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Testimonials

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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Thursday, August 24, 2017

It is extremely important that a solution to the current crisis be found by Friday this week…The dangers on the ground will escalate if we go through another cycle of Friday prayer without a resolution to this current crisis, Events in Jerusalem  have the potential to have catastrophic costs well beyond the walls of the Old City, well beyond Israel and Palestine, well beyond the Middle East itself - Nickolay Mladenov, United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, January 24, 2017.

When we indulge Arab (and jihadi Muslims’) concerns for honor by backing off anything that they claim offends them, we think that our generosity and restraint will somehow move extremists to more rational behavior. Instead, we end up muzzling ourselves and thereby participating in, honoring, and confirming their most belligerent attitudes… And there is nothing generous, rational, or progressive about that. – Prof. Richard Landes, Tablet Magazine, June 24, 2014.

The chain of bloody events that took place over the last week defies both belief and reason. A series of unprovoked Arab assaults on Israelis, inexplicably, inconceivably and infuriatingly triggered a wave of international criticism of …Israel’s defensive responses?

Israel’s regrettable reticence

Of course, in a world where fairness and reason dominated the conduct of international affairs, Israel would have won wall-to-wall sympathy and support—or at the very least, tacit understanding—for its position.  After all, the security measures adopted by Israel in the wake of the murderous attack on its law-enforcement officers in the Temple Mount complex were neither extreme nor excessive. To the contrary, they were entirely reasonable, appropriate—even, one might have thought, unavoidable. Indeed, what could be more natural than enhancing security measures in the wake of a deadly terror attack?

Regrettably, however, international reaction was far from what should have been expected in an imaginary world of fairness and reason.  In the real world, very much the opposite was true—with the onus being placed on Israel to defuse the allegedly explosive situation that the threatened aggression of its foes conjured up. 

But no less regrettable was the self-effacing Israeli response to the ridiculous recriminations, which merely helped fan the flames of this absurdity.  

Thus, rather than robustly and resolutely repudiating the preposterous accusations concocted against it, Israel endeavored to play the “responsible adult”, in effect, acknowledging that it should shoulder the burden for preventing any violence the Arabs/Muslims might decide to instigate. 

Invitation to extortion 

Of course, this implies—paradoxically and perversely—that the target of aggression is to blame for whatever befalls him/her, while exonerating the perpetrators of all responsibility for any malfeasance they may choose to initiate.

Unsurprisingly, this ostensibly “mature” and “moderate” behavior won Israel little credit. 

Thus, rather than being warmly commended it was roundly condemned.  

Indeed, instead of being seen as far-sighted statesmanship and enlightened largesse, it was perceived as a tacit admission of guilt.  With a little forethought this should not have been surprising.  After all, if one believes that the measures one has taken are just and proper, why back away from them? Seen in this light, backing away can only be construed as conceding wrongdoing.

So, by capitulating to threats of violence, the Israeli government has issued a clear invitation for further extortion.  For it has conveyed an unequivocal message of weakness to both friend and foe. Either it is incapable of dealing with threatened Muslim violence or it is unwilling to deal with the consequences of choreographed Muslim ire. But whether it is the lack of ability or the lack of will, there is little difference in the conclusion that will, inevitably, be drawn: There is nothing to prevent further threats to extort further and more far-reaching concessions.

Full disclosure: I was wrong 

As a non-observant Jew, whose relationship with the Almighty has been, to say the least, uneasy, I was always skeptical towards my more devout kin-folk’s claim that the Temple Mount was central to the maintenance of Jewish sovereignty.  Although I opposed any Israeli territorial concessions—including on the Temple Mount—I held the belief that the struggle for Jewish control of the site was more incidental than central.  

I believed—and in many ways, still do--that the major thrust for presenting Israel’s requirements to endure as the sovereign nation-state of the Jews should be  to underscore the   vital strategic importance of the entire territory across the pre-1967 “Green Line”—and the perilous situation that Israel would be in, should any substantial withdrawal be undertaken.  

Accordingly, I felt that there was no need to single out the Temple Mount since it would be self-evident that it would be included in the rest of the territory that Israel needs to retain control over.  Indeed, I thought perhaps that it was better not to give prominence to control of the Mount, so as to prevent rational strategic arguments for retention of territory from being dismissed as tainted with “religious fanaticism”.

Turns out I was wrong!

I was wrong (cont.)

Although I still hold the view that, if Israel is to remain viable as the nation-state of the Jews, it cannot agree to surrendering sovereignty over Judea-Samaria, I am today far more open to the claim that control over the Temple Mount is the key to sustaining Jewish sovereignty. Not because of any strategic imperative but because of a pyscho-political one; not because Jewish zealots see it that way, but because Muslim zealots do. 

Nothing will do more to sustain the Muslims’ belief that they can uproot the Jewish presence in all of the Land of Israel, or at least eradicate Jewish sovereignty over it, than   successfully challenging Jewish control over the Jews most sacred site. In Muslim eyes, if they can prise loose the Jews’ hold over the Temple Mount, they can prise it loose over any other site in the land.

For them, if the Jews are willing to forgo control over the Temple Mount to avoid an outburst of Muslim rage, they will be just as ready to forgo such control over Haifa and Tiberias. For if the Jews are perceived as unwilling to take a stand over their most sacrosanct location, in the heart of their capital, why would they be willing to make a sustained stand over any other, less sacrosanct, location whenever a pretext for conflict arises?

“If I can't bring my machine gun, no point in praying …”

The insufferable absurdity of the opposition to enhanced Israeli security measures—together with the blatant hypocrisy of their coverage by mainstream media—was vividly brought home in a hard hitting video clip presented by Daniel Pomerantz, Senior editor of “Honest Reporting”. Pomerantz expressed his bewilderment at the Muslim response to the setting up of metal-detectors after three Arab terrorists emerged from the Al-Aksa mosque and gunned down two Israeli police officers, with automatic weapons they had smuggled into the compound:

“I don’t quite understand the logic in refusing to pass through a metal detector”, adding bitingly—but aptly: “It’s like saying ‘Well, if I can't bring my machine gun then there's no point in praying at all’ .”

Pomerantz deftly repudiates Muslim claims that the metal-detectors constitute an Israeli attempt to change the status quo on the compound, pointing out that the status quo had been violated a day earlier by the terror attack itself.  Indeed, as he rightly remarks, the metal-detectors in fact were intended to reinstate the status quo ante, and restore Al-Aksa as a place of worship, rather than an armory. But of course this meant nothing to the instigators of Arab unrest. For them, any measure, no matter how appropriate or essential for legitimate security exigencies, was merely an   opportunity to mount a challenge to Jewish sovereignty.

By: Martin Sherman
(INN)
(To Be Continued Next Week)