Friday, July 21, 2017

Flouting the status quo - Dr. Reuven Berko

by Dr. Reuven Berko

By using Islam to dig in their heels in the service of Palestinian politics, Palestinian leaders, like other Islamists, deny the fact that the Quran itself states that Jerusalem is for the Jews -- it says nothing of Palestine or the Palestinians.

If there is one thing we can learn from the pathetic condemnation voiced by Arab lawmakers and members of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee over Friday's terrorist attack near Lions' Gate in Jerusalem, it is that despite their stated objections to Israeli Arabs' picking up arms, they do, in fact, justify Palestinian terrorism against Israel. 

As the Israel Police set up metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount so as to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the holy site and thwart future murders, Israeli Arab leaders and Arab MK boisterously joined the demands voiced by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Hussein and Hamas to remove these security measures and return to the status quo. What status quo? The one underscored by Carl Gustav rifles that are used to kill police officers.

The reactions of these elected Arab officials were not a religious outcry, but rather false political manipulation that supports terrorism as well as the Palestinian ploy to use the crisis in Al-Aqsa mosque to fuel a conflict between Islam and Judaism, which in turn would serve their efforts to eradicate Israel. Unfortunately, this also fuels the illusion the Jerusalem is the capital of "Palestine." 

If, as the Palestinians claim, Al-Aqsa mosque is "in danger" from "Jews seeking to defile and destroy it," why do the Palestinians oppose installing additional security measure in and around the mosque? After all, everyone knows that had the terrorist attack at the Temple Mount not been thwarted, the ensuing escalation would have resulted in many casualties and untold damage to the mosque.

Still, just as the Palestinian leadership and the grand mufti are indifferent to damage caused to other mosques across the Middle East, they are also apathetic to the potential damage to Al-Aqsa mosque. They are perfectly content to let the holy site remain the scene of terrorist attack even it is damaged and preferably so. 

This is why the opposition voiced by Joint Arab List lawmakers to setting up metal detectors on the site is a practical expression of their support for terrorism and their aspiration to channel the Arab-Muslim chaos plaguing the region against Israel.

For years, Al-Aqsa has been used to store weapons stones, knives, iron bars and Molotov cocktails, which rioters throw from its compound at worshippers at the Western Wall either on Jewish holidays or whenever the Palestinians believe an interreligious clash serves their interests.

Fortunately for the holy sites in Jerusalem, it was another electronic system -- the Iron Dome defense system -- that prevented Hamas rockets fired at the area during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 from hitting them.

Senior Israeli Arab leaders never denounced Hamas' criminal attempt, just as they fail to condemn the destruction of mosques and churches elsewhere in the Middle East. Incredibly, against this bleak reality it is the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem -- under Israeli sovereignty -- that is the safest and most secure shrine in the Middle East.

There is no degradation in going through a metal detector. Truth be told, even the holy sites in Mecca and Medina use metal detectors, as does the Western Wall and airports in Israel and abroad. Israeli Arabs, like everyone else, are required to go through metal detectors when arriving at National Insurance Institute offices to collect benefits, and no one decries the humiliation.

The false propaganda by the Palestinians and Israeli Arab leadership incites violence and bloodshed in al-Aqsa mosque, despite the Prophet Muhammad's own decree that "one drop of the faithful's blood is more important than the Kaaba," the sacred mosque in Mecca. What's right for the Kaaba surely applies to Al-Aqsa mosque. The fact that the Palestinians prevent prayer in Al-Aqsa over the metal detectors, whose sole purpose is to boost the site's security, is a form of heresy.

By using Islam to dig in their heels in the service of Palestinian politics, Palestinian leaders, like other Islamists, deny the fact that the Quran itself states that Jerusalem is for the Jews -- it says nothing of Palestine or the Palestinians. They further ignore Islamic historiography, according to which the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab and his converted adviser Kaab al-Ahbar acknowledged the sanctity of the Temple Mount as a Jewish site. 

On Monday, Jewish visits to the mount were barred after several visitors violated the status quo. This is proof that the steps taken there, including the metal detectors, are driven solely by security considerations. Still, it is possible that given the overcrowded entrances, Israel and Jordan would compromise on allowing most worshippers to enter the site as they have so far, and only suspect individuals would be made to go through metal detectors.

Dr. Reuven Berko


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