Recent events continue show exactly why the peace process in the Middle East is dead on arrival right now, at least where Israel and the Palestinian authority is concerned. The Jerusalem Temple Mount crisis is the latest example of Mahmoud Abbas’s destructive tactics in attempting to sabotage it and stay relevant.
As I pointed out in an earlier article,the Mideast ‘peace process’ is currently DOA and President Trump is strongly considering simply pulling out of it as a bad job. Moreover, the entire effort was part of a much larger program, creating a strategic bloc between the most powerful Sunni States of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates (and possibly a newly formed, U.S. backed Kurdistan) with Israel to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda, oppose Iran and reaffirm U.S. leadership in the region.
Mahmoud Abbas has essentially torpedoed that arrangement at least as far as Israel and the Palestinian Authority is concerned. Although the larger program of a strategic bloc composed of Israel and the Sunni states will probably survive.
Abbas did it with the same tactics he’s always used. He refused, as he always has, to make any concessions to Israel, especially when it came to his using international donor funds to reward convicted terrorist murderers and their families, or to stop the incitement of the murder of Jews in the mosques, media and schools the PA controls. The meeting he had with U.S. special adviser Jared Kushner ended in a shouting match, with Abbas saying that continuing to pay terrorists and their families out of donor aid was ‘my social responsibility.’
Next, Abbas went to one of the few places where he’s taken seriously, the UN, and got UNESCO to pass a resolution that declared that all the Jewish holy sites, including the Temple Mount and the Western Wall were ‘occupied Palestinian territory’ and renaming them with Arabic names, something that had no practical effect except to inflame Israelis. And finally, he once again used the al-Aqsa Mosque to inflame tensions.
The first incident involved two Palestinians who smuggled weapons into the mosque itself, not just ‘the compound’ as is being reported. They sneaked out of the mosque and murdered two Israeli police in cold blood, literally shooting them in the back. The two killers were later killed in a shootout with Israeli police. Palestinians inside the mosque and in the Temple Mount compound responded with rocks, bottles, knives and sticks. One of them was blown up by his own Molotov cocktail. The riot that ensued was so violent that the police actually had to storm the mosque to restore order.
The police then searched the mosque. inside they found a number of weapons hidden, knives, axes, firearms, gas bombs and ammo.
After removing the weapons, the Israelis came up with the solution of installing metal detectors. The Vatican and the main mosque in Mecca have similar equipment installed. Abbas used that as an excuse to incite and actually fund more riots with financial incentives, and to involve Jordan’s King Abdullah. Per an arrangement made with Jordan by Israel’s Labor government after Jordan attacked Israel in 1967, a Jordanian religious administrative body known as the Waqf has custody of the al-Aqsa mosque at the top of the Temple Mount. The Waqf has allowed stones to be stockpiled for Arabs to throw down and attack Jews worshiping at the Kotel, the Western Wall on more than one occasion. Incendiary sermons at the mosque are common.
Israel’s relationship with Jordan is said to be peaceful, but it’s actually an extremely frigid armistice, a ceasefire. Anti-semitic rants are quite common in Jordan’s parliament, and there is little if any tourism or security cooperation. The Jordanians recently gave early release just this last March to Ahmed al-Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier whose heroic deed was gunning down and murdering 7 Israeli schoolgirls who were on a field trip on Israel’s side of the border. He received a hero’s welcome in Jordan upon his release. We could discuss what kind of society it is that celebrates a child murderer as a hero, but I digress. The point is that Jordan is no ‘ally’ of Israel and would definitely attack Israel if it had the military capacity to do so.
King Abdullah is not exactly popular in his own country, so he took advantage of Mahmoud Abbas’s opening to bolster that approval by mouthing a number of incendiary remarks of his own. That led to a terrorist attack on Israel’s embassy in Amman, which the Jordanian police were supposedly guarding. One of the attackers who entered the embassy attempted to stab an Israeli security guard and wound up being shot and killed in response. Jordan insisted on ‘interrogating’ the Israeli guard, and that word has a very different meaning in a country like Jordan than it does in say, America or other countries where what’s considered the rule of law is quite different.
The Israeli staff inside the embassy refused give the Jordanians the security guard, and were essentially blockaded in their embassy. A couple of days later, an arrangement was apparently made to allow the embassy staff to return to Israel with the security guard. In exchange, Israeli PM Netanyahu agreed to remove the metal detectors from the entrance to al-Aqsa and investigate the incident at the embassy, which still remains empty as I write this.
As word from one of my notorious little birdies has it, the Trump Administration had a major part in resolving this.
Meanwhile, the embassy in Amman is still empty, and King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas are still mouthing incendiary remarks and threatening war. In the case of Abbas, this incitement resulted in the hideous murder of a Jewish family in the village of Neve Tsuf (Halamish) who were sitting down to a Friday night Sabbath meal and celebrating a Shalom Zachar (celebration of the birth of a boy). The killer, who climbed over the security fence knocked on the door and was admitted, since the family thought it was a neighbor. Instead, Omar al-Abed rushed through the door with a knife and murdered the grandfather, 70-year old Yosef Salomon, his daughter 46-year old Chaya Salomon, and his son, 36-year old Elad Salomon (HY”D.) The grandmother, 68-year old Tova Salomon, was seriously wounded. The carnage would have been even worse if not for some quick thinking by daughter-in-law Michal Salomon, who rushed her five children into a room, locked the door and called the police. An off-duty soldier neighbor shot the terrorist through a nearby window, wounding him.
Omar al-Abed will receive the equivalent of $3,000 per month from Abbas, courtesy of your tax dollars. That’s a very hefty sum in ‘Palestine.’ No wonder Omar’s mom is so proud of him!
Reflecting on this, we can come to a few unavoidable conclusions.
First, Israel’s attempt to share holy sites with Muslims doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked on the Temple Mount. It hasn’t worked at the The Me’arat HaMachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs where the Jews returned during their Holy Days to find that the Muslims had urinated and defecated in the area used to store the Jew’s Torah scrolls and decked out the designated Jewish area with Hamas flags and anti-Semitic grafitti. It hasn’t worked with Rachel’s Tomb, which the Arabs firebombed. It hasn’t worked with Joshua’s Tomb or Joseph’s Tomb. It has always resulted in violence, murder and the most obscene desecration and destruction imaginable.
Second, Israel will never be able to live in peace with the Palestinian Authority, especially as long as Fatah is running things. And the best that can be expected of Jordan is a frigid ceasefire.
Third, both King Abdullah of Jordan and Mahmoud Abbas can be depended on to use the Temple Mount as a tool for incitement of violence at will. No matter what Israel does or doesn’t do, they will always rant about ‘changing the status quo’ and ‘trying to control the area’ and ‘disrespecting Muslim rights’ whenever they need to use such rhetoric as a weapon against Israel.
And Fourth, Israel is never going to cede any part of Jerusalem to the Arabs. The last time Arabs controlled the area, in 1948, 28 historic synagogues were burned to the ground, Jewish tombstones from the Mount of Olives were used as pavement and the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism was used as a garbage dump.
But there’s actually a simple solution for this situation. Israel is always being accused of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount, a status quo that really doesn’t work anyway as far as keeping things peaceful goes.So it’s better to just call Jordan and Abbas’s bluff by doing just that.
First, the Jordanian Waqf should be sent packing. There’s no question but that they were complicit in the recent violence as well as violence that has occurred in the past. Instead Israel needs to appoint a committee of Israeli Arabs or perhaps even a single commissioner as a liaison for matters regarding maintenance of the al-Aqsa mosque. And the authority of that committee or commissioner should be limited to just that, discussions of necessary maintenance.
And finally, the entire Temple Mount area should be closed to all, Jew and Muslim alike. No one goes up there except for needed maintenance or once in a while,a few carefully vetted scholars for scientific or historical research.
This solution would effectively neutralize the weapon King Abdullah and Abbas now hold. There would undoubtedly be some disturbances at first, and the usual hate-filled rhetoric. But that already exists now, at Abbas’s whim. Since it’s difficult to accuse Israel of ‘Judaizing the Temple Mount’ when Jews aren’t allowed there either, eventually such things lose their impact. And there would certainly no need for metal detectors!
Unfortunately, Muslims have amply shown that to them, the al-Aqsa mosque is a political tool rather than a place of peaceful worship. And as far as I’m concerned, Jews shouldn’t be treading on that holy ground either. So close it down to all prayer, and let it rest in peace…until there is true peace.
Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.