Wednesday, October 08, 2014

8-Oct-14: No longer in the rock-hurling phase, Jerusalem's Arab rioters are now pouring flammable liquid

With almost total autonomy in their management of the uniquely-sacred-to-the-Jewish-people Temple Mount, the Palestinian Arab religious leadership, the Wakf, prohibits prayer there in any form by Jews, with Israeli government approval. Guess what the site's religious significance does not cause them to prevent? [Image Source]
We happen to be passing through another violent period in Jerusalem. It's not because of some bilateral increase in mutual suspicion; not as a result of clashes of this kind or another between hot-heads on the two sides; not because of any change in the state of forces on the ground. It's contrived, calculated and cold-blooded - an escalation of tensions and recourse to more and more violence because this works well politically for the Palestinian Arabs.

Here (via Times of Israel) is what's happening this morning.
Rioters holed up Wednesday morning inside the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount poured flammable liquid out of windows toward police officers. One policeman was lightly wounded in his hand, Ynet reported. Five rioters were arrested. They had been chased into the mosque by security forces after masked youths threw stones, iron bars, and Molotov cocktails at police officers as the site opened to non-Muslim visitors. Three policemen were lightly injured in those clashes. According to police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, when officers opened the Mughrabi Gate for non-Muslims to enter the compound, Arab rioters began throwing objects at the police force. They cleared out the rioters and temporarily restored calm to the site... 
The clash came as Israeli Jews prepared for the holiday of Sukkot, which begins Wednesday night. Many Jews have the custom of visiting the Temple Mount on holiday eves, ramping up tensions on the contested site. The Mughrabi Gate has been the site of frequent clashes between Israeli security forces and Muslim worshipers, due to a commonly perceived belief among the local Islamic community of Jewish encroachment onto the Temple Mount. Last month saw violent clashes in and around the Temple Mount compound ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday... 
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered police to up patrols in East Jerusalem Tuesday, saying he would not allow riots to become the norm, Israel Radio reported. The Temple Mount, which holds the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, is considered the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site for Jews as it was the location of the two ancient Jewish temples. In September, an addition to the Mughrabi Bridge meant to boost the flow of non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount was dismantled after it was deemed “illegal” by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The move, which was praised by Jordan and the Islamic authorities of the site, was seen by some as an attempt to decrease tensions.
As a reminder of what a political football the holy Temple Mount of Jerusalem's Old City has become, see the photos we posted ["06-Oct-14: Oh Jerusalem"] just two days ago. (Yes, we did say football.)

The rock-hurling by Arabs at private cars and at the Jerusalem Light Rail continues this morning [Hebrew report]. Terror attacks in Jerusalem, as tracked by the Israel Security Agency (colloquially the Shin Bet) are steadily rising too: 22 incidents in May-June 2014 to 152 in July-August 2014, a more than 5-fold increase. An Israel National News report summed it up four weeks ago: 
There were 90 rail injury incidents since the beginning of July, including the hurling of Molotov cocktails and stones. More than a third of the trains were damaged and shut down because of this. The incidents increased after the Jerusalem bulldozer attack in early August [see our report: "4-Aug-14: Jerusalem man killed in terror attack on bus"], in which a tractor driven by an Arab overturned a public bus, killing a father of five who was walking down the street at the time.  The bus was empty except for the driver and a policeman shot and killed the terrorist.
Finally, with the Temple Mount photograph above in readers' minds, as well as those in our earlier post [here], consider the very public views expressed just yesterday by Hanan Ashrawi, the controversial 2003 Sydney Peace Prize Laureate and long-time PLO "insider". This is from Ma'an, a Palestinian Arab newsagency today:
A new plan to allow Jewish Israelis to enter East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound through a second gate was a "loud insult" to Muslims around the world. "Israel is creating a new reality at the expense of Palestinians, their religious rights, sites, and historical identity," Ashrawi said in a statement. "They are violating the sanctity of religious sites without consequences, which completely terminates possibilities for peace and will ultimately drag the whole region into disastrous clashes." ...She called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for what she called "violations" against Muslim and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine. [Ma'an, October 8, 2014]
On the subject of rock-hurling, flammable-liquid pouring hooligans desecrating a major Arab-Islamic citadel and the grounds on which it stands, Ashrawi had nothing to say.

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