Two days had passed since the “metal detectors” decried as yet another Israeli attempt to control, subjugate, and possibly destroy (!) the Al Aqsa Mosque have been dismantled and only on thursday in fact, the grand mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Ahmad Hussein announced that the Muslim boycott of the Temple Mount that began on July 14 had ended and they could return to praying at the mosque. Abu Mazen also issued a statement and made it known that they could again return to the holy site to worship before Allah.
Many Muslims, thus, gathered in triumphant demonstrations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, celebrating what appeared to them as Israel’s capitulation vis-à-vis Islamic terrorism and international pressure from around the world. Given the passion for plots and conspiracies, there were also those who say that it’s all a sham and the Israelis are already working to find another way of control: for example Al Jazeera said that the hidden surveillance cameras spy on and film those who are strip-searched and show them naked to Israeli policemen.
A tall tale like that of the “spy dolphin,” which adorns anti-Israeli mythology. The truth is more complicated and simpler, and has a strategic regional dimension: two blocks moved immediately after the Palestinian terrorist attack that on July 14 left two Israeli guards dead and then their assassins, and that then led to the horrible slaughter of three members of the Salomon family in Halamish.
The onset is a typical example of Islamic terrorism, which was followed by the big honorary great funerals of honor that they held for the three terrorists, praised as shahid throughout the Palestinians press, by Hamas and by Fatah alike: these are three young men from the Jabarin family who decided “to save” Al Aqsa, to “die for” Al Aqsa, which led to unlimited incitement that paints Jews as the oppressors. It doesn’t matter whether ISIS or Hamas helped them or they received weapons from outside Israel. They all share the same education, and itself fosters terrorism.
Let’s not forget that Abu Mazen, for example, has publicly stated that the Jews “defile Temple Mount with their filthy feet.” In fact, Arafat called Fatah’s armed wing the “al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.” When the opportunity of reawakening mass, international attention for the Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques presented itself, two camps mobilized, one that is interested in perpetuating the clashes and the other which isn’t.
Netanyahu acted in a rational manner when he entrusted to the police the task of guarding the entrances, but he eventually had to abandon this decision due to impending strategic reasons of an irrational but enduring islamic hostility, that took the form, this time, of the crisis with Jordan after a guard at the Israeli Embassy in Amman killed a young terrorist. The clash with Jordan that came out of it, risked depriving him of an important peace partner, namely King Abdullah II. Israel’s decision to remove the metal detectors restored the status quo at the Temple Mount, i.e. the Jordanian-Palestinian management of the site.
In the meantime, nevertheless, all of the Muslim Brotherhood’s friends called for an “Islamic intifada” against Israel in order to stop (the alleged Israeli) violations of holy sites. Tayyp Erdogan, who is always seeking to restore the lost Ottoman Empire and become the leader of the entire Muslim world, positioned himself at the forefront the Temple Mount crisis.
Turkey threatened, condemned, and called on Muslims to “defend Jerusalem” as its own; Hamas of course saw a great opportunity of a total escalation and so too did the northern branch of the Islamist movement in Israel led by Sheikh Raed Salah. Behind the scenes, we see Qatar, which is currently facing an embargo by Sunni nations, that don’t appreciate this crisis. Abu Mazen sided with the Muslim Brotherhood of Erdogan and Hamas, because his power has been weakened by the loss of the Arab worlds’ trust and this was the easiest way to try to regain it.
On the other hand the Jordanians, Egyptians, and Saudis realized that an uprising would have emboldened their adversary, i.e. leaving a window of opportunity for Iran and Hezbollah to exert their influence in the Middle East. King Salman of Saudi Arabia spent his time speaking to Trump and urged him to ensure that Muslims were able to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque without restrictions.
Moreover, he personally invited Abbas to a summit of the arab world. We have see today that during the prayers at the mosques, a part of the Islamic world urged woth success the palestinians to continue with the uprising and on friday there were still crowds demonstrating in the streets, wounded and dead. The continuation is written in the prejudice toward Israel and in the results of the clash inside the muslim world. If the Muslmi Brotherhood side wll loose points, also the clash in Jerusalem will, at the moment, calm down.
The Israeli right has criticized Netanyahu for having capitulated over Temple Mount security and for failing to defend Israel’s sovereignty. But this is politics; it would have been foolish not to install the metal detectors, but even more so not to have removed them.
Translation by Amy K. Rosenthal
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (July 28, 2017)