[News] The story behind the Jerusalem attack: How Trump and Netanyahu pushed Palestinians to a corner

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 18 11:04:28 EDT 2017


  The story behind the Jerusalem attack: How Trump and Netanyahu pushed
  Palestinians to a corner

July 18, 2017 - By: Ramzy Baroud - 
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=778168

Ramzy Baroud <http://www.ramzybaroud.net/> is an internationally 
syndicated columnist, author, and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. 
His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story.

In early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/misbah-abu-sbeih-reached-breaking-point-family-161011102251854.html> 
left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli 
police station in occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem.

The 39-year-old Jerusalemite was scheduled to hand himself over to serve 
a term of four months in jail for, allegedly, trumped-up charges of 
“trying to hit an Israeli soldier.”

Misbah was familiar with Israeli prisons, having been held there before 
on political charges, including an attempt to sneak into and pray at the 
Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of a large compound known as Haram al-Sharif 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2015/11/jerusalem-dividing-al-aqsa-151110154741523.html>, 
which includes -- aside from Al-Aqsa -- the famed Dome of the Rock and 
other Palestinian Muslim sites, revered by Muslims everywhere.

Al-Aqsa is believed to be the second mosque ever to be built 
<http://www.aljazeera.net/encyclopedia/citiesandregions/2014/11/8/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%AC%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%82%D8%B5%D9%89>, 
the first being Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The Holy Quran mentions it as 
the place from which Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, journeying 
from Mecca to Jerusalem.

For Palestinians, Muslims, and Christians alike, the Mosque took on a 
new meaning following the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian city of 
al-Quds (East Jerusalem) in 1967.

Scenes of Israeli soldiers 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/06/50-years-israeli-occupation-longest-modern-history-170604111317533.html> 
raising the Israeli flag over Muslim and Christian shrines in the city 
fifty years ago, are burnt into the collective memory of several 
generations.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been the 
focal point of clashes 
<https://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-latest-provocation-al-aqsa/8749> 
between Palestinian worshipers and the Israeli army.

Daily visitors to the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem include 
non-Muslims tourists. They are often welcomed by the Al-Waqf 
<http://www.alternativenews.org/index.php/features-02/221-dangerous-politics-behind-israeli-visits-to-al-aqsa-mosque> 
administration, which is the Islamic religious trust that manages the 
holy shrines, a practice dating back 500 years.

Even after the Israeli occupation of the Arab city, al-Waqf has 
continued to be the caretaker of the Muslim site, as arranged between 
the Jordanian government and Israel.

Israeli design in the occupied city, however, is far greater than the 
mosque itself. Last April, the Israeli government announced plans 
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-settlements-idUSKBN17U1OS> 
to build 15,000 new housing units in occupied Jerusalem, contrary to 
international law.

The international community recognizes East Jerusalem as a Palestinian 
city. The United States, too, accepts international consensus on 
Jerusalem, and attempts by the US Congress to challenge the White House 
on this understanding have all failed. That is, until Donald Trump came 
to power.

Prior to his inauguration in January, Trump had promised to relocate the 
American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement was 
welcomed by Israeli right-wing politicians and extremists alike. Many of 
Israel's supporters in the US saw this as a good sign for the Trump 
presidency.

While the US embassy has yet to officially move to Jerusalem, the new 
administration is sending a message that it is no longer bound by 
international law with regard to the occupied territories.

Not only is the US abandoning its self-tailored role as a “peace broker” 
between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, but it is sending a clear 
signal to Israel that there can be no pressure on Israel regarding the 
status of Jerusalem.

In response, the United Nations and its various institutions have moved 
quickly to reassure Palestinians.

The UN cultural agency, UNESCO, has been the most active in this regard. 
Despite US-Israeli pressure, several resolutions have been passed by 
UNESCO and the UN General Assembly in recent months, which have 
reaffirmed Palestinian rights in the city.

Israel and the US moved to punish Palestinians for UNESCO’s decisions.

It began when the Israeli Knesset began pushing laws that make life even 
more difficult for Palestinian Jerusalemites, including a law that 
limits the Muslim call for prayer 
<http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-bill-mosque-call-to-prayer-muslim-islam-mosque-pass-first-reading-parliament-a7620336.html>. 
The law, which passed its second reading last March, was championed by 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli police expanded the ever-growing list of Palestinians who are 
not allowed to reach their houses of worship. The list included Misbah 
Abu Sbeih, who was repeatedly arrested, beaten, and incarcerated by the 
Israeli police.

The Israeli government then opened up the floodgates of settlement 
expansion in the occupied city, after being partially limited during the 
presidency of Barack Obama. In part, that was Netanyahu’s response to UN 
Resolution 2334 <https://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12657.doc.htm>, 
which demanded an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in 
Jerusalem and the occupied territories.

Concurrently, the new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, took on the 
task of silencing any international criticism of the Israeli occupation, 
calling international attempts to end the occupation a form of 
“bullying.” 
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the-un-bullies-israel--haley-tells-netanyahu-in-jerusalem/2017/06/07/c4796a58-4b7a-11e7-b69d-c158df3149e9_story.html>

Assured by the unconditional US support, Netanyahu moved to new 
extremes. He severed his country's ties with UNESCO 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/israel-suspends-unesco-ties-al-aqsa-resolution-161014094246490.html> 
and called for the dismantlement of UN headquarters in the occupied 
Palestinian city.

East Jerusalem was already illegally annexed by Israel in 1980, but 
without international acceptance of such a measure, the Israeli move 
seemed pointless.

Now, Israel feels that times are changing, as the Trump administration 
offers Israel a window of opportunity to normalize its illegal 
occupation and annexation of the city.

In recent months, Palestinians have responded in myriad ways. They have 
worked with various countries across the globe to challenge the 
Israeli-US plans.

Most Palestinian efforts, although successful to some extent, have 
failed to sway Israel in any way.
The political upheaval has translated on the ground to more violence, as 
thousands of Israeli occupation soldiers and police were rushed to the 
city to restrict Palestinian movement and to block thousands of 
worshipers from reaching Al-Aqsa. Hundreds were detained in a massive 
security campaign.

In the absence of a strong leadership, Palestinians are growing 
increasingly desperate and angry. The Palestinian Authority is largely 
busy in its own pitiful power struggles and appears to have no time for 
Palestinians, who are left with little hope for a political horizon and 
no clear sense of direction.

While thousands of Palestinians have resisted through constantly 
attempting to reach Al-Aqsa or demonstrated in protest, others are 
“reaching the breaking point.” One was Misbah Abu Sbeih.
Once he arrived at the Israeli military police station, Mishbah did not 
give himself up. Instead, he opened fire, killing an Israeli army 
officer from the Yassam unit and another Israeli. He was killed instantly.

Other attacks followed. On Friday, July 14, the holiest day of the week 
in the Muslim calendar, three Palestinian men attacked Israeli soldiers 
and police officers stationed near one of the Haram's gates.

They killed two Israeli officers 
<http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/palestinians-killed-shooting-jerusalem-city-170714045419071.html>, 
and were killed by occupation soldiers, soon after. This is the first 
time that an attack of this nature has been recorded inside the Al-Aqsa 
compound. Since 1967, only Israelis have used arms in violent clashes 
with Palestinians. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in or 
around this holy shrine throughout the years.

Last June in Jerusalem, speaking to a crowd celebrating the 50th 
anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of the city, Netanyahu 
declared 
<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/03/un-wrongly-singling-israel-criticism-says-us-ambassador-nikki/> 
that the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound would "forever remain under Israeli 
sovereignty."

Empowered by the Trump administration and assured by Haley's tactics at 
the UN, Netanyahu feels that his dream of subduing East Jerusalem is 
being realized. The price of Netanyahu’s dream, however, is likely to be 
costly.

On the day of the attack, several Palestinians 
<http://www.palestinechronicle.com/israeli-forces-kill-two-teenagers-in-jenin/> 
were killed in various parts of the West Bank and a 3-year-old child 
from Gaza 
<http://www.palestinechronicle.com/3-year-old-child-dies-due-to-lack-of-facilities-in-gaza/> 
died while awaiting a permit to cross from the besieged region to the 
West Bank for treatment. None of this registered in international media. 
The armed Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers, however, made 
headlines around the world.

More violence is likely to follow. Palestinians, who are dying without 
much media coverage, are desperate and angry as their holy city is 
crumbling under the heavy boots of soldiers, amid international silence 
and unconditional US support for the Israeli government.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not 
necessarily reflect Ma'an News Agency's editorial policy.
-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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