The Palestinian Authority Deliberately Provoked Sunday’s Jerusalem Riots

On Sunday, Tisha b’Av—the traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples—coincided with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. While the Israeli government had initially banned Jews from the Temple Mount on that day, it later reversed its decision and allowed a few dozen to visit. Muslim worshippers greeted them by throwing chairs and stones, and police had to quell the riot by force. Just yesterday, an Israeli policeman was stabbed nearby. Maurice Hirsch and Itamar Marcus place the blame for Sunday’s violence squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinian Authority:

In an attempt to disrupt Jews’ right to access the Mount, the Palestinian Authority (PA) took a number of steps, including changing the times of the Muslim prayers and calling for mosques around Jerusalem to remain closed in order to “recruit” as many people as possible to defend the site against the [Jewish] “invasions.”

While the published schedule for the five daily Muslim prayers set the first prayer time for 4:29 am, the second for 5:56 am, and the third for 12:44 pm, the PA-appointed grand mufti decided to delay the second prayer to 7:30. The [purpose for doing so] was to ensure that as many people [as possible] would be present on the Temple Mount when Jews were scheduled to start arriving. . . .

Broadcasting from the Temple Mount, PA television showed how this tactic had succeeded and that, as the Jews were planning to enter the Mount through the Mughrabi Gate, crowds of Palestinians gathered at the site in order to prevent them from passing through. When the time came [for the Jews to arrive], the mufti called for an impromptu prayer session at the entrance to the gate. . . .

In anticipation of the violence, last week the PA’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates prepared the official narrative in advance, blaming the violence on President Donald Trump’s decisions regarding Jerusalem and the international community’s silence regarding the so-called “Judaization” of the al-Aqsa mosque.

Read more at Palestinian Media Watch

More about: Palestinian Authority, Temple Mount, Tisha b'Av


If Iran Goes Nuclear, the U.S. Will Be Forced Out of the Middle East

The International Atomic Energy Agency reported in May that Iran has, or is close to having, enough highly enriched uranium to build multiple atomic bombs, while, according to other sources, it is taking steps toward acquiring the technology to assemble such weapons. Considering the effects on Israel, the Middle East, and American foreign policy of a nuclear-armed Iran, Eli Diamond writes:

The basic picture is that the Middle East would become inhospitable to the U.S. and its allies when Iran goes nuclear. Israel would find itself isolated, with fewer options for deterring Iran or confronting its proxies. The Saudis and Emiratis would be forced into uncomfortable compromises.

Any course reversal has to start by recognizing that the United States has entered the early stages of a global conflict in which the Middle East is set to be a main attraction, not a sideshow.

Directly or not, the U.S. is engaged in this conflict and has a significant stake in its outcome. In Europe, American and Western arms are the only things standing between Ukraine and its defeat at the hands of Russia. In the Middle East, American arms remain indispensable to Israel’s survival as it wages a defensive, multifront war against Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hizballah. In the Indo-Pacific, China has embarked on the greatest military buildup since World War II, its eyes set on Taiwan but ultimately U.S. primacy.

While Iran is the smallest of these three powers, China and Russia rely on it greatly for oil and weapons, respectively. Both rely on it as a tool to degrade America’s position in the region. Constraining Iran and preventing its nuclear breakout would keep waterways open for Western shipping and undermine a key node in the supply chain for China and Russia.

Diamond offers a series of concrete suggestions for how the U.S. could push back hard against Iran, among them expanding the Abraham Accords into a military and diplomatic alliance that would include Saudi Arabia. But such a plan depends on Washington recognizing that its interests in Eastern Europe, in the Pacific, and in the Middle East are all connected.

Read more at National Review

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy