Why the Temple Mount Proves Palestinians Don’t Want Peace
If this still comes as a shock to anyone, the Huffington Post recently published an impassioned defense of the current Palestinian terror spree in Israel. David Palumbo-Liu, a professor of comparative literature at Stanford, blames Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policy of allowing more Jewish visitation at the Temple Mount — or the “brutal theft of their [Palestinian] religion and culture” as Palumbo-Liu describes it — for the recent escalation of violence in Israel.
Aside from the terrorism apologetics, curiously absent from the essay is any mention of the significance that the site holds for Jews, namely that it is considered the holiest place on Earth. The site housed the first and second Jewish temples, and has been considered the capital of Jewish worship since before Islam existed. Furthermore, Mr. Netanyahu’s policy allows Jews and Christians the right to visit the site as tourists for a few hours a day, but not the right to pray, sing, or make any religious displays. But since when did the truth stop those who want to bash Israel?
Also dubiously omitted from Palumbo-Liu’s essay is the fact that Palestinian clerics have been using Temple Mount hysteria to incite violence against Jews for many years. In the early 20th century, Arab leaders provoked mass riots and attacks on Jews claiming that Jewish prayers at the Western Wall were an attempt to seize the Temple Mount from Muslim control. This paranoia culminated in the 1929 massacre of 69 Jews in Hebron after false rumors circulated that Jews had defiled the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Ironic as it seems, the Huffington Post article was published just days before a Palestinian mob set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus — another sacred Jewish shrine. The author also omits the fact that the Israelis could have easily annexed the Temple Mount in 1967, just as today they could annex the site; yet the Israelis have willfully left it in Muslim hands.
Amidst the misinformation and distortions, the situation at the Temple Mount does offer significant insight into the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whenever peace comes, it will require coexistence between both sides and cooperation from Israeli and Palestinian leaders. For his part, Netanyahu has offered an outright concession: Muslims have retained control of the Temple Mount, and Jews and Christians have been barred from praying there as to not invalidate its Muslim significance.
The Palestinian Authority should relish the opportunity to prove that coexistence is a priority for them. Yet, the supposedly moderate P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas has incited terrorism and violence against Israelis for weeks. On September 16, Abbas told a Palestinian TV network that “we [the PA] welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem,” and later said “they have no right to desecrate them with their filthy feet” — referring to Jews visiting Muslims holy sites.
So long as the Palestinians are unwilling to accept a compromise that largely benefits them, they show once again that they do not want peace. Until Abbas and the P.A. — and their cronies like David Palumbo-Liu — stop feeding a narrative of Palestinian victimhood, there will never be peace.
If the Palestinians were serious about freedom and coexistence, the Temple Mount would be a good place to start showing it.