Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, East Jerusalem has been smoldering in unrest. Palestinian youngsters are throwing stones, fire-crackers and vandalizing the light rail train in East Jerusalem. Adding to the increasing violence, individual Palestinian terrorists have been ramming their vehicles into innocent bystanders, waiting for the light rail train to transport them. If this is not enough, the terrorist drivers of these vehicles abandon them and go on a stabbing spree, stabbing people wherever and whenever they can. They seem to be one up on the police in achieving their goal of terror.
All this violence occurs because of the propaganda of Hamas and Islamic Jihad that Israel wishes to change the "status quo" of the Al Aqsa mosque, which is not true. If it would not be this assumption, these terrorist organizations would find something else. The bottom line is the desire for the destruction, non-recognition of the “Zionist Entity” is top priority, and nothing on earth will change that mantra. Many in the Palestinian leadership, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and probably some members of Fatah, have similar fantasies of the destruction of Israel. According to the Shin Bet Chief, Yoram Cohen, Mahmoud Abbas is is not inciting terror. Mahmoud Abbas even came out in condemnation of the murder of Jews praying in the Har Nof Synagogue in Jerusalem.
The more the Israeli Government refuses to negotiate with the Palestinians and threatens to increase settlement activity in the territories as well as increases the use of force, the more it plays in the hands of the Palestinians and their supporters.
The only solution to the conflict is by negotiations. Palestinian violence, bloodshed, and retaliation by Israel are no solution. As mentioned in my last article, President Mahmoud Abbas is taking an extreme position in order to bring Hamas supporters back to the Fatah fold and thus increase his sagging support. He is even using cliché’s like "religious war" over Al Aqsa and even showing signs of "out-Hamasing" Hamas in rhetoric.
There is tension even between Jewish and Arab Israelis because of t.... The reaction of Arab citizens of Israel of Kfar Kanna went viral in many Arab villages resulting in violent demonstrations.
This proves that successive Israeli Governments have failed to achieve a common patriotism towards Israel that is inclusive of all Israel's citizens. It is during these times of tension when the true test of patriotism of Israel’s non-Jewish minorities is called.
The pandering to the extreme right wing in the coalition, building more settlements and asserting the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount despite the ruling of the Chief Rabbinate that it is against halacha, are catalysts for violence and bloodshed between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel has occupied the West Bank for many years now and has not improved conditions of living of the Palestinians there. Overcrowding, severe poverty, poor infra-structures, poor education and unemployment are the ingredients for violence. The Israeli Government shows insensitivity to the conditions of Palestinians in the refugee camps around East Jerusalem. The constant nationalist rhetoric of the extreme right wing elements of the illegal settlers are also factors. Now and again these elements go on a vengeful rampage against the Palestinians, destroying their property and agricultural lands. Closing our eyes to this is no solution. Hardly any settler vandal has been brought before the law. So we cannot regard Israel as being blameless for the violence that is occurring. There have been no negotiations except force to be answered with force.
A trilateral meeting was held in Amman, Jordan on 13th November 2014 between John Kerry, King Abdullah and Benjamin Netanyahu. Mahmoud Abbas was in Amman but not present at the meeting. He decided that it was sufficient for King Abdullah to represent Palestinian interests in restoring calm to Jerusalem. According to spokesmen at the meeting, there will be no direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on renewing peace negotiations as their positions are too wide apart. Hopefully this meeting will restore calm as the three sides agree that they have common interests in fighting extremist Islamist elements that threaten future peace in the Middle East.
Netanyahu reiterated that the status quo in Jerusalem will be maintained. This is subject to interpretation as the building of apartments in East Jerusalem for Israeli settlers does have the potential of promoting violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
On Friday 14 th November 2014, age restrictions for praying in the Al Aqsa Mosque was lifted by Israel and the prayers at the mosque were peaceful. This was the first time in many months there was no violence! Now that Jordan is in the picture it may have a moderating influence on the Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas to maintain calm.
At the time of writing on 18th November 2014, a terrorist attack occurred in a Jerusalem synagogue resulting in the death of 4 worshipers, several were injured and 4 in a serious condition. A Druze policeman died of his wounds a day later. Two attackers were killed by police, one suspect had escaped.
The rhetoric of Mahmoud Abbas has also received a more moderate tone since the meeting. If anything it will be Band Aid on the third Intifada. However, this temporary calm will only become permanent when both Israeli and Palestinian leaders return to the negotiation table to find a solution to this festering conflict. If not, the third intifada will not be long in coming.
The nature of the Palestinian violence is taking on a different character. Individual Palestinian terrorists wake up in the morning and decide to go on a rampage of killing using axes, poles, knives and vehicles for running over innocent people waiting for public transport. This makes it more difficult for the Security Forces to apprehend them apart from shooting them in action. The praises that these terrorists receive from many in the Arab wor...
A strong, religious factor is becoming more prominent in these terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. In the past and probably even today, the conflict was based on land disputes. Adding the religious dimension on both sides will create a catastrophic situation which will make return to the negotiating table impossible with horrendous consequences for both sides.
The Palestinians are not living in a vacuum. The ISIS ideology is seeping into the conflict as we have observed over the last couple of months in the methods used in murdering innocent Israelis.