Arabs Must Promote Tolerance for the Other
JNS.org – What did Jews celebrating good news in Jerusalem this year really do, according to a Silwan-based news promoter?
Jews do not tour, or walk, or visit. They seemingly come crashing through the one gate that they are permitted to enter Jerusalem through. And at the Temple Mount, where all other non-Muslim tourists from around the world can walk around anywhere, those that the police identify as Jews are accompanied by a police escort and followed by guards of the Muslim religious trust (the Waqf). They are also restricted to a specific route with no stopping for extended explanations of what is being seen, except when they reach the far eastern section.
This kind of terminology also echoes Mahmoud Abbas’ fulminations. As Palestine Media Watch documented, both the Palestinian Authority’s official TV station and Abbas’ official website carried the following declaration (there is a video recording) on September 16, 2015: “The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours … and they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”
And Abbas isn’t alone. Despite an obligation contained in Article 9 of Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel that both parties “will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance … [and] will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions,” Jordanian media outlets often employ statements such as “Israeli extremist settlers … stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Other phrases include “today’s raid by the Jewish settlers” and “extremist settlers provocatively toured the Al-Aqsa yards, and were briefed on the alleged ‘Temple Mount’ by rabbis accompanying them, while Muslim worshipers and the mosque’s guards peacefully confronted them chanting ‘Allahu Akbar.’”
Worse, using the term “alleged” in referring to the site’s Jewish history — as if that history were false — calls into question Jordan’s own existence. Abdullah, the kingdom’s founder, only set foot in the area, claiming to be its ruler, in November 1920. And it was only in 1922 that Transjordan was separated from the territory that had been mandated to reconstitute the historic Jewish national home.
Here is a pro-Palestinian piece published in Indiana that illustrates just how irrational the view of Jewish rights in Jerusalem is. The writer describes his “sense of bafflement as to how the entire world could become apathetic to the plight of my people. How a site that is holy to all three Abrahamic faiths has been rendered unholy by injustice and bloodshed.”
He is only baffled because either he is ignorant or willfully blind to historical reality, and ignores what Muslims have done to Jewish holy sites. Jews could not approach the Western Wall between 1948 and 1967, despite the guarantee of such a right in Article VIII:2 of the Jordan-Israel armistice agreement. Our gravestones — tens of thousands of them on the Mount of Olives — were desecrated. Except for one, all the synagogues in Jerusalem’s Old City were ransacked and some were destroyed.
Yet somehow, Arab deeds are conveniently forgotten.
If Arabs do not recognize their errors and misdeeds, do not stop employing prevarications and falsehoods in their propaganda, and do not fulfill signed commitments, then they are not going to achieve any of their minimal demands, much less peace.
To obtain peace, they must use the language of peace.
Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli journalist and author.