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Is the Battle for Jerusalem the New Intifada?

January 21, 2015

by: Joshua Spurlock, The Mideast Update

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Yan Vugenfirer/shutterstock.com Jerusalem.

It has been the center of war and conflict for centuries. Some of the world’s greatest armies have fought over Jerusalem, and the battle for the capital of Israel continues today even as the participants have changed. In recent months, Palestinian terrorists have killed young and old, rabbis, women, even a baby, by ramming cars into crowds and wielding axes in a synagogue. The violence is powered by a hate that can’t be totally explained, but the location of the bulk of these attacks highlights at least part of the motive: Jerusalem.

The supposed boundary line for the future capital of Palestine known as “East Jerusalem” is nothing more than a technical armistice line established at the end of the War for Israel’s Independence in 1949. But the Palestinians are fighting Israel for it; they’re using it in their media and militaristic wars—and not for the first time.

Center of Propaganda

One of the most devious lies put forth by the Palestinian myth machine is that the two Jewish Temples never existed. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an organization that translates official Palestinian newspapers and television from Arabic into English to highlight incitement and propaganda, states that even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made similar claims as recently as this past October. PMW said that Abbas was quoted by Palestinian Authority (PA) TV as calling Israel’s claim to the Temple Mount an “empty excuse” and saying further that “these are empty and false claims, falsification of the history we all know.”

PMW further translated a report from the official PA newspaper, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, which called the Jewish Temple a “myth.” It’s not just Palestinian media that are being used to perpetuate the assault on Israel’s history in Jerusalem. The PA even tried to get other media agencies around the world to stop using the term “Temple Mount.” Matthew Kalman’s blog reported that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)—the official Palestinian entity that deals with foreign affairs—sent out a media advisory calling the Temple Mount an “inaccurate term” and not “disputed territory.” It stated that international media should “correct” their terminology when referring to the locale.

Denying the Temple ever existed is just one tool aimed at detaching Jews from Jerusalem. It helps fuel the fires of hate by denying that Jews have any rights to the city, and it makes a religious war much easier to sell.

Center of War

The Palestinian media’s lies about Jerusalem would be bad enough, but Palestinian Media Watch has highlighted multiple occasions of recent calls for religious war over Jerusalem, which in Arabic is known as ribat. One of the more disturbing examples came from a post to the Facebook page of an advisor to President Abbas, Sultan Abu Al-Einein. PMW translated his statement as specifically highlighting the terror attacks in Israel that had recently occurred and characterizing them as ribat for Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Blessed be your quality weapons, the wheels of your cars, your axes and kitchen knives,” wrote Al-Einein, after multiple stabbings, car assaults and the brutal murder of Jews in a synagogue by axes.

The ribat battle cry is nothing new. The Second Intifada, known for its wave of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed hundreds, was supposedly sparked by Palestinian outrage over the visit of then-Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount in 2000. According to a report from the Guardian, Sharon stated that the Temple Mount would “remain” under Israeli control and asserted that Jews should have the right to visit the site. Palestinians took that one simple act and wielded it as motive for massive riots that kicked off the bloodiest terror war in Israeli history. Clearly such terror has deeper roots than one statement by Sharon, but terrorists took advantage of popular anger to spread their hate.

The new battle for Jerusalem looks similar. Angry Palestinian rhetoric over Israeli actions and statements regarding the Temple Mount—including lies over what Israel has done or plans to do there—look to be fueling a new wave of terror. The number of targets in Jerusalem has so far dwarfed the number of lethal attacks elsewhere. And while Palestinian terror groups have been involved in the violence, the hate and incitement appears to be helping to create new terrorists and activate quiet ones. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, in comments to The Mideast Update, said that the Jerusalem attacks involving guns are “sporadic” and involve “individual terrorists” that are taking “advantage of the freedom to move around in Jerusalem with their blue ID cards that are given for work benefits.” In other words, they’re not all part of an official campaign.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly blamed Palestinian leadership for incitement that is encouraging the violence. In a statement after the synagogue attack, Netanyahu said, “Hamas, the Islamic Movement and the Palestinian Authority are disseminating countless lies and falsehoods against the State of Israel. They are saying that the Jews are contaminating the Temple Mount. They are saying that we are planning to destroy the Holy Places; that we intend to change the order of prayer there—this is all lies. These lies have already claimed a very heavy price.”

Such Palestinian lies and rhetoric are nothing new. And sadly, neither is the violent outcome in Jerusalem. May we continue to heed the cry in Psalm 122:6 and “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”

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