to secure support for his Gaza policy, and, according to our sources, that visit failed. Abbas sought to tell Erdogan to handle Gaza only through Ramallah channels. He wanted to block Hamas’s bypassing of his sanctions by applying directly to Turkey for help. Erdogan, however, suggested instead that he will act as mediator because he has good relations “with both sides.” Hence, Erdogan put his fellow Muslim Brotherhood members, Hamas, on the same level with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Antonio Guterres, Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Turkey, United Nations


The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount