8 thoughts on “Israel Decries Militant Arms Caches in Schools, Mosques: Pot Calls Kettle… – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. There were, for example, two caches in the Old City’s Hurva synagogue [ed., which may explain why the Jordanians destroyed the building after they conquered East Jerusalem], one for Lehi and one for Etzel.

    According to Wikipedia, which sources it to Collins and Lapierre’s “Oh. Jerusalem”, not only was there an arms cache in the Hurva Synagogue, but the Haganah used it as a stronghold from which to fire on the opposing Jordanian army.

    On May 25, 1948, during the battle for the Old City, commander of the Jordanian Arab Legion, Major Abdullah el Tell, wrote to Otto Lehner of the Red Cross to warn that unless the Haganah abandoned its positions in the synagogue and its adjoining courtyard, he would be forced to attack it. Moshe Russnak, commander of the Haganah in the Old City, ignored his request, knowing that if the Hurva fell, the battle for the Jewish Quarter would soon be lost.[45] On May 26, 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion delivered an ultimatum to the Jews to surrender within 12 hours; otherwise the Hurva would be bombarded.[46]

    On May 27, el-Tell, after receiving no answer to his proposition, told his men to “Get the Hurva Synagogue by noon.” Fawzi el-Kutub executed the mission by placing a 200-litre barrel filled with explosives against the synagogue wall. The explosion resulted in a gaping hole and Haganah fighters spent forty-five minutes fighting in vain to prevent the Legionnaires from entering. When they finally burst through, they tried to reach the top of its dome to plant an Arab flag. Three were shot by snipers, but the fourth succeeded. The Arab flag flying over the Old City skyline signaled the Legion’s triumph. A short while later a huge explosion reduced the 84 year old synagogue, together with the Etz Chaim Yeshiva attached to it, to rubble.[45]


    1. Not once but several times commenters here have pointed to this very act as proof of Jordanian perfidy and that Arabs can never be entrusted with care of any portion of Jerusalem for that reason. Interesting that the truth is a big more complicated than that.

      1. Yes, when you get into an issue of either party using places of worship, or hospitals or schools as a battle location it gets complicated.

        Better they (both sides of the conflict) left these places alone…. yet they didn’t and as a sad result the synagogue was blown up in this case.

        I wonder if the Jordanian Legion would have done the same thing had it been a mosque the Haganah fighters used (which I certainly wouldn’t condone)?

          1. Yup, it is certainly nice to see we can agree on some issues (maybe many) and find places of common ground to discuss a topic.

            Actually, I’m sure the farther we got away from the I-P conflict we (and I’m sure other commenters here) would find various areas of common ground.

            But in the realm of the I-P issue… and this thread. The point I am making is the unfortunate reality that various fighting forces in the distant and more recent past have (IMHO) crossed over a moral line by using ambulances, hospitals, schools and mosques/synagogues/churches to wage their war. How is the opposing side to act?

            Israel did it on various occasions in the past and in more recent years Israel has been on the “other side”, ending up having to check ambulances at check-points- causing unnecessary and costly (read “life and death”) delays for the innocent in weeding out the guilty.

            Admittedly unfair, and under the current conditions what option do they have? The arguement “so just pull out of the West Bank” etc. is a future plan that isn’t happening right now… and who knows when… what can the IDF be expected to do in the current situation?

            As for the check-points, I know firstly, they need to treat EVERY person who crosses the border with dignity- no argument from me. But, since there is no guarantee that the “next guy” isn’t concealing something life-threatening, the procedure of check-point has to be done. I’d enjoy someone to pose a better solution.

            How should/would the IDF (or ANY army) respond when terrorists/militants/freedom fighters… call them what you may, start shooting and killing innocent civilians from a church (like in Beit Jalla) or hold up with hostages, as in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem… or use a place of worship or a school as a place to fire at the enemy?

            As you said it certainly isn’t simple and both sides have to assess these situations better.

            I also would think accountability of these actions should be taken as well- again by both sides of this (any) conflict. But again… with the reality of human behavior less than alwys “Perfect”… as Richard said, the truth is very complicated.

          2. ending up having to check ambulances at check-points- causing unnecessary and costly (read “life and death”) delays for the innocent

            Actually, in the Lebanon war the IAF bombed an ambulance (I featured the pictured here) which was carrying wounded refugees fleeing the conflict in the South just as the IDF told them to do. The IDF never bothered to check the ambulance. Just bombed it. And this type of behavior unfortunately is common on Israel’s part. That’s something far more severe than “unfair.” I call it a war crime.

            The arguement “so just pull out of the West Bank” etc. is a future plan

            Not at all. Not a “future” plan at all. Very much a current plan that should & can be implemented immediately. The only reason it isn’t is Bibi’s obduracy in refusing to do so.

            what can the IDF be expected to do

            Withdraw, just like you said. And now. And I will meet yr protestations & objections with the example of the TUnisian, Egyptian & Green Revolutions which have shown that regimes in place for decades topple virtually overnight. Something like this will happen to the Occupation. The only problem w. a mass uprising in the Territories is that unlike the armies in Tunisia & Egypt which refused to kill their own, the IDF would be all too willing to kill Palestininans en masse. But perhaps (& I say this almost in horror) such mass killings is what it will take for the world to finally turn in revulsion on Israel’s Occupation & put an end to it. It gives me no sense of righteousness at all to say this may be what it would take. And it is an indictment of the outside world which has let this disastrous regime (for Israel & the Palestinians) go on far too long.

  2. The old saw, “When you point a finger at someone else, three fingers point back at yourself”, fits here.

    Related or Non Sequitur:

    An Israeli musicologist gave a guest lecture on a Providence, RI campus. He was asked about Palestinian history during the question period afterward. He looked at the crowd, and said quite seriously that these doubts were analogous to people challenging Europeans about the Indigenous communities here. ” No one questioned the Spaniards’ and Brits’ right to be here.” He said.
    This happened about 25 years ago.

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