There can be no justification for murder, the violence in Jerusalem isn’t about metal detectors, and there is a way out of this.
Tensions in Jerusalem exploded last week in a bloody day that left four Palestinians and three Israelis dead. Israeli security forces killed two Palestinians during demonstrations outside Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday, while a third Palestinian was shot and killed by a settler in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ma’ale Zeitim. On Saturday night, a fourth Palestinian was killed during protests. Meanwhile on Friday, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Kobar broke into the adjacent Israeli settlement of Halamish and stabbed three Israelis to death, before being shot and wounded by a neighbor. Here are six things we need to keep in mind when talking about the quickly spiraling violence we are currently witnessing.
1. There is no, and can be no justification for the murder of families sitting in their homes. Not in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, not in the settlement of Itamar, and not in the Gaza Strip. It cannot be justified by the occupation or because one happens to live next door to a Hamas police commander targeted by an Israeli missile. There can be no justification.
2. The protests and civil disobedience by Palestinians in East Jerusalem over the past week, which led to a predictable and preventable outbreak of violence over the weekend, are not taking place simply because they don’t like passing through metal detectors, as Noa Levy wrote. The core issue is the gradual changes Israel is making to the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound, and the establishment of Israeli checkpoints at the entrance to it, where there had previously been no checkpoint. Israeli restrictions on who can enter al-Aqsa Mosque compound are what led to the mass protests over the past week.
3. No, it is not accurate to say that “the Palestinians violated the status quo.” An act of violence perpetrated by three people — an act that was condemned by the Palestinian Authority, the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, the entire Joint List slate of Arab political parties in Israel — cannot be reasonably blamed on an entire nation. Furthermore, let’s not forget that the three attackers were Israeli citizens living in Israel, who traveled to the site of the attack in Jerusalem from their homes in Israel, all of which is under...Read More