The Jordan Times
September 30, 2009 - 12:00am

It is vexing to see Israel repeatedly refusing to understand that Al Aqsa Mosque, the entire Haram Al Sharif compound, is a red line that should not be crossed unless it seeks to trigger another militant Palestinian Intifada.

And so it is that a few days ago, Jewish zealots and Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinian worshippers defending the sanctity of their holy sites from intruders in and around the area.

September 2000 cannot be so far in the memory that Israel cannot remember how the then-prime minister Ariel Sharon’s entering the Haram Al Sharif triggered the second, violent, Palestinian Intifada. Over the years, the death toll from that uprising was over 5,500 for the Palestinians, about 1,000 for the Israelis and about 60 foreign citizens.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears reluctant, or incapable, to learn from history; he is allowing some Jewish settlers to test or challenge the Palestinian patience and religious sensitivities once again, knowing the price that could be paid.

The Arab and Muslim worlds are angry because of this latest Israeli provocation, its violation of the Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem, which come, seemingly ironically, just as US President Barack Obama appealed for jumpstarting the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Much hope has been pinned on Obama to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict once and for all; it wasn’t long lived, however, for as soon as this Israeli government came to power, all the goodwill generated by Obama’s promise to settle the Palestinian question was squandered by its refusal to freeze settlement activities on Palestinian land.

Netanyahu is obviously bent on destroying all hope that the Arab-Israeli conflict will finally be solved during Obama’s first year in the White House. How else can one explain this sudden, and serious, provocation in East Jerusalem, orchestrated for the specific purpose of derailing the efforts to resurrect the faltering peace process in the Middle East?

Hopefully the US and other major powers will take note of this latest Israeli provocation and do something effective about it.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017