The Palestinian Authority and Fatah have been the driving force behind the ongoing riots in Jerusalem that peaked during the Jewish New Year with violence at the Temple Mount, according to a report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).
PMW is an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society from a broad range of perspectives by monitoring and analyzing the Palestinian Authority (PA) through its media.
The report by the institute’s director Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, based its conclusion about the rock-throwing attacks – one of which was responsible for the death of 68-year-old Alexander Levlovitch, whose car was pelted by Palestinians as he drove home from a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) dinner — on a series of statements made last week by officials in the PA-controlled press.
The official Palestinian Authority daily has encouraged Palestinians to continue throwing rocks at Israelis and to sacrifice themselves to defend and save the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Senior PA and Fatah leaders close to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have called for violence to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is Judaism’s holiest religious site where the two Jewish Temples were located.
Called Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) by Muslims, the site copntains the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site in Islam, the iconic Dome of the Rock (which is not a mosque) and many other small structures.
Since 1967, Israel has chosen to uphold the existing status quo on the Temple Mount which is administered by the Islamic Waqf. But Non-Muslims (Israelis and tourists) are allowed to visit the Temple Mount at fixed times. In addition, Jews and other non-Muslims are not permitted to pray on the Temple Mount.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated last week :“ Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount. We are not altering the status quo. Elements that incite with baseless, wild provocations – to the effect that Israel is trying to prevent Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount or wants to destroy the mosques, or other wild things that are being said – it is they who are inciting. This incitement comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Movement in Israel, Hamas, and – to our chagrin – with the active participation of the Palestinian Authority.’’
The Palestinian Media Watch report provides the following items that appeared in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida last week :
- “Dr. Nabil Shaath [Fatah Central Committee member and Commissioner of International Relations] stated … that the continuation of the Israeli occupation’s attacks on the Noble Sanctuary [i.e., Jews visiting the Temple Mount] and the Ribat fighters [those carrying out religious conflict/war to protect land claimed to be Islamic] will be the spark that sets off the impending explosion, whose onset and scope no one can predict. Likewise, he called on the Palestinian and Arab masses to carry out riots of rage.”
- “Official Fatah Spokesman in Jerusalem Raafat Alayan called on ‘all Palestinian bodies and national and Islamic factions in all regions of the homeland to enlist and go to the areas of conflict in order to ‘explode’ in front of the occupier and its assistants because of its repeated actions and attacks against the Al-Aqsa [Mosque].’ Likewise, he noted that the Fatah movement called on all the schools in Jerusalem, including the Husni Al-Ashhab School, to go out to the streets in order to express their support of the destination of the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey [the tradition that he flew to Al-Aqsa Mosque], and their opposition to its desecration by the settlers…”
- “The official spokesman of [PA] President [Mahmoud Abbas], Nabil Abu Rudeineh stated: ‘We strongly condemn the occupation’s army and police invasion of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the attack of [Muslim] worshipers. East Jerusalem and the places holy to Islam and Christianity are a red line, and we will not sit idly by in the face of these attacks.He added that President Abbas has held intensive discussions with all Arab regional and international bodies, and especially with Jordan, Morocco, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in order to deal with the fierce attack taking place against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
A cartoon in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida shows a Palestinian man who has ripped out his heart and is throwing it as a rock. The PA printed this cartoon the day after the death of Alexander Levlovitch, whose death was caused by rock throwing.
Another PA daily cartoon encourages children to throw rocks. It shows a mother and a father carrying Jerusalem on their backs, represented by the Dome of the Rock and a Christian church. Their child swings a slingshot with a stone in it. The cartoon is entitled “packhorse,” implying that the Palestinians are carrying the heavy responsibility of Jerusalem on their shoulders. [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 16, 2015]
Recently, PA Chairman Abbas endorsed rock throwing when he hosted an event for a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who threw rocks at Israeli soldiers. At the event, Abbas praised the boy and his family, and “stressed that peaceful popular resistance against the occupier is a powerful weapon in the hands of the Palestinian people.” A picture of Abbas hugging the boy appeared in the official PA daily (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 3, 2015).
The same President Mahmoud Abbas was awarded by the city of Paris on Monday “in recognition of his actions towards finding peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
Rock throwing is not a “peaceful” way of “resisting.” Israeli civilians have been killed by rocks thrown by Palestinians.
“Stones, blocks, rocks and firebombs are primitive but deadly weapons, no less so than firearms,” writes analyst Ron Ben-Yishai in Yediot Aharonot.
Given this year’s escalation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his cabinet ministers Tuesday night and announced a series of tough measures, including minimum sentencing guidelines for reckless endangerment by stone throwers and heavy fines to be imposed on the families of the perpetrators.
A general closure of the West Bank will be enforced from Tuesday afternoon until Wednesday midnight, due to the Yom Kippur holiday, the holiest day in Judaism, which this year coincides with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Restrictions will also be placed on those entering the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for fear of disturbances, especially with many Jewish worshippers expected at the adjoining Western Wall.