As I wrote two weeks ago, and as Bernard-Henri Levy, Bret Stephens, Ron Dermer, and even the liberal Jeffrey Goldberg, have also all said, the belief expressed by many that the cause of the current violence in Israel is the so-called “occupation” of the West Bank, or the settlements, is both naïve and counterfactual.
Israel’s military presence in the West Bank is the result of Arab violence against Israel, specifically, the Jordanian attack on Israeli Jerusalem in 1967, and not vice versa. Arab violence against Jews has existed for as long as Jews and Arabs have existed throughout the Middle East, and Arab violence against Jews in what is today Israel certainly pre-dates not only the 1967 war, but the reestablishment of the Jewish state. If Palestinian Arabs truly wanted to end what they call occupation, and to have independence, they could have done so three times over –in 2000, in 2008, and in 2014.
We now learn that, according to the Besa Center, 90% of the recent attackers live in East Jerusalem. This means they are either Israeli citizens or eligible for Israeli citizenship if they choose to obtain it. These individuals have equal rights under Israeli law, including the right to vote and to be represented in the Knesset. Unless you are one of the irrational racists who believe that Israel’s very existence constitutes “occupation,” it is simply illogical to assert that they are motivated to what amounts to a new form of suicide attack by Israel’s so-called occupation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I come before you today from Palestine, compelled to sound the alarm about the grave dangers of what is happening in Jerusalem, where extremist Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque, aimed at imposing a new reality and dividing Al- Haram Al-Sharif temporally, allowing extremists, under the protection of Israeli occupying forces and accompanying ministers and Knesset members, to enter the Mosque at certain times, while preventing Muslim worshipers from accessing and entering the Mosque at those times and freely exercising their religious rights.
This is the scheme that the Israeli government is pursuing, in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter. By doing so, the occupying power is committing a grave mistake, because we will not accept this, and the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of this illegal scheme, which is aggravating the sensitivities of Palestinians and Muslims everywhere.
Like Arafat before him, Abbas has instigated this wave of violence intentionally. And now we know why.
The Times of Israel reported on Saturday that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told the Fatah Central Committee last week that,
The events in recent weeks — namely the wave of violence marked by Palestinian stabbing attacks against Israelis, and clashes across the West Bank — has put the Palestinian issue back on the international agenda.
With all the truly terrible things happening in the world today, it seems the Palestinian Arabs simply were not getting enough attention, and so Abbas decided that they needed to throw a temper tantrum. He then instigated that tantrum with incitement in his speeches. Incitement — and Western appeasement of that incitement — is the cause of the violence.