Saturday, November 1

Violence in Jerusalem

English: Piece of File:Westbankjan06.jpg which...
English: Piece of File:Westbankjan06.jpg which is a detailed map of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, January 2006. Produced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - public UN source. Map Centre:§ion_id=96&format=html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since the end of Operation Protective Edge, the violence in Jerusalem has increased. The kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens by Palestinians in the West Bank, and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian youth by Israelis in Jerusalem, sparked a chain of events that led to the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

The same events also stoked violence in the streets of Jerusalem, and the Gaza war fed the turmoil. On 23rd October 2014, a three month old infant, Chaya Zissel, was killed and several US citizens and Israelis were wounded when a convicted Palestinian terrorist from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan rammed his vehicle into a crowd of people in the capital. The attack, which was captured by a security camera, took place at the Ammunition Hill light-rail stop a few hundred meters from Israel’s national police headquarters, situated across a densely traveled thoroughfare, shortly after 6 p.m., a senior police official said. The terrorist was shot by police and late Wednesday evening he died in hospital.

“The vehicle ran over a number of people, including several Americans, as they exited the train, and the suspect was shot when he attempted to flee the scene by foot,” the official said, requesting anonymity until the US State Department confirms the American casualties.“Nine people were injured, three seriously, including an American infant who died after sustaining critical injuries,” he continued.

The official described the suspect as a convicted terrorist who served a recent prison sentence in Israel, but did not indicate whether he was released during the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange or last year’s release of more than 70 convicted Palestinian terrorists during peace negotiations. 

On 29th October 2014 A controversial figure, Rabbi Yehuda Glick has long advocated for Jews to be allowed to pray at a Jerusalem holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The site is Judaism’s holiest place and Islam’s third-holiest. The golden Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque stand there.

The blame for this violence lies with both Palestinians and Israelis. It always takes two to tango but in this case the results are tragic for both sides. Each side blames the other and there does not seem to be an immediate end to the bloody violence in sight.

Jerusalem has always been a dynamite keg and the root of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict must be viewed as having its origins in Jerusalem. The other trouble spots in the Arab sector and in the occupied territories must be viewed as an extension of that.

The mention of the word "Jerusalem" evokes many emotions in the Jewish and Muslim sectors of the population. The Christian Community is not involved even though Jerusalem is the "Holy City" to them as well.

It is very difficult to be objective when discussing the conflict and its affects on Jerusalem. This is a subject that will always be a bone of contention no matter how much good-will there is on both sides (assuming that there is still some good-will left) to reach a just solution. Responsible leaders on both the Israeli and Palestinian side must meet and discuss a solution to the violence on both sides. The problem is that there are Jewish and Muslim extremists on both sides of the conflict who somehow are very stubborn in what they claim is the right to pray on the Temple Mount.
Violence near the Dome of the Rock

The blame for what is occurring in Jerusalem must be viewed in the contest that both Israelis and Palestinians are to blame. The Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. He has made statements that are interpreted as being rabble-rousing and his recent speech at the UN General Assembly accusing Israel of genocide against the Palestinian people is jarring to Israeli ears and is viewed, especially by the right wing sectors in Israel as a call to blood and violence in Jerusalem. We must view this speech as political and nothing more than that. President Mahmoud Abbas is well aware that he does not have ground roots support from the Palestinians. According to recent polls, the majority of the Palestinians supports Hamas and do not trust the Palestinian Authority.

Mahmoud Abbas has adopted the tactic of making statements to prove that he is not in the hands of the Israelis and carrying out their policies. So he resorts to portraying an unyielding posture towards Israel especially since the end of Operation Protective Shield, after Hamas received a thrashing from the IDF and went into "fantasy mode" that they had won the war. Fantasies, rather than realpolitik, are an unfortunate integral part of Palestinian psychology. This must also be viewed as a severe problem when it comes to negotiations. In fact, violence is on the increase and the Israeli Police and Security forces are applying Band-Aids to stop the violence. The words "status quo" that worked over the years to curtail violence has now been broken. Stepped up security without a solution to continuing violence in Jerusalem will not bring peace to Jerusalem or solve the conflict. 
A large part of the blame must also be laid at the door of the extremist right-wing settler movements who have decided to settle in Silwan and Ir David in the heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem.The behaviour of the Netanyahu Government has been deplorable in their attitude of supporting and encouraging settlement in areas where Palestinians reside. This has caused much of the violence. 

Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish  Home) attended this evening (Thursday 23rd October 2014) the laying of a cornerstone for the new synagogue being built in Nokdim, a new community in the eastern part of Gush Etzion together with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Davidi Perl.

In his speech Ariel addressed the building freeze that had been put in place throughout Judea and Samaria, saying, "We are working toward the removal of the building moratorium in this community and other communities in Judea and Samaria, as well as in Jerusalem. I am calling for, together with other MK's, to go to Prime Minister Netanyahu to remove that terrible word "freeze" from his agenda, and to get back to building." 

"We need to build, not as a response to murder, but because of the need to be constantly building throughout Israel. And when there is terror, we need to build even more," he added. This rhetoric is not conducive to finding a solution to the violence in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile the violence continues, maybe it has been dampened a bit by the rainy season in Israel. No side has shown any realistic desire to end the violence. Racial violence by religious Jewish extremists and destruction of Palestinian property has been a reaction to Palestinian rioting.

No comments: