Oct. 19, 2015
- The Roots of the Stabbing Intifada in Jerusalem – Jeffrey Goldberg
In September 1928, a group of Jewish residents of Jerusalem placed a bench in front of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount for the comfort of elderly worshipers. Jerusalem’s Muslim leaders treated this as a provocation, part of a Jewish conspiracy to take control of the Temple Mount. The spiritual leader of Palestine’s Muslims, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, incited Arabs in Palestine against their Jewish neighbors by arguing that Islam itself was under threat. By next summer, violence by Arab rioters took the lives of 133 Jews. The current quasi-uprising in which young Palestinians have been trying, and occasionally succeeding, to kill Jews with knives is prompted in good part by the same set of manipulated emotions that sparked the anti-Jewish riots of the 1920s.
Many of today’s Palestinian leaders actively market rumors that the Israeli government is seeking to establish a permanent Jewish presence atop the Temple Mount. The comments of the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas – by general consensus the most moderate leader in the brief history of the Palestinian national movement – have been particularly harsh and his rhetoric has inflamed tensions.
The actual root cause of the Middle East conflict may be the unwillingness of many Muslim Palestinians to accept the notion that Jews are a people who are indigenous to the land Palestinians believe to be exclusively their own, and that the third-holiest site in Islam is also the holiest site of another religion. (Atlantic)