The city is a tinderbox, and no one wants to set off a fatal spark.
A prominent Israeli journalist tweeted on Wednesday that Netanyahu’s government expects the United States to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “perhaps as early as Sunday.” Dana Weiss, the chief political analyst for Channel 2 News and the anchor of her own prime time weekly television magazine program, also wrote that her sources had told her the U.S. would announce plans to move its embassy to Jerusalem. According to the information she shared, the impetus for this move came on the back of pressure from Trump’s Christian evangelist supporters.
בירושלים מעריכים שסבירות גבוה מאד שנשיא טראמפ יכריז בימים הקרובים אולי בראשית השבוע הבא בהכרה בירושלים כבירה הרשמית ויודיע על ההתחלת הכנות להעברה של השגרירות. טראמפ לא רוצה לחתום על הויתור המתקרב &לחץ כבד מצד אונגליסטים ולכן לא ממתין עם לתוכנית המדינית.כך יגיע פנס לי-ם עם בשורה
— Dana Weiss (@danawt) November 29, 2017
At least one of her colleagues referred to her tweet as a “scoop.” But a few hours, a bit of a social media tempest later, and a denial from the White House, it’s pretty clear that this incident is really about political machinations and dealings between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.
East Jerusalem’s walled Old City is home to the sites holiest to all three monotheistic religions. These include Al Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam; and the Kotel, or Western Wall (a retaining wall of the ancient temple), which practicing Jews view as their holiest site. Both sites hold cultural and political significance even for non-believers.
Jerusalem is a tinderbox — as demonstrated by the events of last summer. In July, Netanyahu briefly acceded to the Jerusalem police chief’s insistence that metal detectors controlled by Israeli security — in other words a checkpoint — should be set up at the entrance to the compound, known as The Noble Sanctuary (Haram al-Sharif) on which Al Aqsa sits. Palestinians, for whom the compound is the only place in Israeli-controlled territory where they can gather freely, responded with days of sustained protests, which Israeli security forces dispersed quite brutally. For Palestinians, the metal detectors were an attempt by Israel to take control of Al Aqsa, which is presided over by the Waqf — Muslim religious authorities funded by the King of Jordan,...Read More