The Arab propaganda (including Jordan which has custodianship of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem) is claiming Israel doesn’t respect worshippers and international law safeguarding Arab rights. East Jerusalem tensions have resulted in clashes between Police and Palestinians on the Temple Mount around the Muslim Al-Aqsa mosque, at the height of the Ramadan fasting month.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was safeguarding the right of worship but would not tolerate rioting in the compound of the Temple Mount that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel was forced to take police action against rioters in Jerusalem.
No one is talking about the elections in the PA west bank, the first since 2006, that were supposed to take place at the end of May. (They are now delayed indefinitely.) Abbas, the president of the PA territory was concerned that if the election went forward as scheduled, his party, Fatah, might lose ground to two Fatah splinter groups, and Hamas would take over the territories, as it did in Gaza.
Abbas had to prove to the young radical Palestinians he can be as anti-Zionist as Hamas. He knows the formula of firing up his young people – spreading fake news about Israel trying to take over the Temple Mount by “storming” their holy Al-Aqsa mosque. Adding to the fuel is his denial that the Temple Mount was ever the site of the Jewish Holy Temples. This is the same fiction -perpetrated by his predecessor, Yasser Arafat. Their policy is to reject any history or facts connecting the Jews to Jerusalem. Hamas in Gaza took advantage of the situation to target Jerusalem.
Fake news that the Jews aim to destroy Al-Aqsa and replace it with the Third Temple has been going on for years. Regardless of evidence refuting it, once a lie is repeated many times and spread, it becomes a fact to those who wish to believe it.
The reality is that even when an Israeli politician wishes to visit the Temple Mount, he must get permission from a PA Preventive Security Service officer, as did Ariel Sharon in 2000, a visit that ignited the second Intifada (Palestinian uprising in the West Bank) which went on for four years with many suicide bombings and killing of many innocent Israeli citizens.
It is preposterous but true, that any Israeli, even a high-ranking government official, must request permission from an Arab minor ranking officer to enter the holiest Jewish site in the world. Or because he does, it will cause a bloody outburst of violence.
The Palestinian youth continue to accept the fabrication of this fake news as being true. The fake news continues to claim that the Jewish state does not allow the Muslims to pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque when the truth is that Jews, not Muslims are forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount. Israel’s law grants freedom of worship to all religions. Any statement to the contrary is just an excuse to carry out an intifada, which was most certainly planned in advance.
- At this time, even Jordan blames Israel for allowing right-wing religious Jews entry into the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on the Temple Mount, claiming it provokes Muslim passions and raises the risk of igniting the area. “Israel’s illegal actions have dangerous repercussions on the stability of the region.”
- Another cause for the clashes is the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face eviction. Jordan’s King Abdullah II (whose Hashemite family claims descent from Islam’s Prophet Mohammad and draws legitimacy from its custodianship role) accused Israel of attempting to change the demographic status of the holy city, which contains sites sacred to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Jordan had earlier provided the Palestinians with land deeds in Sheikh Jarrah stating it proves previous Israeli owners’ claims to the property are groundless. “The eviction of Palestinians of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes is a war crime.”
Several hundred Jordanians protested near the fortified Israeli embassy in Jordan’s capital, yelling “Death to Israel” and calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador while opposing the unpopular peace treaty with Israel. Many citizens in Jordan are of Palestinian origin.
The Legal Battle in Sheikh Jarrah
What is the legal battle over property rights in Sheikh Jarrah?
The plots in dispute were purchased by a Jewish endowment before Israel’s Independence in 1948.
After the 1948 partition of Jerusalem into east and west, with the Israel-Jordan border dividing them, the Jordanians took possession of the Old City of Jerusalem and gave the area of Sheikh Jarrah land to some Palestinians.
After the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel won control of the entire city, Israeli laws were made allowing Jewish-owned land to be reclaimed from the Palestinians. The Jewish owners then began claiming property inhabited by Palestinian families, some of whom are now facing eviction from homes that they have lived in since 1948.
Last Friday, right-wing Israeli Knesset member, Itamar Ben-Gvir, visited the neighborhood to announce he would be opening his parliamentary office there. That provoked more protests and violence.
The legal dispute in this East Jerusalem neighborhood must be resolved on a governmental level. The government cabinet could rule that the land and homes in question remain in the possession of the Palestinian residents. However, at this time, there is no functioning government, and the responsibility to resolve the dispute falls to the Israeli Supreme Court, which has a majority of left-wing judges that rule most of the time contrary to the ruling of the government.
Right-wing Religious Jews on the Temple Mount?
Anticipating riots and violence on the Temple Mount, Jerusalem police decided to cordon off the area outside the Damascus Gate and entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound last week to guard the place but ended clashing with Palestinian protesters.
The riots caused the Police to limit buses carrying Israeli Arab worshippers into Jerusalem for prayers on Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of the Muslim calendar.
Muslim worshipers pray outside in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Saturday night.
As violent as the riots became in the following days, the Israeli police deserve credit for not using deadly force.
A New Intifada
Last week, Hamas’ leaders announced their detailed plans to open a new intifada against Israel on May 9. May 9 was an excuse based upon a combination of three events: Jerusalem Day – Israel’s annual national day celebrating the unification of Jerusalem in 1967; Muslims marked the holiest day of the month of Ramadan, and Iran (who supports Hamas) marked its own Jerusalem Day, the purpose of which is to call for the destruction of Israel and end Jewish rule in Jerusalem.
Hamas’s leaders kept their word. The combination of Arab violence in Sheikh Jarrah, the Damascus Gate, and the Temple Mount, along with balloon bombs and rocket launches againisIsrael from Gaza, arson fires, and terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria, are precisely what Hamas’ leaders said would transpire.
What About Fatah (the PA)?
Fatah (the Palestinian authority party in the territories of Judea and Samaria a.k.a. “The West Bank,”) for its part has been a full participant in the violence. The PA took credit for the drive-by shooting of three young Jewish students at a bus stop in Samaria last Monday, who were critically wounded. One of them died of his wounds three days later, and the other two are still fighting for their lives.
In 63 BC, Judea became a protectorate of Rome under the administration of a governor but was allowed a king. The governors were corrupt and often would attempt to squeeze as much revenue as possible from the citizens of their regions and take for themselves as much money as possible.
Jerusalem, the capitol city of the only remaining Jewish nation, was totally destroyed in 70 AD following the Romans’ victory over Judah’s Great Revolt against Roman rule over the Jewish nation. It is estimated that as many as one million Jews were killed in this Great Revolt against Rome and many were sold into slavery outside the country.
The Great Revolt of 66-70 AD and the Bar Kokhba revolt that followed 80 years later, were the greatest calamities in Jewish history before the Holocaust. A large part of the Jewish population was either massacred or exiled, and these failed rebellions resulted in total loss of Jewish political authority in Israel and Judah for over 2,000 years until 1948.
After the last revolt, the conquering Romans annexed Judea as a Roman province, and changed the name to Syria-Palestina (later known as Palestine), and built on the ruins of the destroyed Jerusalem the Roman city they called Aelia Capitolina. All this was an attempt to remove any connection of the Jewish people to the land and the city. The Romans systematically drove the Jews out of Palestine. That began the history of the Diaspora as the Jewish people spread over Africa, Asia, and Europe. Some Jews remained and became a minority in their own land.
In the 7th century, the new religion of Islam spread throughout the known world. Palestine and Jerusalem were conquered by the Muslims. They built on the Temple mount their Mosques.
When the Zionist movement started in Europe in the late 19th century, and as a result of great persecution of the Jews in Eastern Europe, Jewish pioneers immigrated to Palestine and started building the land which was occupied by the Turkish Muslim Othman Empire. These new immigrants bought land to build settlements and cities. The British claimed authority of the land under a League of Nations Mandate (temporary keepers) after Germany, and its Muslim ally Turkey capitulated ending WWI. The French and British as victors divided the spoils of war.
All of this time, there were Jews who lived in Jerusalem. After Israel won the war of Independence in 1948, the Old City of Jerusalem (as well as the territories of Judea and Samaria) fell into the hands of Jordan. The Jews who lived in the old city, including the area that is called now Sheikh Jarrah, were evicted from their homes and fled to Israeli West Jerusalem. The Arabs took possession and began squatting on the Jews’ property.
After Israel won the 1967 Six-Day War, the old city was united with the new City and Israel elected to reinforce its historic and legal rights to reclaim Jewish property and holy sites.
To reassure the Arabs that Israel had no intention to change the Status Quo, then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s made the infamous decision to allow the Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism, as well as the site of important mosques – to remain in the hands of the Waqf, a Muslim religious authority. Ironically, freedom of religion was observed everywhere except on the Temple Mount where Jews were forbidden to pray and restricted in their visits to the site. The Muslims abhorred the Jew’s “filthy feet” even walking on their “Holy Grounds.”
Even though Dayan believed that he acted in the country’s best interests, it set a precedent that led to the Arab Muslims claiming possession of the entire site.
In 1967, Israel passed a law permitting Jews to recover property lost to them in the 1948 war. As far as Sheikh Jarrah was concerned, it eventually led to a long, drawn-out legal case in which Jews sought to recover this property from Arabs who had been living on it for decades without legal title or paying rent.
Now, as the case is about to be heard by Israel’s Supreme Court, there is a concern that pictures of “poor” Arab Palestinians being evicted from what is considered their homes would be bad for
Israel’s image. The world, including the US, still equates Israel to the Palestinians. “Both sides” are urged to do their best to avoid violence, even though it’s only the Palestinians who are rioting at the site and bombarding Israel with rockets and missiles.
While the Jews who own the four houses in question in Sheikh Jarrah have the law on their side, it would be better for Jewish security that they lose their case. They believe that evicting the illegal Arabs occupying the premises will do more harm than good since enforcing the law will only provide an excuse for more violence.
Arab refugees fled the country in 1948 and 1967, mainly because their leaders urged them to get out to avoid the fighting and promised them to win the next time when they would be able to return and have even more property once the Jews had been driven into the sea. A much fewer number of Arabs were driven out by Israel as a result of bitter fighting during the war. An Israeli law canceled the property rights of those who left to go to an enemy country, which applied to all of the Arab refugees.
The world forgets the fate of more than 800,000 Jews from Arab and Muslim lands who were expelled from their homes after Israel became a nation and their possessions confiscated. They were never offered compensation for their losses.
Even if Jews have the right to recover their property in Jerusalem, does this mean that it is wise to do so at this time? It will and did, stir up resentment, both among Palestinians and foreign opponents of Israel.
By giving in to the Arab invaders, Israel may gain a period of quiet; however, as with the case of Dayan and the Temple Mount, at the end of the day, it will not serve Israel’s best interest, and violence will continue as the militant Palestinians like Hamas, will always find an excuse to fight Israel, whose stated goal is that one day the Land of Israel and Jerusalem will be theirs.