[News] Subduing al-Quds: Israel’s High-stake Game in al-Aqsa and Why Netanyahu May Prevail

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 23 11:50:33 EDT 2015


September 23, 2015


  Subduing al-Quds: Israel’s High-stake Game in al-Aqsa and Why
  Netanyahu May Prevail
  <http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/subduing-al-quds-israels-high-stake-game-in-al-aqsa-and-why-netanyahu-may-prevail/>

by Ramzy Baroud <http://www.counterpunch.org/author/ramzy-baroud/>

*http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/23/subduing-al-quds-israels-high-stake-game-in-al-aqsa-and-why-netanyahu-may-prevail/*

The State of Israel was established on the ruins of Palestine, based on 
a series of objectives that were initialed by letters from the Hebrew 
alphabet, the consequences of which continue to guide Israeli strategies 
to this day. The current violence against Palestinian worshippers at 
al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem is a logical extension of the 
same Zionist ambition.

Plan A (February, 1945), Plan B (May, 1947) and Plan C (November, 1947) 
all strove to achieve the same end: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine of 
its original inhabitants. It was not until March 1948 that Plan Dalet 
(Hebrew for Plan D) brought together all of the preparatory stages for 
final implementation.

Championed by the Haganah Jewish militias, ‘Plan Dalet’ saw the 
destruction of hundreds of villages, the depopulation of entire cities 
and the defense of the new country’s borders, ensuring Palestinian 
refugees are never allowed back. For Palestinians, that phase of their 
history is known as the “Nakba”, or the “Catastrophe”.

‘Dalet’ was an astounding success from the Zionists’ viewpoint. However, 
the borders were never truly defined – in order to allow for territorial 
expansion, at the opportune time. That moment came when Israel launched 
its war of 1967 (known to Palestinians as ‘Naksa’ or the ‘Setback’), 
seizing East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, thus sealing the fate of 
entire historic Palestine.

Occupied Jerusalem was not open for negotiations: it is Israel’s 
historic, eternal and undivided capital, they claimed, citing or 
misinterpreting biblical references as they saw fit. Almost immediately, 
the Israeli Government annexed Jerusalem by extending the West Jerusalem 
municipal borders to include newly conquered East Jerusalem.

It was not until 1980 when Israel passed a law that explicitly annexed 
the illegally occupied city to become part of the so-called Israel 
proper. Since then, Jerusalem has been a major point of strife, 
political conflict and controversy. Understandably, the Jerusalem 
political discourse is conflated with discussion about religion, but it 
is far more encompassing than a conflict over access to holy sites.

The fate of Jerusalem and its holy sites cannot be understood separately 
from the fate of Palestine. And the daily struggle of Palestinian 
Muslims and Christians in that City is a representation of the struggle 
of Palestinians everywhere.

As West Jerusalem was conquered under ‘Plan Dalet’, East Jerusalem, like 
the rest of the Occupied Territories was, along with other Palestinian 
regions, the target of another plan: The ‘Allon Plan’.

It was named after Yigal Allon, a former general and minister in the 
Israeli Government, who took on the task of drawing an Israeli vision 
for the newly conquered Palestinian Territories. While the Israeli 
Government moved to immediately change the status quo governing East 
Jerusalem, the ‘Allon Plan’ sought to annex more than 30 percent of the 
West Bank and all of Gaza for ‘security purposes’.

It stipulated the establishment of a “security corridor” along the River 
Jordan, as well outside the “Green Line”, a one-sided Israeli 
demarcation of its borders with the West Bank. The plan envisioned the 
incorporation of all of the Gaza Strip into Israel, and was meant to 
return parts of the West Bank to Jordan as a first step toward 
implementing the “Jordanian option” for Palestinian refugees, i.e., 
ethnic cleansing, coupled with the creation of an ‘alternative homeland’ 
for Palestinians.

While the plan did not fully actualize, the seizure, ethnic cleansing 
and annexation of occupied land was a resounding success. Moreover, the 
‘Allon Plan’ provided an unmistakable signal that the Labor Government, 
which ruled Israel at the time, had every intention of retaining large 
parts of the West Bank and all of Gaza, with no intention of honoring 
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which challenged 
Israel’s military takeover of Palestinian territories.

To ensure seizure of new land would be irreversible, the Labor 
Government needed to move some of its citizens (in violation of the 
Geneva Conventions) to the newly-occupied territories. Doing so required 
reaching out to the most reactionary, religious elements of Israeli 
society, the religious- ultra-nationalists camps, who were on the 
margins of mainstream politics.

To capitalize on the Government’s alluring settlement policies in the 
West Bank, a group of religious Jews rented a hotel in the Palestinian 
town of al-Khalil (Hebron) to spend Passover at the ‘Cave of the 
Patriarchs’, and simply refused to leave, sparking the biblical passion 
of religious Orthodox Israelis across the country, who referred to the 
West Bank by the Biblical name, Judea and Samaria.

The move ignited the ire of Palestinians, who watched in complete dismay 
as their land was conquered, renamed and, later, settled by outsiders. 
In 1970, to ‘diffuse’ the situation, the Israeli Government constructed 
the ‘Kiryat Arba’ Settlement on the outskirts of the Arab city, which 
invited even more orthodox Jews to al-Khalil.

The ‘Allon Plan’ may have been intended for strategic purposes; but out 
of necessity, what began as political objectives intermingled with what 
became religious and spiritual.

Over the years, the strategic settlement growth was complemented by the 
religiously motivated expansion, championed by a vibrant movement, 
exemplified in the founding of “Gush Emunim” (Bloc of the Faithful) in 
1974. Its mission was to settle legions of fundamentalists on the West Bank.

Little has changed since, save the fact that the current Israeli 
Government is a government of settlers, who are not engaged in a 
symbiotic relationship with the Government but who dominate a political 
establishment that is teeming with zealots and fanatics, relentless on 
changing the status quo in Jerusalem, starting with Haram al-Sharif, or 
the ‘Noble Sanctuary’.

Haram al-Sharif is one of the holiest Islamic sites, but this is not 
just about religion. Israeli politicians have been ‘debating’ the status 
of Haram al-Sharif for many months, as right-wing, religious and 
ultra-nationalists elements are advocating the complete appropriation of 
the al-Aqsa Mosque (situated in Haram al-Sharif), currently under the 
management of the Islamic Trust (known as ‘Waqf’.)

Israel’s new Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, is repressing 
any Palestinian in Jerusalem who dares challenge new Israeli rules 
regarding Muslim access to al-Aqsa. Scores of Palestinians have been 
shot, beaten and many more arrested in recent days as they have 
attempted to confront Israeli police who escort Jewish extremists on 
their provocative ‘tours’ of the Muslim holy site.

The current conflict suggests a repeat of what took place on February 
25, 1994, when a US-born Jewish fanatic, Baruch Goldstein, stormed into 
the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Palestinian city of al-Khalil and opened 
fire. Over 50 Palestinians were killed while kneeling for prayer on that 
day. In the name of ‘keeping the peace’, the Israeli army took over the 
Mosque and began regulating Muslim access to it, allowing Jewish 
worshippers to the Palestinian holy site.

Goldstein and his most ardent supporters hailed from the notorious 
“Kiryat Arba” illegal Jewish settlement.

Israeli politicians now want to see the al-Aqsa Mosque status changed as 
well. The Government wants to ensure its complete dominance over 
Palestinians, while the extremists wanted to demolish the Mosque, 
seeking ancient Jewish temples presumably destroyed in 586 BC and AD 70.

But to change the status of Haram al-Sharif, which has been an exclusive 
Muslim site for the last 1,300 years, much blood would have to be 
spilled. That, too, is being managed by Israel’s Prime Minister, 
Benjamin Netanyahu, who has successfully pursued the country’s Attorney 
General to permit the use of sniper fire against protesting Palestinian 
youth.

With such right-wing and extremist politicians at his side, Netanyahu’s 
designs in Jerusalem are consistent with the political mood in Israel 
today, and also consistent with plans enacted by his predecessors many 
years ago.

The fact that plans to conquer even the remaining symbols of Palestinian 
nationhood and spirituality have finally reached al-Aqsa is particularly 
alarming. Considering the turmoil throughout the Middle East region and 
the ineffectual Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, Netanyahu is 
likely to push forward with his plan, no matter the price or the 
consequences.

/*Dr. Ramzy Baroud* has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 
years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media 
consultant, an author of several books and the founder of 
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom 
Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: 
ramzybaroud.net/

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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