Thursday, November 20, 2014

Unholy War


The recent attacks in Jerusalem are something a bit diff from the olde Little Satan is ruining the world by building apartments and bookstores on West Banker turf meme...

This is something new and dangerous: Allah — or at least some Islamist interpretation of Him — is driving events.

After weeks of enflaming Islamist passions, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is now trying to revert to his old “moderate” pose (he condemned the attack). It’ll be tough to pull off.

Maniacs wielding butcher knives and a pistol slew four rabbis (three US citizens plus a UK one) and a policeman during morning prayers at their neighborhood synagogue in the undisputedly Jewish part of Jerusalem

As he landed Tuesday in London, Secretary of State John Kerry said the murders were the “pure result of incitement.”

For once, he hit it right on the head, admonishing Palestinian leaders to “begin to take serious steps to restrain any kind of incitement that comes from their language.”

Too bad it takes this degree of viciousness for anyone outside Israel to finally awaken to the dangers of the inflammatory language that Abbas and his top lieutenants have favored lately.

Fatah, Abbas’ party, has for decades been considered the secular, and therefore moderate, faction of Palestinian politics. But lately Fatah’s support among Palestinians, never too high to begin with, has sunk to new lows.

Worse: ISIS meanwhile sucked the air out of the Palestinians’ old argument that their dispute with Israel tops all others in the Mideast.

Desperate to find a cause to revive his political fortunes and turn the world’s attention back, Abbas seized on the Holy Mosques of Jeruslaem.

Was there a crisis for him to confront?

After Israel captured the entire city in 1967, it vowed to allow equal access to all religions at their respective holy places.

As part of arrangements made back then, the area at the top of the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Holy Sanctuary (Haram al Sharif), is administered by the Waqf, a religious authority appointed by the king of Jordan. Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray there.

But now, several far-right Israeli politicians are pushing to change these arrangements, allowing  prayers.

After all, they argue, the Mount where the Temple stood has been the holiest site for Jews since centuries before Islam was even born.

All too aware of the explosive nature of any change to the status quo at the holy sites, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and much of the Israeli leadership told their right flank (and everyone else, including the Jordanians who manage the site): No dice. Won’t happen.

Yet the legislative attempts handed Abbas the pretext for the comeback issue he so craved. He started calling on Palestinians to defend the Holy Mosques by “any means,” and assure that Jews don’t desecrate them with their mere presence.

Some heeded the call by running cars over Jews waiting at Jerusalem train stations and bus stops. Others used guns and knives. At the end of October, a Palestinian man shot Yehuda Glick, an advocate for Jewish prayers on the Temple Mount, at point blank.

The gunman, Moataz Hejazi, was shot dead at the scene.

And Abbas, clad in ostentatious righteousness, sent a letter of “encouragement and support” to Hejazi’s family. After all, he was defending the Holy Mosques.

Misunderstanding the new dangers of a full-blown religious war, Washington and others issued well-worn statements of condemnations to “both sides.”

The New York Times led its news article on the Glick shooting by describing the victim as “an Israeli-American agitator” (and thus, hint hint, a legitimate target.)

Abbas, meanwhile, took his “defense” of Muslim holy sites to the world stage. 3

The Palestinian ambassador at the United Nations, Riad Mansour, convened the Security Council several times, calling on the world to end supposed Jewish “assaults” on Muslim holy sites (and, since a big lie works best, on Christian sites as well.)

True: Some far-right  flame-throwers contributed, torch­ing a West Bank mosque in the middle of the night. They were immediately condemned by all of Israeli society, from Netanyahu on down.

Abbas’ incitement, on the other hand, came at an especially sensitive time, with ISIS YouTube videos of triumphant throat-slashers exciting imaginations across the region.

The Jerusalem murderers could’ve easily exacted much greater casualties Tuesday had they used (readily available) machine guns rather knives and a handgun. But they chose butcher knives because ISIS has made chic again the weapons of the earliest cruelties in wars among monotheistic religions.

Abbas is no ISIS. He foolishly and irresponsibly tried to ride a religious tiger from which he’s trying to get off now.

But the Islamist fervors that grow in the entire region make this blunder more dangerous than any of his past, infamous missed opportunities. If he can’t get the religious-hysteria genie back in its bottle, watch out.

After all, this is Jerusalem, a city too holy for its own good.

And let’s stop pretending that Palestinians are prepared for a state. It’s not going to happen.

After the murder of five Jews Israelis (three of them American citizens and one of them a Druze) this week, “people fired celebratory gunshots in the air … and praise for God and the attackers poured from mosque loudspeakers soon after the synagogue shooting,” reported The New York Times.

 Fatah officials in Lebanon chimed in to let us know that: “Jerusalem needs blood in order to purify itself of Jews.” There were congratulatory message on Fatah’s official Facebook page and festive post-murder spree sweets for the kids.

 This celebration of death—whether dead babies or dead rabbis, it matters not—doesn’t only illustrate the colossal moral gulf that exists between these societies, it reminds us that any Palestinian government inclined to entertain a viable agreement with Jews wouldn’t last long, anyway.

Pic - "Palestinian Pogrom"