Monday, July 24, 2017

Hesitation won't bring calm - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

The root of the conflict is a religious one: the Temple Mount. Islam is unwilling to accept our presence there in any form other than an enslaved religious minority.

Like in the riots of 1929 that claimed the lives of 133 Jews, and like the only event on the Temple Mount that can truly be called "unprecedented" -- the deaths of 17 Palestinians in October 1990 -- and also like the eve of Rosh Hashanah in 2000 (the start of the Second Intifada), the Temple Mount is where the Palestinians opt time and again to light their fire of religious conflict with the Jewish people. 

Ever since its establishment, the State of Israel has tried to avoid, and find a way around the interreligious conflict, but the Muslims always revert back to it. It is their tribal campfire, the Arab-Muslim campfire. It's the glue that holds them together. 

Around this campfire, "moderate" elements like Egypt or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and extremists such as Hamas or the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement all join hands and turn up the hatred through the blood libel that "Al-Aqsa is in danger," which is the ultimate stamp of approval for any Muslim leader in the eyes of his people and his surroundings. But when the campfire gets out of control, it's hard to put out. 

You don't have to look far to find reasons why Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria are being lit up now. The metal detectors installed by Israel at the entrances to the Temple Mount are just an excuse. The root of the conflict is a religious one: the Temple Mount. Islam is unwilling to accept our presence there in any form other than an enslaved religious minority. Certainly not as a sovereign people. 

The fire always expands in the same circles. It starts at the Temple Mount, then spreads to the Old City, east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Israeli Arabs, and the entire Middle East. This is not unprecedented. In fact, we've seen this play out dozens of times. We've made it though before and we will make it through this time as well. We might be looking at another round of violence and maybe even a war, but any concessions to terrorism and incitement will only invite more terrorism and incitement. Terrorism sniffs out weakness, breathes it in, and draws strength from it. 

But when Israel battles terrorism and inciters without compromise, without letting anyone off easy, and without deals; when it refuses to tolerate a low-scale conflict and refuses to contain terrorism; when its declared goal is victory -- it gets what it wants. Hesitation, apologies, blinking, stuttering, and negotiating with terrorists and sponsors of terrorism will only turn up the flames. Anyone who hasn't already learned that lesson will learn it this time. 

When the Palestinians forced a war on the British Mandate rule at the time of the Great Arab Rebellion, the British invaded the Temple Mount, closed it for three months, and confiscated the stocks of weapons that had been stored there. Now we are in charge in Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Jewish people. Until the Palestinians fabricated and rewrote their fake version of history, it had never been the capital of any nation other than the Jews. The Muslim name for Jerusalem, Al-Quds, comes from the Arabic words "holy city." Its epithet "Beit al-Maqdis" is derived from the Aramaic "Karta Dekdusha" (holy city), and even its bygone epithet "Tzahiyun" is taken from the biblical "Zion." 

We indeed need to be wise and cautious on the Temple Mount, but we also need to talk about our right to it and about justice for ourselves. Caution and wisdom alone will not be enough to quell these flames. 

Nadav Shragai


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