Sometimes the news that comes out of the Middle East can be gravely serious. Take the past month, for example. Terrorist shootings, terrorist stabbings, terrorists “neutralized.” Very morbid stuff.
But every now and then, The Middle East can surprise you and something pops out from this part of the world that is so absurd, so incredibly strange, that you just can’t believe it’s real. At first you think it’s satire. You Google it, you check Snopes, and eventually you verify it, and — sure enough — it’s true.
One of these recent facepalm absurdities was when Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel for its execution of an innocent 13-year-old boy. The only problem was, he wasn’t innocent (see previous link), and — oh, yeah — he wasn’t executed. When confronted by his…departure from factual events (*cough, lies, cough*), Abbas stuck to his story. The kid was being spoon-fed pudding by an Israeli doctor in an Israeli hospital, and had been declared recuperating nicely from moderate-to-light wounds, but Abbas still claimed he had been brutally killed. If it weren’t tragic, it’d be hilarious (seriously, watch that clip; it’s the same story).
And the hits just keep on comin’. Just a few days ago, the Palestinian Authority got a handful of Arab UNESCO members to officially claim that the Western Wall is a Muslim site. To clarify: The Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall due to our sadness at being banned by the Muslims from praying on the Temple Mount and therefore being relegated to praying at one of the Mount’s outer retaining walls that the Muslims had designated as unimportant to them and therefore suitable for Jews, is now being claimed as a Muslim site. You just can’t make this stuff up.
But the truth is, it’s a brilliant move on the part of the Palestinian Authority. You see, they claimed that the reason for the renewed violence against Jews is all due to an Israeli plot to take over the Al Aqsa mosque. But that was just a pretext. They knew that there was no real threat to the bigoted status quo on the Temple Mount, it was just a handy excuse to explain why Muslims had begun randomly committing acts of terrorism. Since there was no actual changes being made on the Temple Mount, they made a change there. This way, it gives them the upper hand. They assert control over the site, thereby making Israel look like apologist interlopers. A very smart move on their part. Such a smart move, I kinda wish I would have thought about doing something like that before they did.
Oh, wait — I totally did.
Last week, I wrote a blog post entitled ‘OK, so what do we do now?’ In it, I suggested that in order to put an end to this wave of violence (as well as other potential waves in the future) we should, among other things, exert our legal, moral, and religious claims to the Temple Mount. That way, I posited, we would be the ones asserting our rightful control there. If we started acting as if it was our most sacred place in the world (it is), which housed our two Holy Temples (it did), and will house another (it will), a place towards which every Jew in the world prays thrice daily (we do), and which we lawfully conquered in a defensive battle (we did), then maybe everyone else would start treating it like it was ours.
But alas, they beat us to it. Again. They took my idea of exerting control as a means of presenting the appearance of ownership, and used it against us. And now we have to figure out how to respond. Again. Because we shuffled our feet and hesitated to act, our opponents have taken the initiative. Again.
As for me, I’m just a bit bitter that they stole my idea.