Sunday, July 30, 2017

Palestinians Score Symbolic Victory in Jerusalem

A Saudi newspaper featured a cartoon of The Dome of the Rock with a "victory" sign

Arab and Palestinian media are reveling in what they consider a decisive victory over Israel following its removal of all recently installed security measures at the entrances to the Temple Mount.
Cartoons depicting Palestinian resistance have flooded Arab media and Palestinian social media platforms. 
(Ynet News)


It is ludicrous to view metal detectors as a threat to freedom of Islamic worship, or a change to the status quo at the holy site. Nevertheless, Israel's defense establishment recommended removing the metal detectors. Why?

Right now, Israel's enemies across the Middle East are busy fighting one another. Israel remains outside of the combat arenas. In the wider perspective, Israel's interest is not to enter into a new conflict. Israel has no interest in uniting the Islamic world against it.
(Ynet News)    

Netanyahu allows himself and his cabinet members to be bullied by his generals because he doesn’t have a policy for securing Israeli sovereignty and advancing Israel’s national interests at the Temple Mount. Without a positive goal, he is reduced to treading water with the hope of keeping a lid on Muslim jihadists. And so his “policy” of bowing to his politically subversive generals bears a disquieting resemblance to George Orwell’s quip, “The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it.”

Perhaps the depressing aspect of all of this is that it isn’t hard to figure out what a reasonable, constructive policy would be for the Temple Mount.

As a liberal democracy, Israel has an interest, indeed a duty, to ensure that the holy site is open to all religions and that everyone has the right to freely worship on the Temple Mount. Given the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world for Jews, Israel has a vital interest in securing its sovereign control over the area.

To secure its sovereignty and advance its clear interest in facilitating religious freedom for all, Israel’s policy goal is straightforward. The government should enable all faiths to worship freely at the site.

The government should also state outright that if the Palestinians opt instead to incite and commit acts of violence and terrorism from the Temple Mount, Israel will secure its goal and enable Jews and Christians to worship at the holy site unilaterally.

To date, the Temple Mount has been the Palestinians’ ace in the hole. They recycle the blood libel that Jews are endangering al-Aksa every time they feel they are losing ground in their never-ending war against Israel. And Israel inevitably capitulates. But if Israel announces its policy is to secure religious freedom for all on the Temple Mount and makes a good-faith effort to advance it in conjunction with the Palestinians and all other relevant groups, it will set the conditions for taking that ace away.

If after it begins good-faith efforts to collectively advance the liberal, democratic goal of ensuring religious freedom for all at the holy site, the Palestinians again turn to violence, then the Islamic world, or parts of it, will be in a position to blame them when Israel unilaterally enables Jews and Christians to pray on the Temple Mount parallel to Muslim worshipers.

Israel ceded the Temple Mount to terrorists last week. But with a clear goal, we can get it back in short order and keep it perpetually for the good of all humanity.
[Jerusalem Post]


Temple Mount Affair: What Has Changed? - General Yossi Kuperwasser

While Israel's own status on the Temple Mount sustained no evident damage, a new reality has emerged in which Israel has acknowledged the limits of its ability to stipulate the rules of the game. It has also recognized the status of the PA and Jordan as actors capable of deploying popular demonstrations in the streets in a controlled, competent fashion, meaning Israel must consult with them in advance before making any move that affects the Mount.

The Palestinians are caught up in a sense of achievement, which inspires them to harden their positions.
The writer, , former chief of the research division in IDF Military Intelligence and director general of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is director of the Project on Regional Middle East Developments at the Jerusalem Center.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

- General Yaakov Amidror

The decision to reconsider the metal detectors indicated maturity and self-confidence on the part of the Jewish state. Once it became clear that this was neither the time nor the place to prove Israel's might, there was no point in insisting on them. Israel did well to grant the Jordanian request and ease pressure off its ally in the war on terror.

In hindsight, the events on the Temple Mount, serious as they were, had little effect on Israel's relations with the Jordanians or the Palestinians. Israel demonstrated responsibility and managed to maintain its strategic relations with Jordan. 
The writer is former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel and former Head of Israel's National Security Council. 
(Israel Hayom)

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