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Facts and Logic About the Middle East

September 29, 2015

A UN resolution—supported by the US—fuels Palestinians' anti-Semitic violence

Dear Friend of Israel:

If you've been following Palestinian attacks on Jews in Jerusalem and especially on and around Jerusalem's Temple Mount, you know that the cause of this violence is pure incitement by Palestinian leaders and the local "Arab street."

Palestinians are agitating because of utterly false rumors that Israel intends to restrict Muslim prayer in and around the al-Aksa mosque atop the Temple Mount and/or that Israel intends to tear down the mosque and build a new temple on the site of the Second Temple, which was destroyed by Romans in 70 CE, hundreds of years before Arabs arrived in the region.

In truth, Israel has changed no policies regarding prayer by Muslims atop the Mount (they may freely do so) or by Jews (they may not) and has denied any such intent.

Likewise, despite the occasional ultra-Orthodox rant about restoring the Temple (Israel is a free-speech nation, after all), no Israeli official has ever announced plans that would threaten al-Aksa.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who knows these facts very well, nonetheless persists in fanning the flames—endangering both Jews and his own people.

Abbas has hysterically warned of the Temple Mount sites being "contaminated" by Jews, saying they "have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet" and "no right to defile" the Mount, which he asserts belongs exclusively to Muslims. (If you ever doubted Abbas's anti-Semitism, there's more proof.)

Fold into this incendiary cocktail the results of recent polls, indicating that 57 percent of Palestinians now support another intifada—a violent uprising—against Israel. Recall that the last intifada in 2000 was also the result of agitation around the Temple Mount—in that case the peaceful visit by Israeli political leader Ariel Sharon to the site.

As if to assist Palestinian militants in perpetuating their false propaganda against Israel and inciting even more violence, the UN Security Council last week issued a statement condemning recent violence on the Temple Mount, clearly written from the Palestinian perspective, since it only refers to the site by its Arab name, Haram al-Sharif.

Using perverse rhetorical gymnastics of moral equivalency, the UN statement also calls for both sides to use restraint and maintain the status quo. Of course it is manifestly the Palestinians who are disturbing the status quo by denying Jewish rights to the Mount and with unprovoked attacks on Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims.

One big question : Why did the Obama administration agree to such a one-sided statement from the Security Council? (Suffice it to say, U.S.-Israel relations can only improve following the next U.S. Presidential election.)

This week's FLAME Hotline featured article, below, by stalwart Israel observer Jonathan Tobin, exposes the treachery of the UN statement and its U.S. support. Tobin also shows how Palestinian attacks and the UN statement bring the region closer to another intifada and perhaps war.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to review this piece, then pass it on to your friends and colleagues who may benefit from it. For more background on the ancient rights of Jews to a state in the Holy Land with Jerusalem as its capital, please see the P.S. immediately below.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Vice President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)


As you know, Israel gets regularly battered in the media for its "occupation" of parts of Judea and Samaria (aka "the West Bank"). Yet the Palestinians themselves go further—denying Israel rights to any part of the Holy Land and fighting for nearly 70 years to eject the Jews. In truth, the Jews are the indigenous people of Palestine and are occupying their ancestral homeland. FLAME's latest editorial message makes clear that despite Palestinian efforts to rewrite history, the Jews established a kingdom in Palestine 1,800 years before the Arabs arrived. In the hope that you, too, believe we must correct the lie that Palestinians have priority rights in the Holy Land, I offer a preview of FLAME's latest position paper: "Who are the Indigenous People of Palestine?" This piece is now appearing in magazines and newspapers, including college newspapers, with a combined circulation of some 10 million people. In addition, it is being sent to every member of the U.S. Congress. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel's behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME's powerful ability to influence public opinion comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you'll consider giving a donation now, as you're able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now more than ever we need your support to ensure that Israel gets the support it needs—from the U.S. Congress, from President Obama, and from the American people.

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UN bias encourages Palestinian violence

by Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, September 20, 2015

With incidents of Palestinian violence growing in recent weeks, Israelis are wondering now if the Jewish New Year that is just beginning will soon bring with it a new war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. Hamas has been hard at work in recent months digging new terror tunnels and fortifying the strip with Iranian assistance. But the decision of the Palestinian Authority and its leader Mahmoud Abbas to try to compete with the Islamists by ramping up tensions in Jerusalem has made a renewal of last year's fighting an even greater possibility. But rather than seek to calm these tensions, the United States has been largely silent about Abbas's incitement as well as Iran's role in stirring up more trouble. Just as troubling is the way the United Nations Security Council has reacted to the dispute over the Temple Mount. Last week, it issued a statement that made it clear the international community has no respect for Jewish rights in the holy city.

But it also indicated that it is openly siding with Palestinians who are seeking to use this issue as a way to stir up even more hatred against Israelis and Jews. The willingness of the Obama administration to acquiesce to this disreputable stand shows its untrustworthiness as an ally, as well as the dangers that lie ahead for Israel should the president seek to restart peace talks.

Any discussion about the Temple Mount must begin with an acknowledgment that Israel has sought to preserve the unsatisfactory status quo whereby the holiest spot in Judaism remains under the sole authority of a Muslim Wakf. Jews are prohibited from praying on the site, a rule enforced by Israeli police. But not even this is enough to satisfy Palestinian radicals who routinely harass non-Muslim visitors and subject Jews who dare to ascend the plateau to constant abuse. Just as bad, the mosques there have been used as staging areas for Arab violence with stones and firebombs stored there. While a minority of Jews has agitated for the right to pray there, the "hardline" Netanyahu has resolutely opposed them. But it has been forced to step in to forestall violence on the Temple Mount, which overlooks the Western Wall Plaza.

But as they have done throughout the last century, Palestinian leaders are using the Temple Mount to fuel more hatred by claiming that Jews are trying to destroy the mosques. Even supposed moderate Abbas said this week that he was seeking to prevent "filthy Jewish feet" from desecrating holy places and did so without criticism from the Obama administration that has lauded him as a force for peace. The number of incidents in which Palestinians used firebombs or stones to attack Jews, included one in which a 64-year-old Jewish man was murdered on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, is rising. Not to be outdone, the possibility of Hamas using its massive rocket arsenal to up the ante with both Israel and Abbas's Fatah Party may bring the region to the brink of another war.

Yet faced with this crisis, the UN Security Council issued a statement that ignored the truth about what is happening on the Temple Mount. The Security Council referred to the Temple Mount-the site of the biblical Holy Temples - upon which Muslim conquerors subsequently built mosques only by its Arabic name, the Haram al-Sharif. This is a blatant denial of both Jewish and Christian ties to the site. Nor did it mention that Palestinians who seek to deny not only Jewish rights but also Jewish history in Jerusalem solely initiated the violence there.

It ignored the question of Jewish rights and merely stated that the "Muslim worshippers at the Haram Al-Sharif must be allowed to worship in peace, free from violence, threats, and provocations." This is absurd since no one is threatening Muslim worshippers there with violence. To the contrary, it is the Palestinians who are threatening the Jews as well as seeking to prevent Jews from exercising their rights.

But while this latest example of UN bias against Israel might be dismissed as meaningless, it is actually quite significant. Palestinian leaders seeking to foment a wave of religious hatred against Israel will only be encouraged by this kind of international support to step up their incitement. Moreover, they cannot have failed to note that the United States went along with this sort of one-sided approach to a dispute in which the Palestinians are the ones who are seeking to escalate.

This does more than give Abbas an incentive to keep stoking the fires of hate in order to make his faction appear to be as militant as Hamas. It may provide the justification for more terrorism against Jews in Jerusalem or the West Bank that will be viewed by Palestinians as a defense of their religion. Just as last year's war began with violence in the West Bank, there is always the chance that the same pattern could repeat itself leading to more bloodshed.

But even if the cease-fire with Hamas holds and all Abbas will do is to posture and threaten without more violence, this stance on Jerusalem by the UN and the United States is a portent of future diplomatic trouble for Israel.

By treating the Temple Mount in this manner, the U.S. is signaling the Palestinians that they need not moderate their stance on seeking Jerusalem's division should peace talks ever resume. It also illustrates the fallacy behind expecting the Palestinian Authority to respect Jewish rights even in the event that they were prepared to sign a peace agreement. This effort is more proof that the goal of the Palestinians isn't just to re-partition Jerusalem but rather to deny Jewish claims and evict hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in the currently undivided city.

Of course, that is a purely theoretical problem since Abbas has repeatedly showed that he will not agree to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. But it does undermine Obama's rationale for pressuring Israel to bribe the Palestinians to come back to the peace table should that be on the top of his agenda when he meets next with Prime Minister Netanyahu in November.

By backing Abbas in his effort to needlessly inflame Muslim sentiments about Jerusalem, the UN and Obama are playing with fire. If the president truly cares about peace, instead of backing Abbas's incitement, he should be issuing a clear warning to the Palestinians that he will support Israel's effort to crack down on terror. Anything less than that will constitute a green light to both Fatah and Hamas as they continue pushing the region down the road to more conflict.






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