JERUSALEM – With Israeli police here mobilizing to secure Jerusalem following days of Palestinian rioting, it is instructive to offer some context for clashes that have been taking place on the Temple Mount and at scattered sites throughout the eastern sections of Jerusalem.
On Sunday, during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, about 150 Palestinian protesters hurled rocks and bottles at police after Israel barred men between the ages of 18 and 45 from ascending the Mount.
The restrictive order was imposed in response to Palestinian Authority calls for Arabs to flood the holy site to protect the Al Aqsa mosque from so-called Jewish extremists.
Yesterday, unable to reach the Temple Mount, Palestinian and Israeli Arab unrest continued with rock-throwing incidents throughout Jerusalem's old city and with the stabbing of an Israeli border guard in a northeastern Jerusalem neighborhood.
The unrest, however, is not spontaneous and is not occurring in a vacuum.
The riots are being directly incited by the PA, whose official media outlets and institutions are stoking Arab flames by claiming right-wing extremist Jews are attempting to threaten the Al Aqsa mosque – a decades-old blood libel that should be easily dismissible in light of heavy Israeli restrictions on Jews and Christians from ascending the Mount during most hours of the days; whereas Muslims are usually free to access the site at any time.
Indeed, Israeli rules prohibit Jews and Christians from praying on the site.
If any so-called extremist Jew attempted to enter the Al Aqsa mosque, he or she would likely be immediately removed from the Temple Mount by Israeli police, who follow Jewish tour groups very closely and coordinate with the Waqf, the Islamic custodians of the site.
The PA is not just inciting violence; its officials also are assisting the riots. Yesterday, Israeli security forces released from custody Jerusalem's senior PA official, Khatem Abed Al-Kadr, who had been detained on suspicion of inciting riots.
The PA-aligned Islamic Movement even is sponsoring buses to transport young, riled up Arab Israeli men to Jerusalem and the Mount from the fundamentalist-dominated Muslim city of Um Al-Fahem.
Speaking to WND, Dimitri Diliani, the spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party in Jerusalem, did not deny his group's involvement in the riots.
"Palestinian political factions, including Fatah, are firm on defending the political, national and religious rights of the Palestinian people," Diliani said, "and it's evident now we will continue defending the Al Aqsa Mosque as well as our rights in Jerusalem as a whole."