Israel risks a conflagration

Khalid Amayreh

Palestinians push a garbage bin containing a fire to block
a road during clashes with Israeli security forces at a pro-
test against the closure of Shuhada street to Palestinians,
in Hebron.
(Intro/Photo/Caption: Al-Ahram Weekly)

Israeli attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and attempts to Judaise Jerusalem are risking the outbreak of violence across the region, writes Khalid Amayreh in the occupied Palestinian territories

Undeterred by the Arab world's reactions to repeated Israeli provocations in Jerusalem, particularly the recurrent encroachments by Jewish millenarians, the Israeli government has accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of "inciting Muslims against Israel".

Israeli criticisms of the PA were stepped up this week following a one-day conference in Qatar that discussed Israeli measures to Judaise occupied East Jerusalem and obliterate its traditional Arab-Islamic identity.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lashed out at PA President Mahmoud Abbas, describing him as a "threat to Israelis and Israel" and claiming that the Palestinian leader was adopting "extremist attitudes that are harmful to peace".

In Doha, Abbas had reiterated the longstanding Palestinian position that the PA would never sign a peace treaty with Israel that did not include full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied city.

Abbas also warned that the Israeli policy of allowing Jewish fanatics to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque and hold rituals there amounted to playing with fire, saying that this behaviour was creating a time bomb that could go off at any moment.

Many of the Jewish individuals concerned are affiliated with Jewish terrorist groups, such as Gush Emunim and Kahana, which hold that the existence of Israel is incomplete without the temple. The building of the latter could herald the appearance of the Jewish messiah or redeemer, they believe.

On 23 February, Jewish settlers attacked the court of the Al-Aqsa Mosque while under the protection of the Israeli security forces, which prevented hundreds of Palestinian worshipers from accessing the Mosque to protect it from the extremists.

The settlers came in part from the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arbaa near Hebron, which is considered to be a hotbed of Jewish extremism. Earlier, calls were issued calling on "Jews who love the land of Israel" to march to the "Temple Mount" in order to "redeem it from Arab occupiers."

A statement from the Al-Quds Foundation for Endowment and Heritage condemned the latest assault on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the second of its kind in less than a month, calling it "provocative and dangerous."

"Following the incursion by extremist Jews and calls for more incursions into the Mosque compound, the Israeli occupation's police and army tightened their blockade of the Muslim sanctuary," the foundation said.

The statement said that 65 settlers had attacked the Mosque court in three groups, including a group from the settlement of Kiryat Arbaa.

Last week marked the 18th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre in Hebron, when a Jewish settler called Baruch Goldstein, also from Kiryat Arbaa, attacked Arab worshippers praying at dawn in the historic Mosque, killing 29 and injuring many others.

Instead of punishing the settlers, for example by vacating them from Hebron, the Israeli occupation authorities adopted draconian measures against the Palestinians, including protracted curfews and the forced closure of shops, as well as declaring large areas of Hebron's old town off limits to Palestinian traffic and individuals.

Following the Jewish encroachment into the Haram Al-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem last week, Palestinian protests were held in many places in the West Bank, including Hebron and Ramallah.

In Jerusalem, heavily armed Israeli paramilitary police shot and killed Talaat Ramia, 25, in cold blood as the Palestinian youth tried to repulse Jewish settlers from desecrating Muslim holy places. As many as 20 Palestinians were arrested by the occupation authorities.

Last week, another group of Jewish settlers led by Likud leader Moshe Feiglin urged supporters to flock to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to "purify the site from the enemies of Israel and build a temple on the ruins of the Mosque."

The Israeli police reportedly confiscated leaflets calling for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Some millenarian Jews believe that igniting violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque will lead to death on a genocidal scale in the Middle East and beyond, which could hasten the appearance of the Jewish messiah.

Muslim leaders in Jerusalem and elsewhere castigated the Israeli government's collusion with the settlers, warning that Israel was playing with fire.

Adnan Husseini, a noted leader, accused Israel of trying to drag the entire region, or even the entire world, into religious wars that "have a beginning but no end."

"Israel must rein in these fanatics who are playing with tinder. However, what we are seeing instead is the Israeli government colluding with them," Husseini said. "Israel must know that any foolish act against this Islamic shrine would put an end to all hopes for peace. But is Israel really concerned about peace and does it care about peace?"

Sheikh Mohamed Hussein, the mufti of Jerusalem, warned the Muslim world that Israel was testing its forbearance and trying to defeat Muslim feelings toward Jerusalem.

"Israel is trying to get Muslims to be resigned to the fact that the Al-Aqsa Mosque will be destroyed and that Muslims will be powerless to do anything about it," he said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian leaders scoffed at the recommendations of the Doha meeting, especially the decisions to complain to the UN Security Council and to form a committee to look into Israeli actions to Judaise Jerusalem and alter its cultural identity.

One Palestinian media columnist lamented "pathetic Arab impotence and powerlessness", adding that "the Security Council is part of the problem and not part of the solution."

"Jerusalem doesn't need speeches, lamentations, or fancy conferences," he said. "What it needs is another Salaheddin," known in the West as Saladin.

Many Palestinians are convinced that the mediocre outcome of the Doha meeting, coupled with the increasing audacity of terrorist Jewish groups, will eventually succeed in creating a conflagration.

The question may not now be if, but when, this conflagration takes place.

Khalid Amayreh (Arabic: خالد عمايرة‎, b. 1957 Hebron) is a Palestinian journalist based in Dura, near Hebron. Amayreh has experienced years of restrictions on his activities and travel, including imprisonment. Some of his many articled can be found here:

Amayreh has been a correspondent with numerous newspapers and news outlets:

Sharja TV, correspondent, 1994-2001
Iranian News Agency (IRNA), 1995-2006
Middle East International (London) 1995-2003
Al-Ahram Weekly (English) 1997-present
Aljazeera English ( 2003-2006
Palestine Information Center: 2000-present.
Palestine Times (daily newspaper) (has ceased publication)

Furthermore he is a prolific freelance writer contributing to many websites, e.g., The Palestinian Information Center, The People's Voice, PalestineThinkTank, Uprooted Palestinians and Al-Ahram Weekly.


Journalism and Mass communication, Theory and Practice (Arabic, 1996)
Refutation of Western Myths and Misconceptions about Islam and the Palestinian question (Arabic, 1988)
Living Under the Israeli Occupation, (Forthcoming)

List of Amayreh's articles in French
List of Amayreh's articles in Spanish

Information gleaned from Wikipedia and PIWP Database



Health topic page on womens health Womens health our team of physicians Womens health breast cancer lumps heart disease Womens health information covers breast Cancer heart pregnancy womens cosmetic concerns Sexual health and mature women related conditions Facts on womens health female anatomy Womens general health and wellness The female reproductive system female hormones Diseases more common in women The mature woman post menopause Womens health dedicated to the best healthcare
buy viagra online