A Mexican-American family in Pasco, WA just sued the city and police force for executing the father, who was throwing stones on a street corner. He was a poor, possibly mentally disturbed man. The police, like police almost everywhere, were poorly trained in how to manage a crisis situation involving the mentally-ill. So one rock too many brought the guns out and in a blaze of bullets, despite the fact that he was running away, he was shot in the back and murdered. Just one more poor minority gunned down by a quick-draw city police force.
In the U.S., we’ve become sensitized to these killings and in some communities formerly unheard of outcomes are happening. The police shooters are being held accountable. Attitudes, at least one can hope, are changing, however gradually. Here in Seattle, the new police chief fired a white officer for arresting an elderly Black man who was using a golf club as a walking stick. The officer claimed he’d beat her with the club, when footage from her own police video camera showed she’d lied.
Israel hasn’t gotten the memo. There, the police and army are moving in the opposite direction. It’s standard operating procedure to shoot first and ask questions later. Though often questions aren’t even asked. Often murdering Palestinians is grounds for promotion.
But now Israel’s attorney general, the officer supposed to maintain the rule of law, has permitted security forces to open fire at will on protesting Palestinians. Until now, there has been a distinction regarding the rules of engagement for Israeli forces: in the West Bank they could use live ammunition to break up protests, even if a projectile as minor as a stone was used. But East Jerusalem, formally annexed by Israel, had different rules of engagement. There you could not resort to live fire during similar protests.
However, over the past week Palestinians have mounted protests in the Old City, especially at the Al Aqsa mosque, after Jewish settlers hoping to destroy the Muslim holy places, were paraded with police escort to what they call the Temple Mount. There they conducted religious prayers (probably asking God for a holy war that will finally offer Jewish supremacy in the holy land). These are forbidden under regulations governing the holy site. As a result of the settler provocation, Palestinian youths have barricaded themselves into the mosque and thrown stones at invading police who storm the holy place.
This Israeli government, which includes some of the wackiest and most extreme politicians to ever grace an Israeli cabinet, has no patience for any form of Palestinian resistance. As a result, the government’s legal advisor (Israel’s version of the attorney general) issued a legal ruling permitting Israeli forces in East Jerusalem to follow the same procedures as those used in the West Bank.
Or, as one Time of Israel reporter particularly nauseously wrote:
Israeli leaders decided to Wednesday to bring down the hammer, and go Chris Kyle all over East Jerusalem…
That Times of Israel really has a way with words, doesn’t it?
As an Israeli tweeted yesterday, Israel has finally conceded that East Jerusalem is not part of Israel, but part of the West Bank. The above tweet says:
“This is a historic decision which strengthens the position that Jerusalem is occupied (“conquered”) territory and that we must relate to it thus. I commend this decision.”
@VeredPelman זו החלטה היסטורית המחזקת את העמדה שאומרת שירושלים היא שטח כבוש וצריך להתייחס אליה ככזו. אני מברך על ההחלטה.
— Incognito (@IrakiW) September 16, 2015
Or an alternative way to parse this: Israel observes a form of apartheid by which it treats East Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents as if they are West Bank Palestinians, while treating the land on which they live in East Jerusalem as if it’s sovereign Israeli land. It’s a nice bit of hocus-pocus. It makes East Jerusalem, to bowdlerize the old Zionist phrase, a land without a people (Palestinians), for a people (Israelis) with plenty of land, who want even more.
Up to now, there have been 36 Palestinians injured in these clashes. It will only take a moment before the bodies begin lining up at the morgue. Give a Border Policeman a shoot to kill order and he’ll produce the bodies. I can just see it: Israeli snipers picking off Palestinians inside the mosque. That will do wonders for Israel’s image in the Muslim world.
The old 1980s “get tough on crime” slogan was: “use a gun, go to prison.” Israel’s motto is: throw a stone, and die. It should be very effective…at piling up Palestinian corpses like cordwood.
NOTE: My latest piece in MintPressNews tells the story of a mysterious Mossad official who spied for Iran. He was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned in secret. Israel’s censor won’t let you know his name. I take the story farther than it’s ever been reported.
Wow. That is quite an escalation indeed! I go to the Temple Mount at least once a week in the summer. When friends come to visit, it’s one of our go to places. I have never seen non-Muslims praying there. Christians and Jews have to leave behind any and all religious items before entering the compound – there is always a pile in front of the security office of votive candles, prayer books etc. – mostly innocently purchased by tourists prior to their arrival. Security there is handled by Israeli police and they are pretty dilligent about making sure no non-Muslim religious items make it up there. Visibly religious Jewish visitors with kippahs and sometimes bare feet assemble in a group and have to be led through the Temple Mount. There they walk around the raised platform upon which the Dome of the Rock sits (containing the Akeda stone upon which Abraham almost sacrificed his son Isaac or Ishmael depending on your religious orientation). Religious Jewish visitors are guarded by a handful of police officers and accompanied by members of the Waqf who are there to make sure they don’t pray or even move their lips silently. If they try they are chastised – but I’ve only seen that once. Most such visitors walk around the Dome of the Rock quietly, then they pause in front of the Western Gate, probably because that’s the one closest to the alleged site of the Kodesh Kedoshim – Holy of Holies – and then they go back to the security office and collect their shoes and belongings. All such visitors have their IDs recorded so that if they make trouble, they can be barred from re-entering the Temple Mount. Lately, ie the past year or so, visibly religious Jewish visitors have also been also accompanied by members of the Murabitun (sp?) – women and children who follow them around the Dome of the Rock while loudly chanting “Allah Hu Akbar” and holding up kites to block their view of the Dome. In any case, this has been my experience thus far. I have never seen Israeli police ort anyone facilitating Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. If anything they have gone through great pains to prevent it as per the agreement with the Waqf. Now I’ve read every link in this post and don’t see anywhere that says that religious prayers were conducted by Jews on the Temple Mount. If you neglected to add in that link, could you as I’d really like to see that. It would represent an unprecedented move by the Israeli police and government. I am going up there again on Sunday with friends visiting from the US so I’d like to know what to expect. I’ll also be happy to report what I’ve seen and experienced. Thanks!
Richard Silverstein says
Everyone except you appears to know that Jews pray on the Temple Mount. I wonder why that is? And you think a settler can’t pray unless he has a siddur? You’ve never seen Jews praying silently? Apparently, lots of others including this New Yorker writer have:
If no settler Jews pray at Haram then why do the Palestinian women’s groups there find them frequently as reported here?
If you want to see settlers provoking holy war join a Moshe Feiglin pilgrimage. I guarantee you’ll see people praying, unless you’re deaf, dumb & blind.
Of course the issue of prayer is only one among many. Just as provocative is the views of those who invade the Haram al Sharif. Muslims know why these Jews are coming. They know they want to destroy it & they know that possession is 3/4 of the law. In other words, the more Jews like you go to the Haram the stronger your claim to ownership of it. That eventually will lead to destroying the Muslim usurpers there.
So congratulations, you’re playing your role in a future holy way. Keep bringing your friends there & tell them that the more Jews who come the more likely there will be bloodshed. You are a provocateur whether you realize it or not.
Mitchell Blood says
Is it possible that Jews are NOT responsible for the current escalation of violence on the Temple Mount?
“..in recent months there was an increase in the number of incidents in which Islamist women, mostly members of the now-outlawed Murabitat group, attacked non-Muslim visitors under the pretense of guarding the holy site.”
“As a result of this, the Jerusalem police began to block the entry of Muslim women during the hours that Jews and foreigners visited the Mount. Later on, they also kept out men under the age of 50.”
Richard Silverstein says
@Mitchell: Is it possible anything published in that Likudist shmatteh, Times of Isrsel, isn’t hopelessly biased & lacking in any credibility whatsoever?
We already know the answer to that question.
Well there’s a huge difference between silent, “furtive” prayer and state sanctioned, organized prayer services on the Temple Mount. The fact remains that the State run security services do all they can to prevent non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount. Furthermore, the Rabbinate’s position is that Jews are not allowed on the Temple Mount, period, as witnessed by a giant sign to that effect at the entrance to the Mughrabi Gate. Visible Jews ascending to the Temple Mount are accompanied by policemen whose role is to prevent prayer and the escalation of violence. Visibly Jewish visitors are sometimes recorded by the Israeli police and anyone who violates the rule against prayer is barred from further visits – visibly Jewish visitors have to provide ID and their numbers are recorded in order to facilitate such barring. I never have these issues because I go up there looking like a tourist and I certainly don’t do anything that might offend the Muslim or Israeli authorities. But yeah, silent prayer? Entirely possible. And keep in mind, the site isn’t holy just for Jews. Many dispute that the Via Dolorosa is the site of Jesus’ walk to his crucifixion and that the crucifixion and resurrection took place at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Temple Mount is pretty much the only place where no one disputes that Jesus walked when he overturned the money changers’ tables. Do I begrudge religious Christians engaging in silent contemplation and prayer when they’re up there? I mean, it’s got to be a pretty powerful thing to be walking in the footsteps of your lord and savior! Just be discrete so as not to offend those around you.
As for Daud Kuttab’s article in Al Monitor goes, well, he seems a little biased, to say the least. He writes:
The women who call themselves mourabitat have been holding religious study sessions in the mosque’s yard, where during certain hours Jewish visitors are given special access to the mosque’s open area by the Israeli security. The women suspend their studies when Jews enter the mosque esplanades and watch them closely for violations of an understanding that visiting Jews during this period are not allowed to pray in the area that Jews call Temple Mount. The mourabitat have become a thorn in the side of the Israeli authorities, who hope to get the visits over with as little trouble as possible. The bottom line to which both Israel and Jordan publicly agree is that the visitors are not allowed to conduct Jewish prayers while in the mosque area. Any hint of prayer and the women start shouting.
I wish that was the case. The fact is, and I have personally witnessed this several times, that as soon as visibly religious Jews enter the Temple Mount area, the mourabitat surround them and scream “Allah hu Akbar” over and over again – from the moment they enter until they complete their circumnavigation of the Dome of the Rock. This despite the fact that the Jews are walking and that there is no evidence of “prayer” to be seen.
RS wrote “In other words, the more Jews like you go to the Haram the stronger your claim to ownership of it. That eventually will lead to destroying the Muslim usurpers there.”
What is that supposed to mean? Like me?? I go up there because of the site’s incredible historical wealth and the stunning architectural beauty of the Dome of the Rock. I do not support or condone any attempt or desire to hasten the Messianic era by rebuilding the Temple. You want to hasten the arrival of the Messiah? Manifest Ahavat Chinam (boundless love) in your life. That’s the most important thing. Rebuilding the Temple is just stupid – even from a religious perspective. There’s no point doing that if we do not merit it and one thing Israel and the Jewish people are short on, it’s boundless love.
In any case, I’m not going tomorrow because my friend has a fever. Maybe later this week. We’ll see. For bloodthirsty, war mongering provocateurs, we’re not very scary or intimidating in the least.
Richard Silverstein says
@pea: Nonsense. The police aren’t there to protect any Palestinian interest in preventing Jewish prayer nor are they there to maintain the status quo. They are there to enable the gradual settler appropriation of the site just as they’re (settlers with police & municipal connivance) gradually cleansing nearby Palestinian neighborhoods of Palestinian presence. The notion that Border Police, the most brutal, racist & thuggish of all Israeli security forces are there to uphold fair access or maintain the peace beggars belief.
“Murmuring” prayers is not “silent.” It is visible, an act of religious appropriation & offensive. This is not “silent contemplation,” nor do Christians seek to destroy Haram al Sharif as settlers & their powerful political cronies do.
You have no right to enter that space as a Jew till there is a settlement of the conflict that permits normalization of relations & complete rejection of settler goals to destroy Haram al Sharif. As long as you enter the site you are a festering sore in this conflict.
The Border Police don’t accompany visible Jews on their circumnavigation of the Dome of the Rock. Nor do they man the security check point at the Mughrabi Gate. Those roles are filled by policemen – regular Israeli police, some of whom are Palestinians. As for prayer, murmuring or swaying are against the rules and the police will stop you if they catch you doing it or anything else that seems prayer-like. I am on the Temple Mount legally and the Waqf has never prevented me from going up there – like I said I follow the rules. Scrupulously. Never mind that Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock are built upon Judaism’s holiest site – Islam does not forbid visitors. But I won’t get into any of that.
[a portion of this comment has been deleted because the commenter introduced a poisonous hasbara site which is not credible or permissible in this blog per comment rules.]
So does this mean Richard, that I have no right to set foot in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre too? Or any part of the Old City? Can I go to the Kotel?
Richard Silverstein says
@ pea: What does it matter whether settlers usurpers are escorted by Border Police or regular police. There’s little difference between them. Israeli police will beat a Palestinian just as readily as a Border Policeman will (though the latter will do a more “thorough” job of it).
This too is either based on ignorance or lies. Did you not look at the Arutz Sheva pics? What do they show? Settlers praying in open daylight. THe Haram was closed to Muslims & police brought these settlers there & they prayed. Stop the disingenuousness. Stop the too-cute-by-half: “Deir Yassin, I don’t understand Arabic so please help me understand this Palestinian anti-Semitic video.” Ugh. It starts to be grating.
You don’t appear to be a stupid person yet you just made an incredibly obtuse statement. There are rules for the transcription of every language not using Latin letters. There are rules for transcription of Hebrew as well. How can you not know this?
I ask Deir Yassin not to respond to any garbage produced by the scum bucket site Palestine Media Watch. You know the rules here, Pea, you can’t use or refer to such hasbara sites. If you do, you run the risk of a comment rule violation. NOTHING published at that site is reliable. Nothing. So don’t bring it up again.
Are you claiming the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is Israeli? Are settlers? If not, then what’s the problem? As for the Kotel, why would you go to a site which is under Occupation by women-hating ultra-Orthodox rabbis? Are you a self-hating woman?
Deïr Yassin says
Come on, you live in Israel, and you don’t know people like Moshe Feiglin has lead groups of Jews to pray on Haram al-Sharif for years ?
You write “allah hu akbar” at least twice, does that mean you know no Arabic at all ? It’s allahu akbar’ (الله أَكْبَر), only two words, (the ‘u’ is a non-written vowel on allah) …. and it’s so bacis Arabic that I wonder how someone living among Arabs can miss that, you always pretend to know sooo many Arabs …..
Arie Brand says
From Jordan Times:
“AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah has intensified Jordan’s efforts to counter the Israeli aggression on Al Aqsa Mosque and discussed the recent clashes with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey over the phone Thursday, a Royal Court statement said.
They agreed on the need for more coordination among Islamic states to end violations and to stand up to Israeli attempts to Judaise holy sites in occupied Jerusalem.
The two leaders also called on the international community to place pressure on Israel to halt its acts of aggression.
The phone conversation was one of a series of contacts King Abdullah has made to drum up support from the international community for Jordan’s position to defend Jerusalem and its holy sites.
His Majesty has spoken to US Vice President Joe Biden, European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour also chastised Israel for its aggression targeting Al Aqsa Mosque and Muslim worshippers there. “
Gosh, King Abdullah must be totally misinformed, and is now doing his level best to spread the disinformation he has swallowed among the international community. Provocations, what provocations? How can he possibly object to those peaceful visits of Jews who don’t even dare to move their lips in prayer.
So I won’tbelieve my lying eyes when I look at these photographs:
Somehow, Pea, you make it all sound a bit too bland. Don’t take your foreign friends to this mosque when the Israeli police wants a repeat performance of storming it. They might be caught up in the melee.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Arie Brand: C’mon Arie, those photos don’t show Jews praying. Arutz Sheva, settler media, would never show Jews praying on the Haram al Sharif. That would be inappropriate according to our resident settler apologist, pea. And besides, she assures us it doesn’t happen. How could she be wrong?
Settler apologist? Only if you consider every Jew in Israel a settler. As I said very clearly “I do not support or condone any attempt or desire to hasten the Messianic era by rebuilding the Temple. You want to hasten the arrival of the Messiah? Manifest Ahavat Chinam (boundless love) in your life. That’s the most important thing. Rebuilding the Temple is just stupid – even from a religious perspective.” Hardly sounds like Settler apologia to me…
Richard Silverstein says
@ pea: Yr apologetics on behalf of settlers on the Temple Mount marks you as an apologist for them, their despicable acts and views. You visit the Temple Mount. You do so in disguise so you won’t be known as the Israeli you are. It’s shameful deception that is little more than self-deception.
Yr “boundless love” is bulls(^t because it isn’t “boundless.” It’s restricted to Jews.
I don’t go up there in disguise! I go there dressed as I usually do. The only difference is that I make sure my knees, shoulders and chest are covered up as per the acceptable norms of dress for visitors to the Temple Mount. I am no more in disguise there then I am when I attend services in a synagogue, visit a Church or a Buddhist Temple in Thailand. I do my best to respect the norms of the place. No one has ever asked me if I was Jewish on the Temple Mount but if they did I would never deny it. I scrupulously follow all the applicable rules and I have every right to be there. Even (especially) by Waqf standards. My interactions with the Waqf guards have always been friendly. I don’t understand how you feel I am apologizing for anyone who goes up to the Temple Mount and does not follow the rules. Anyone who isn’t Muslim and goes up there and behaves in a manner likely to provoke should be kicked out and barred permanently. So you all dug up a couple of isolated incidents. I contend that, based on my like… 3 dozen visits in the past year, those are the exception rather than the rule. I’ll gladly document my next visit and you can see that everything I have written is accurate. I love all of God’s creation. Believe what you will.
Richard Silverstein says
@pea: You yrself said that when you make yr pilgrimage you go dressed as a tourist, ie. someone who is not Israeli. You & I both know that if you dressed as an Israeli you would be viewed with suspicion.
Being friendly to the guards is immaterial. You are an interloper. Your nation’s official policy is to ethnically cleanse the city. It’s furtive policy is to destroy the very sacred ground on which you tread.
You “love all of God’s creation!” Self-delusion.
Chris Kyle? So we can expect Border Police to befriend the mentally unstable, take them to a shooting range & then get shot dead?
Mitchell Blood says
[comment deleted: off topic]
Arie Brand says
Pea that you follow all the rules is immaterial. The point is that there are quite a few others who do not. And that you think they should be kicked out is equally immaterial. The point is that they are not. And it is nice that you want to extend your “boundless love” to all creation but that is not what traditional Judaism asks you to do.
I don’t object to your self description – for all I know It might be accurate. What I do object to is your underhand attempt to suggest that your behaviour (as self-described) constitutes the rule there rather than the exception.
@Arie Brand wrote: What I do object to is your underhand attempt to suggest that your behaviour (as self-described) constitutes the rule there rather than the exception.
I can only report what I’ve seen and I have been up there a lot. I saw a group of Yeshiva boys go up and they stood in front of the last gate (which is closest to the Dome of the Rock). The Waqf guy looked at one of the kids and yelled at him in Hebrew “I know you’re praying! I can see your lips moving!” At that point an Israeli policeman shooed the kids off and sent them back to the Mughrabi Gate. This while another Israeli policeman was recording the encounter on video. That was like… 3 years ago? Before the Mourabitoun and before the Waqf guards got uniforms. At that time it was basically a crew of nearby volunteer store owners whose authority was denoted by the fact that they carried a walkie talkie. Now the old crew is still up there but they also have younger guys with polo shirts and jackets emblazoned with a Al Aqsa logo. Well, the logo says Al Aqsa and the image is the Dome of the Rock. But I digress!
So where am I being underhanded exactly? My experience is that Israeli security on the Temple Mount does all it can to prevent non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount and searches visitors for anything that can be construed as a religious symbol. Those have to be abandoned or left behind. I’m just calling it like I see it. I don’t know of any journalist who has been up there as often as I have.
Arie Brand says
“Muslim residents of Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are normally allowed to enter the Temple Mount and pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque without restrictions. Due to security measures, the Israeli government occasionally prevents certain groups of Muslims from reaching al-Aqsa by blocking the entrances to the complex; the restrictions vary from time to time. At times restrictions have prevented all men under 50 and women under 45 from entering, but married men over 45 are allowed. Sometimes the restrictions are enforced on the occasion of Friday prayers, other times they are over an extended period of time. Restrictions are most severe for Gazans, followed by restrictions on those from West Bank. The Israeli government states that the restrictions are in place for security reasons.[“
From Albawaba news:
“The Palestinian president told Abdullah about the current situation in Jerusalem, and the Jordanian role in protecting the city and its holy sites was discussed between the two.
Earlier Sunday the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Endowment said that Israel is imposing severe restrictions on Palestinian entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in a bid to initiate a daily schedule for Jewish prayer at the holy site.
The statement came amid reportedly increasing restrictions on Palestinian access to the holy site, while Jewish extremist groups tour the compound under the armed protection of Israeli forces. “
Amira Hass in Haaretz 9/17:
“Thus, Palestinians have every reason and justification to fear that the “visits” and the police raids in the holy mount are part of a Jewish operational plan: a plan to complete their exclusion within their own homeland and the marginalization of Palestinian history, a plan to wipe out the deep ties of some 12 million people to this country.”
Pea, tell all those people not to worry because you believe you have been up there more than any journalist and you haven’t noticed any of this.