A Recipe for an Explosion on the Temple Mount: Israel and the Palestinians Live in Two Worlds…


The recurring events in which tensions escalate between Israel and the Palestinians, around the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, largely reflect the very different ways in which the two sides internalize the reality around the mountain, in particular. Israel’s activity there. All this based on their different mental infrastructure.

In the infrastructure of Israeli consciousness, Israel is a state that seeks stability, committed to the status quo on the Temple Mount, freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem and the maintenance of public order there. Extremist groups on both sides are challenging the status quo, and Israel is taking steps to prevent them from undermining stability, including the use of reasonable force. Thus, it exercises its sovereignty and the responsibility arising from it.

The Islamic narrative says that Israel restricts prayer on the Temple Mount, Archives | Photo: Reuters

On the other hand, many Palestinians, as well as many Israeli Arabs and Muslims around the world, as well as international figures, especially from the left, believe that the existence of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel is unjustified. In their view, Israel’s presence in East Jerusalem is illegal, and Israel as a state, not just marginal messianic groups in its periphery, seeks to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.

This is not a unique global view of radical political Islam led by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Palestinian Authority is convinced of this, along with Jordan and many other factors in the Arab and Islamic world. A review of the decisions of the meeting of Arab foreign ministers, which was held at the request of Jordan, to discuss Israeli activities on the Temple Mount, in which the Emirates and Morocco, which participated in the Negev summit a month ago, will also participate, shows that all of these parties are fully convinced of their claims, striving to divide prayer times in Al-Haram Al-Quds is as usual in the Ibrahimi Mosque, exerting force beyond what is necessary against young Palestinian worshipers, including through dangerous and unprovoked violent attacks at Al-Aqsa and may ignite the mosque in its actions.

A police guard during Ramadan near the Temple Mount (Photo: Olivia Fitossi, Flash 90)
A real attempt to maintain stability and calm in the region, the road to the Temple Mount | Photo: Olivia Fitossi, Flash 90

Some of these elements, especially Hamas, the northern faction of the Islamic movement, Qatar and Iran, see the threat of escalation as a tool to restrain Israel and at the same time a means to enhance its political standing. Others see it as a tool to undermine Israel’s international and regional standing and as a means to prevent the deterioration of a violent, high-intensity conflict, which could harm their already precarious position.

Can years of agitation be handled?

There has been a lot of talk recently about the shortsightedness of the Israeli propaganda in dealing with the lies used to harm Israel’s international standing and stir the winds. Indeed, Israeli public diplomacy is still far from retaliating for these lies. But the problem is much more serious: the infrastructure of consciousness through which Israel’s enemies and opponents assimilate reality is the product of many years of indoctrination based on religious beliefs and the sacred values ​​of Arab and Palestinian nationalism, presenting Jews in general, Zionists in particular, and settlers more, as the rule of evil. .

For many Palestinians, the claim that Al-Aqsa is in danger is not only a recruitment slogan, but also a deep belief that is difficult to uproot. Abu Mazen sometimes explains that the nature of the Jews and the areas of their occupation led to their persecution in Europe. As Israel celebrates Holocaust Remembrance Day, more than 200,000 Palestinian Muslims gathered at the Temple Mount to celebrate “Laylat al-Qadr” (the night the Qur’an was handed to Muhammad) and chanted “Peace and blood, we will redeem you, O Al-Aqsa.” Some added “Khaybar, Khaibar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad will return” (a common reference to the killing of the Jews of the desert of Khaibar by the Prophet Muhammad). Einstein already said that it is easier to break an atom than to change prejudices.

In an interview with Christina Amanpour on CNN, Prime Minister Bennett emerged as a buffer against the unsubstantiated claim of consistency in terrorism. It is correct to say that there is also no consistency in inciting and educating hatred. In contrast to Israel, education to deny Israel’s right to exist and to hate Zionism is an essential component of an institution in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, both internally and in outreach. It aims to assimilate into the international discourse, by making use of the image of Palestinian victims, the Palestinian narrative that denies the existence of the Jewish people and their right to a nation-state, even on a piece of land. Israel/Palestine. They present the Zionist project as a colonial act and Israel as an apartheid state, arguing that the Zionists are totally evil and that all weak groups should unite in the struggle against them. The claim that Hamas is behind this effort is only partially true, because the Palestinian Authority is in fact leading it at the international level.

Good deeds will not help

As part of this indoctrination, the Palestinians deny the existence of a synagogue on the Temple Mount, and have even succeeded in pushing UNESCO, UN General Assembly and even Security Council resolutions that ignore the sanctity of the place for Jews and for man. Jewish connection to Jerusalem. The most important of these is Resolution 2334, which was promoted by the Obama administration at the end of his term. The Philistines make sure to say “Bayt al-Maqdis,” meaning the falsely claimed temple, whenever they refer to the Jewish temple, and say that despite their efforts, Israel has been unable to find archaeological evidence of the Temple’s existence. A few years ago, I spoke with a senior Palestinian official familiar with Jewish history and expressed my astonishment at the obligation to deny a historical fact. He told me that he too had expressed his astonishment about this matter to Arafat in private, and answered the question, “What are your allowances?” Since then he has stopped asking the hard questions.

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Leading the international campaign against Israel, Abu Mazen | Photo: Reuters

Israel treats the Palestinian issue as a nuisance. In the absence of the possibility of a permanent solution, and out of interest in ensuring stability in the short term, it considers itself committed to strengthening the Palestinian Authority and pacifying the Gaza Strip through material benefits. It prefers to avoid confrontation with the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over the issue of exercising its sovereignty over Jerusalem, the concentration of the Arab population, and its international image. Although this approach has certain advantages in the short term, it may have significant costs in the medium and long term, because it creates a sense of achievement among our enemies, gives them hope for further achievements in the struggle for the right of way and undermines the Israelis. deterrence.

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Former Head of Research in the IDF, Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser | Photo: Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs

>>> Yossi Kuperwasser is a brigadier general, former head of the research division of the IDF, currently a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public and State Affairs.

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