Here we are again, another round of violence and another round of blame as each side in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict hunkers down for more senseless violence and feelings of loss of control. Over the past several days there has been an increasing wave of violence as the Palestinian Authority falsely claims that Israel wants to change the arrangement of control of the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount has historically been controlled by the Waqf following the Six-Day War when Moshe Dayan relinquished control to a third party to allow for unity. Of his decision Dayan said: “We have returned to the holiest of our places, never to be parted from them again….We did not come to conquer the sacred sites of others or to restrict their religious rights, but rather to ensure the integrity of the city and to live in it with others in fraternity.” His decision is a radical one, it is probably the first time that an army conquered a religious site and instead of declaring it their own, decided to share and be inclusive.
Perhaps this current wave of violence should not be surprising considering the long standing denial of the Western Wall as a Jewish holy site by the Palestinian Authority. What is troubling is how an old libel is now finding its way into the mainstream press of today. For instance even the New York Times recently released a story questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount. The archeological record, along with the account in the Bible and extra-Biblical sources verify that the Temple existed on the Mount from the Time of King Solomon. The only question in the mind of scholars is the exact location on the mount of the Holy of Holies and the Temple itself.
Yet the fact that this question has been given the time of day by the mainstream press furthers latent anti-Semitic sentiments in the minds of many. The questioning of this holy site by Palestinians offers a justification for the latest round of violence as a religious dispute as opposed to what it really is – an attempt by Hamas and other terrorist organization to further delegitimize the State of Israel.
At the UN, Abbas denounced the Oslo accords. He recently said that the spilling of Israeli blood was pure and that Jews did not have the right to even walk on to Muslim holy sites. He has slowly allied himself further with Hamas. Hamas denies the right for Israel to even exist. They are fighting a war, which is taking place on social media, college campuses and in the court of public opinion. They are using violence to provoke Israel, so that the world once again condemn Israel when she eventually retaliates, while they still have the ability to claim themselves as victims.
Meanwhile Israelis try and defend themselves from attacks, which are silent. There are no sirens overhead warning Israelis to take cover. There is no signal indicating to them to run and hide. There are only knives flying through the air attempting to insight further violence. Abbas is calling to arms the Palestinians to defend a holy site which is not even under attack!
Most of the mainstream press is silent on the matter. The Reform Movement released a statement condemning the violence. The Jewish press is all too aware of what is happening. Yet, the Western press including CNN is silent, instead it focuses on each side blaming the other side and not backing down. The reality is far different.
Shame on them for being silent and turning a blind eye to the truth!
I am so troubled at the level of hatred. The Palestinians have blamed the Israelis for backing out of the peace talks, yet it was they who backed out. The world is silent as Palestinians are being murdered in Yarmuk , a refugee camp in Syria. The world only speaks out when it believes that Israelis are the culprits at the death of Palestinians.
Meanwhile the American Jewish community is still struggling to build bridges back together after this past summers divisive debate over the Iran deal. We are not present to what is really happening. We as Americans are only present to the things we want to see.
In the close of the narrative of Isaac and Ishmael we see the two brothers coming together. Isaac who was almost sacrificed by his father’s hand and was deeply traumatized by the event and Ishmael who was left to die in the desert becomes their brother’s keeper. Together they bury Abraham (Genesis 25:9) and they settle near each other in Beer-lahai-roi (Genesis 25:11). In the end, they learned that for the other to live in peace they had to be each other’s keeper. There must be two states; there must be an end to the disgusting talk of delegitimizing the rights of one for the sake of the other. The world community needs to have higher expectations of the Palestinians and see them for who they are. They need to stop holding Israel to a standard no other western nation is held and they need to stop religious extremism which is the true source for much of this current pain.
I pray for my brothers and sisters! I pray for the safety of the Israeli people, may they be able to walk freely and safely without fear of death! And may the Palestinians have courageous leaders who are able to support the people toward statehood.