DateL 15/04/2022 Time: 12:34
By Pinhas Inbari
With all due respect to Jenin, for the Palestinians, the real story is al-Aqsa, because only a major crisis there can bring the Palestinian problem back to international relevance, and bring Israeli Arabs back to the streets, and the concentrated Palestinian effort to bring an explosion around al-Aqsa requires Prime Minister Bennett to make a strategic decision on his future. From the position of Prime Minister, he begins to realize that the political base on which he relied, the far right, is not only a problem for Israel inward, but a problem for Israel’s foreign relations, its ties with the United States and endanger the Abraham Accords, and the Temple Groups that have already caused the collapse of the status quo agreements on the Temple Mount that were a pillar of stability in Jerusalem and Israel in general and bolstered the special relations with Jordan. Will Bennett fit into a secular party, like Sa’ar’s and Lieberman’s, or all three of them together? Time will tell. A return to a partnership with Smotritch and Ben Gvir is off the table. Bennett’s lesson from the Silman, Shikli affairs, and their ilk is that ideological settlers cannot be partners because they are not ripe for statehood.
In the meantime, the main effort is to pass Ramadan and Passover peacefully, and the danger is that a Muslim Jewish conflict will expand all over the world, endangering Jews wearing kippahs, because Palestinian propaganda concentrates on incitement against religious Jews who endanger the Temple Mount. There is now a call by the Palestinian organizations to confront this Friday and they mobilize the masses through the Temple Groups that published calls to make a Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount.
Jordan, which is according to the peace agreements, the guardian of al-Aqsa Mosque, but has expanded its patronage to the holy sites of Christianity, namely: the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and hence the entire Old City, tried to convince Mahmud Abbas that he would pacify Jerusalem, but according to the information we received, when they spoke of uniting the front on the Temple Mount, Mahmud Abbas said that the Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Hussein represents the Muslim establishment, The king insisted that the Waqf maintain his position as a representative of the Haram, and the conversation ended without any real agreement, except for Mahmud Abbas’s promise to calm the spirits in Jerusalem– but nothing was done.
As a result, Fatah organized the Shabab’s “Itiqaf” after prayers– that is, to stay in the plaza to prevent the Jews from entering. The Waqf intervened and dispersed the Shabab and was exposed to accusations by Islamic Jihad that it serves Israel and is a part of Jewish pressure to allow prayers.
Regarding the Damascus Gate, this area was calmed by the arrest of Shabab, mainly from Silwan, Israel’s activity to turn the place into a site of Palestinian street performances, and the intervention of the local merchants to keep the peace.
But the real test will be on the Temple Mount. Will Jordan’s and the Waqf’s efforts to keep the calm, will be met by Israel’s keeping the troublemakers away from the place? This is Bennett’s major test.
Surprisingly, Jerusalem until now has not been dragged after Israeli Arabs, Jenin and ISIS. East Jerusalem still wants to be part of the fabric of Israel. Will Israel keep this asset or throw it away?