Palestinians, Not Israeli Police, Are Desecrating al-Aqsa Mosque

Listening to National Public Radio or the British Broadcasting Company, one might be aware that Israeli security personnel entered the Muslim sanctuaries on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday, were involved in “clashes” that left over 150 people injured, and arrested some 500 Palestinians. One might not realize, however, that the trouble began when Palestinians started throwing rocks and otherwise attacking nearby Jewish worshippers and Israeli police. But there is even more to the story, as David Horovitz explains:

Tens of thousands of Palestinian Muslim worshippers, including many from the West Bank, gathered at the Aqsa compound atop the Temple Mount, said their midday prayers, and headed quietly back home again on Friday in the early afternoon.

The difference, it should not need saying, is that the midday worshippers had genuinely gathered to say their prayers on the second Friday of Ramadan, and that’s what they did. The young Palestinians who rioted hours earlier, by contrast, had come to fight.

They had assembled piles of rocks and stones and barricaded themselves inside al-Aqsa mosque in preparation for the violence. Some had Hamas flags with them—incited by and affiliating themselves with the Islamist terror group that, with similar cynicism and indifference to true faith, has used Gaza’s mosques to store rockets when engaged in conflict with a Jewish state it openly seeks to destroy. And as with Hamas in Gaza, while ostensibly guarding their religion and its third-holiest shrine, the rioters were actually dishonoring it.

You only had to look at their feet: the stone-throwers who clashed with Israeli security forces in and around al-Aqsa Mosque had their shoes on—in breach of the Islamic tradition to remove impure footwear when entering the house of prayer.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian terror, Ramadan

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy