With Turkish Help, Islamism Takes Hold in Eastern Jerusalem

According to a recent, detailed study published in the Hebrew-language journal Hashiloach, radical Islamic organizations are rapidly gaining influence and popularity in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Many such organizations are sponsored by Ankara, which aims to supplant both Jordan as the guardian of the Muslim holy places on the Temple Mount and the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the source of political legitimacy in the city. David M. Weinberg writes:

[T]here has been very significant erosion in the status of the veteran eastern Jerusalem mukhtars [local elders] and the influence of Fatah political infrastructures and Palestinian Authority leaders. Into the vacuum have stepped elements identified with Hamas, with the northern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel [which routinely encourages violence against Jews], and with the Muslim Brotherhood in general.

Through a series of civic associations, nonprofits, and grassroots organizations, sometimes at the neighborhood level and sometimes more extensive, [Islamists] are investing tens of millions of dollars per year in dawa (missionary) activities, mainly charitable enterprises and educational programs to attract the young to [radical] Islamic values. There is a direct line, say the [study’s] authors, from civic dawa to radicalization and active enlistment in the armed struggle against Israel. . . .

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, which is the worldwide Muslim Brotherhood’s main patron, . . . now enjoys unprecedented popularity among the residents of eastern Jerusalem. . . . The Turks’ public support of the Palestinian cause and adoption of the al-Aqsa issue, and their decision to inject millions of dollars into eastern Jerusalem, have won them great sympathy and support. . . .

The enlarged foreign presence in the heart of Israel’s capital touches the deepest chords of the issue of Israeli sovereignty in the eastern part of the city. . . . While significant security action and determined diplomatic maneuver are clearly mandated, Israel will have to do more to “recapture” eastern Jerusalem. It will have to assume full responsibility for the services that eastern Jerusalem Arab residents need, with major budgetary repercussions.

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Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: East Jerusalem, Islamism, Israel & Zionism, Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinians, Turkey

 

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia