ANALYSIS: Has the final battle for Jerusalem begun?

Arab takeover of Temple Mount annex, uptick in terror attacks, Hamas attacks are part of broader Arab escalation towards a 3rd Intifada.

Yochanan Visser,

Gazans riot along border with Israel
Gazans riot along border with Israel
Reuters

“The Silent Intifada” read a headline above an article on this news site Thursday about recent Palestinian Arab terror attacks in Israel.

The article dealt with a report made by the Boomerang Fighting for Israel group mentioned that since the beginning of 2019 there have been 360 terror attacks against Israelis, among them shooting- and car ramming attacks.

The recent increase in Arab terror in Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza, is related to a new crisis over Muslim control over the Temple Mount, where Muslims seized the Golden Gate area at the end of February - but has other root causes as well.

On Friday, February 22, thousands of Muslims violently force their way into the Golden Gate area, also known as the Sha’ar HaRachamim in Hebrew.

The gate and the surrounding area had been closed to the public since 2003 when Hamas and the northern branch of the Islamic Movement used the site for anti-Israel activities.

The reason Muslim masses now decided to expand their control over the Temple Mount was the frequent visits by “settlers” (read Israeli Jews) to Judaism’s holiest place who “defile” the El-Aqsa mosque, according to Fatah official Abdel Khader.

The real reason, however, was the take-over of the Wakf, the Jordanian custodian of the Temple Mount, or Har HaBayt in Hebrew, by Palestinian Authority officials and Muslim Brotherhood members.

The new Wakf council now consists of Jordanians, PA representatives and Muslim Brotherhood members and they ordered the new violence and the take-over of the Golden Gate under the pretext that Israel was planning to build a prayer house for Jews there.

Of course, there is no such plan, but Mahmoud Habash, Religious Affairs Adviser to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas nevertheless deemed it necessary to call upon his fellow Muslims to defend the Temple Mount.

Habash claimed the Golden Gate was part of “the Islamic doctrine” and warned Muslims not to concede one inch of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount since that would be equal to “conceding Mecca and the Quran.”

Tensions further increased this week after an Israeli court in Jerusalem ordered the state to close the Golden Gate and demanded the Wakf explain its actions on the Temple Mount.

Needless to say, the Wakf refused to comply with the court order and said Israel has no jurisdiction over the Haram esh-Sharif, as Muslims call the Temple Mount.

Hamas and the PA are now stepping up the incitement against Israel with the Gaza-based terror group calling for a day of rage in Jerusalem tomorrow when thousands of Muslims will ascend to the Temple Mount for the mandatory Friday prayers.

Hamas’ mouthpiece the el-Aqsa TV station had been leading the incitement campaign against Israel and has been broadcasting inciting video’s calling for the slaughter and “roasting” of Jews.

The TV station was designated a ‘terror organization’ by the Israel government this week a move lauded by Palestinian Media Watch the watchdog which exposed el-Aqsa TV.

As usual, the Palestinian Arab leadership and the Wakf are using a lie about the el-Aqsa mosque to stir up violence against Israel and this round might now end up in a new ‘Intifada’ - the favorite Arab term for asymmetric warfare against Israel.

The IDF has recently warned the Palestinian Arab factions could be gearing up for a new wave of violence - a warning which has been largely ignored by the political establishment in Israel.

The fact of the matter is that Hamas has been trying to launch such an ‘uprising’ since March 2019 after the reconciliation with Iran.

The so-called ‘Great March of Return’, the orchestrated violence along the Israel-Gaza border, has been raging unabated and could now spark a new war with Israel after Hamas renewed its ‘Balloon Jihad’ the attacks with incendiary balloons which increasingly carry explosive devices to Israeli territory.

Hamas is also involved in the uptick of terror in Judea and Samaria and is behind the re-introduction of shooting- and car ramming attacks in Israel’s Biblical heartland.

Egyptian intelligence, furthermore, revealed on Thursday that Hamas is provided with weapons and ammunition via the Sinai Desert, according to a report by Israeli TV broadcaster MAKO.

The report didn’t mention where the weapons came from, but the Sinai Peninsula has often been used to transport Iranian weapons bound for Hamas which were shipped to Sudan and from there smuggled to Hamas via Sinai.

Iran wants Hamas to engage Israel in a war of attrition ahead of the planned multi-front war which aims to bring the desired annihilation of the Jewish state as stated recently by Iranian leaders and Hassan Nasrallah the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Hamas on Thursday with a “vigorous response” in case Hamas continues its aggression against Israel.

The Palestinian Authority, meanwhile, is working in tandem with Jordan to create facts on the ground in Jerusalem.

The cooperation about increasing Muslim control on the Temple Mount is one of the facts the two partners want to create. The other one aims to sabotage an Israeli attempt to improve living conditions in Arab Jerusalem and a plan to change the matriculation programs at Arab schools in the city.

The PA calls the massive rehabilitation program a “Zionist plot” to uproot the Muslim character of Jerusalem.

To complicate matters even further, foreign actors are working actively to establish full Muslim control over Arab Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Turkey is one of these foreign actors and the other two Muslim countries which try to get a foothold in Arab Jerusalem are Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

The Islamist regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan uses Dawa (charity with the goal of persuasion and proselytizing) and is working in tandem with the Muslim Brotherhood to achieve its goal of domination in Arab Jerusalem.

The Islamist organization Hizb ut-Tahrir (Party of the Liberation) is an important non-state actor which also tries to radicalize Jerusalem Arabs. The organization is running modesty patrols in Arab neighborhoods and tries to enforce Sharia (Islamic law) adherence in what is generally called ‘East Jerusalem’.

The PA is increasingly using Islam as a factor to justify its belligerent behavior and recently warned Arab states against normalization with Israel because that would be equal to “treachery”.

Both Jordan, which is home to the majority of Palestinian Arabs, and the PA are strongly opposed to the not yet published new American peace initiative of the Trump Administration.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas recently declared he would prefer death over making concessions to Israel and vowed he would not go down in history as “a traitor”.

Abbas is perhaps the best example of the radicalization among Palestinian Arabs.

The ailing PA leader, regarded by the West as a moderate, insists on continuing his much-criticized ‘pay to slay’ policy, the monthly stipends for Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails even if this means he will not be able to pay civil servants in the territories under his control.

Israel last month announced it would halt the transfer of duties and taxes it collects on behalf of the PA until the PLO stops paying terrorists and their families.

This all makes clear Palestinian society is a powder-keg waiting to explode and that the long-anticipated final battle for Jerusalem could begin soon.




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