The Irrational in Mid-East Politics

As I pointed out in previous blog articles, all major religious sites, including Mosques have metal detectors to prevent the smuggling of weapons and explosives.  Also, all Jews and foreign visitors who visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem are subject to metal detectors and security checks.  But, Muslim Arabs have never been subject to such security checks.  After the shooting death of two Israeli border guards by Palestinian Arab terrorists who came from the Mosque, it became clear that such a security check is necessary.

However,  the Palestinians, egged on by their leadership in the PA including Pres. Abbas, have refused to accept the introduction of metal detectors at the entrance to the Mosques.  Their attitude is that this is an example of the imposition of the Israeli occupation, irrespective of the merits of the case.  But, the situation rapidly became more complex when, apart from the rioting in Jerusalem, a 17-year-old Muslim boy helping with the moving of furniture in the Israeli Embassy in Amman, Jordan, stabbed an Israeli guard with a screw-driver.  The guard shot him dead and also a man who came to his aid.  So with the two dead Israeli policemen and the three Salomon family members murdered in Halamish, and the five Palestinian rioters killed and the two Jordanians, that makes 12 dead so far.

But, although the Israeli guard in the Amman Embassy was wounded, he was unable to go to the hospital because the Jordanian authorities wanted to arrest him.  However, under international law, they have no jurisdiction within the Israeli Embassy and were unable to do so.  However, neither were the Israelis in the Embassy able to leave. Overnight a compromise was struck between PM Netanyahu and King Abdullah, supported by the US negotiator, that Israel would remove the metal detectors and replace them with unobtrusive “smart” cameras that would not disrupt the movement of Muslim worshipers, and Jordan would allow the Israeli staff of the Embassy, including the wounded guard, to return to Israel.  In this situation, both sides wanted a quick solution, Netanyahu wanted an excuse to remove the objectionable metal detectors, and Abdullah wanted to quiet the situation because he fears the backlash of his Palestinian community.  He also needs to keep good relations with Israel, since his is a very tenuous situation.

However, the compromise of Israel replacing the metal detectors with smart cameras has not so far been accepted by the Palestinians.  As far as they are concerned any Israeli move, even one that in no way interferes with their movement in the entrance to the Mosques, is unacceptable.  Just as their claim that the Al-Aksa Mosque is where Mohammed ascended to heaven and that it is the third holiest shrine in Islam is all based on irrational belief, so their rejection of any Israeli action to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the Mosques is also irrational.

A committee of the Wakf, the Muslim Religious Trust, met to decide if they can accept the cameras.  It should, be remembered that a few years ago, after a serious incident of rioting, the Israelis installed cameras in the area of the Mosque, but they were soon totally destroyed by bricks thrown by Palestinian youths.  So will this time be different?  Israeli will have to ensure some form of protection for the cameras or the whole process will be futile.  So far the Wakf decided that the the Palestinians will not accept a civilized and peaceful solution to this irrational situation.  The rioting and killing will continue.

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