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Latest News – 19 August

Updates from Israel and the Jewish World
compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman

IDF kills three armed Palestinians attempting to infiltrate Israel from Gaza

Three armed Palestinians were killed by IDF troops as they tried to cross into southern Israel from Beit Hanoun shortly after three rockets were launched into southern Israel, the IDF said on Saturday night.

“A short time ago, an IDF force identified a number of armed suspects near the Gaza perimeter fence,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement, adding that “an IDF attack helicopter and tank shot at them.”

The three armed men were engaged and killed by IDF troops after they attempted to infiltrate across the border fence.

They were identified by Palestinian media as 21 year-old Mohammed Al-Taramsi, 23 year-old Mohammad Abu Namous and 22 year-old Mahmoud Al-Walaydeh. Their bodies were recovered by medical crews Sunday morning and moved to the Indonesian hospital before their burial later in the day.

The three were wrapped in flags belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah and Hamas’ Izzedin al-Qassem brigades during their burial.

While no group claimed responsibility for the infiltration attempt, PIJ mourned the three men and warned that Israel is fully responsible for “it’s heinous crimes against the Palestinian people” and that the group reserves “the right of our people to resist and confront all forms of Zionist agression.”

The group stressed that “the crime of targeting a group of angry youths” comes against a backdrop of “systematic terrorism, escalation aggression, ongoing siege, daily incursions in the al-Aqsa Mosque, agression against prisoners and settlement expansion. It is an aggression that comes in the context of the declared war on our people.”

The attempted infiltration came after three rockets were fired towards southern Israel, with one Qassem rocket striking the yard of a home in Sderot.

Two people sustained minor injuries Saturday evening while running to bomb shelters during the rocket sirens, a 30 year-old woman who fainted and a 76-year-old woman who required hospitalization.

While the rocket fire on Saturday night was the second time in a row with a rocket fired from the Hamas-run enclave on Friday night leading to Israeli retaliatory strikes, Israel did not respond to the rocket fire to hit Sderot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was slammed by political leaders for the non-response to the attacks, said on Sunday afternoon that if necessary Israel could embark on a broad military campaign in Gaza regardless of elections.

“I’ve heard statements saying that I would refrain from embarking on a broad campaign because of the elections,” he said before taking off to Ukraine. “This is not true. My considerations are case-relevant. If it is necessary, we will go into broad action – with or without elections- we will do what is necessary for the safety of Israel.”

Sderot mayor on Sunday told Israeli media that the government should give the green light for a full-blown military operation in the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

“We need to go on a wide-scale operation right now to eradicate Hamas, without waiting for other timings,” Davidi told Army Radio. “Only force can stop them.”

He told Channel 13 that there is no other choice but a ground operation in the Gaza Strip after the last week, saying “we have gone through an unpleasant weekend with red alerts for two days in a row. Sderot residents are on the one hand trying to keep to their normal routines, but on the other hand there is no choice in the current situation but to go on a ground operation in the Gaza Strip.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz dismissed the possibility of a ground invasion, telling Army Radio that “what happened yesterday in Sderot will not be left without a response. We are maintaining a policy of not initiating a wide-scale operation but keeping the deterrence.”

The leader of the Blue and White party former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visited the Israeli communities bordering the Strip on Sunday morning and said that “the deterrence hasn’t been eroded, it’s been erased.”

Criticising Netanyahu’s policy towards the Strip, Gantz said that if elected his party “will defeat Hamas militarily, we’ll bring quiet to the residents of the south, and will not allow this to spill over into the West Bank.” (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli Police Thwart Stabbing Attack in Jerusalem, Shoot Terrorist Dead

Two Palestinian terrorists stabbed a police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday, after which security forces opened fire on the attackers, killing one and sending the other to the hospital critically wounded.

The injured Israeli, a 40-year-old officer, sustained stab wounds to the upper body and was treated at Shaare Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem, Times of Israel reported

“We gave him medical care, including stopping the bleeding and bandaging him, and we took him to the hospital,” a medic quoted by the Times explained.

The stabbing occurred near the Chain Gate, not far from the Temple Mount, where Palestinians rioted this week over Jews praying there on Tisha B’Av.

Tisha B’Av is the day on which the Jewish people mourn the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem, which stood for a combined total of close to 1,000 years.

The Islamic trust that currently oversees the Temple Mount bans prayer by any non-Muslims, and Jews and Christians who attempt to pray have been the target of intense harassment. (United with Israel)

Israeli teen in serious condition after car ramming attack

An Israeli teen who was injured in a car ramming attack in the West Bank remains in serious condition after undergoing neurosurgery. Nahum Nevies, 17, remains under sedation and on a respirator at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital. His sister, Noam, 19, is in moderate condition and was moved from another Jerusalem hospital so that they could be together.

The siblings are from the Elazar settlement in the Etzion bloc. They were hit on Friday by a car driven by Alaa Harimi, 26, of Bethlehem, who was shot and killed by a policeman. The car was stolen. Harimi reportedly had previously been jailed for what Israel’s Channel 12 called “terror offenses.” The Israeli military called the car ramming a terror attack.

Nahum, who is a rising senior in high school, suffered a skull fracture and a brain injury. Noam Nevies is performing national service working with school-age children from families facing difficulties.

The terror organization Hamas praised the attack on Friday, saying in a statement: “Our nation’s rising rage and the ramming and stabbing incidents are a response to the repeated stormings of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the occupation’s ongoing crimes.” (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu on Tlaib, Omar ban: Israel respects Congress, but won’t tolerate BDS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday defended Israel’s decision to bar Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country and said that the Israeli ambassador to the United States had said they would be allowed in before learning of their itinerary.

Netanyahu last week announced that Omar and Tlaib, freshman Democratic representatives respectively from Minnesota and Michigan who were planning to visit Jerusalem and the West Bank this week, would be banned from Israel under a 2017 law denying entry to supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).

The move was widely condemned by Jewish groups in the US and Democratic lawmakers, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Democrat-Maryland) saying the ban marked a reversal of Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer’s announcement in July that Tlaib and Omar would not be barred.

Netanyahu on Sunday said that while Israel respects all Congress members and has a policy of automatically granting them entrance to the country, it would not welcome those who back boycotts of the Jewish state.

“We respect all members of Congress. Our directive is to facilitate, on a regular and automatic basis, the entry of all members of Congress, Democratic and Republican. Just one week ago, I met with dozens of Democratic members of Congress. Ambassador Dermer enunciated this precise policy,” he said. “There is only one exception and it is the BDS law that obligates us to evaluate the entry of people who support BDS,” Netanyahu told reporters at the airport before travelling to Ukraine.

The prime minister said Dermer’s announcement last month came before Israel received a request from Omar and Tlaib to visit or were aware of their travel plans. He also stressed the ban was not related to the congresswomen’s party affiliation, but was rather a matter of principle.

“When Ambassador Dermer spoke, there was no specific request regarding these visits; neither was there an itinerary or a specific travel plan. As soon as these arrived, we checked it and reached the decision that we did. This was a principled, not a partisan, decision. We respect all political parties in the US equally; however, we also respect ourselves. Whoever comes to impose boycotts on us and to deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel, we will not allow them entry,” he said.

Netanyahu’s comments on Dermer, one of his closest confidantes, came a day after Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the ambassador announced Tlaib and Omar would be allowed into Israel without consulting with the government.

“It was not with the prime minister’s blessing, it was not a decision of the Israeli government… It was not with my blessing. He gave his opinion,” Katz told Channel 12’s “Meet the Press.”

Katz said that, with the visit drawing closer, Netanyahu met with cabinet ministers to discuss the matter and decided to bar the lawmakers.

Katz denied reports that US President Donald Trump had pressured Israel to disallow the two congresswomen from visiting. He also said the decision to bar the two was made before Trump tweeted support of a ban on Thursday.

Announcing the unprecedented decision to turn away the serving US legislators, Netanyahu said Thursday it was plain that Omar and Tlaib intended to use the visit to harm Israel.

“Several days ago, we received [Omar and Tlaib’s] trip itinerary,” Netanyahu said in a statement, “which clarified that they planned a visit whose sole purpose was to support boycotts and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For example, they called their destination ‘Palestine’ and not ‘Israel,’ and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress before them, they did not seek any meeting with any Israeli official, whether government or opposition.”

Hebrew media reports claimed Netanyahu had been heavily pressured by Trump to block the two congresswomen. The announcement that Israel would not allow the pair in came shortly after Trump tweeted that the Jewish state would be showing weakness if it gave them permission to come.

Tlaib then submitted a letter requesting to be allowed in despite the ban, citing her elderly grandmother, and promised not to promote boycotting Israel during her visit. The request was approved by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on humanitarian grounds, but Tlaib later said she had decided not go under “humiliating terms.”

The Israeli ban on the two congresswoman was criticized by centrist, left-wing, and Arab Israeli lawmakers, and by many prominent US Democratic leaders.

A Friday report in the McClatchy news service said that top Democratic lawmakers in the US House of Representatives had discussed censuring Dermer and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman over the decision to bar Tlaib and Omar. Around a dozen Democrats had begun talks on how to express a “deep lack of confidence and trust” in the two, the report said.

Also Sunday, the US political news site Politico reported that the pro-BDS organization cited by Netanyahu as the reason for barring entry to Israel to Tlaib and Omar has in fact sponsored other authorized trips to Israel for members of Congress.

“The itinerary of the two congresswomen reveals that their sole purpose is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it. In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel,” Netanyahu said last week.

But according to Politico, in 2016, Democratic Reps. Matt Cartwright (Pennsylvania), Dan Kildee (Michigan), Mark Pocan (Wisconsin), Luis Gutierrez (Illinois), and Hank Johnson (Georgia) all went on a five-day trip to Israel and the West Bank sponsored by the group.

“And on that trip,” noted Politico, “the members of Congress listed their destination as “Palestine – Jerusalem – Ramallah” — not Israel,” similar to Tlaib and Omar’s itineraries.

“Those members of Congress stayed in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah. They met with PLO officials and Miftah board members, went to Hebron and met with its mayor, and tried to tour Gaza, but were prevented by the Israeli government,” the report added. (the Times of Israel)

Democrats weigh action against Israeli, US ambassadors over Tlaib, Omar ban

A group of Democratic members of the House of Representatives is considering opening an investigation into the conduct of U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman following Israel’s decision to bar Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) from entering the country.

The group is also reportedly considering releasing a statement of no confidence in Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer.

According to a report by McClatchy DC news, a senior congressional aide told the site that some 12 Democratic representatives—including Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee—were “reviewing all of our options.”

According to the report, the aide went on to say that “with Dermer, the issue is that there already was a severe lack of trust. But now there is a severe lack of confidence. It is completely unclear that he represents his government, given he has made promises that he has not kept and [that it isn’t] clear if he ever had any chance of keeping.”

Prior to Jerusalem’s decision to bar Tlaib and Omar based on a law allowing Israel’s Interior Ministry to deny entry to pro-boycott activists, Dermer had said Israel would not deny entry to any member of Congress.

After the initial decision to bar the entry of Tlaib and Omar, Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Friday issued entry approval for Tlaib on humanitarian grounds, due to her desire to visit her elderly grandmother.

Tlaib signed an agreement that she would not participate in boycott-related activities or promotions while in Israel, but subsequently retracted her agreement, saying she preferred not to visit her grandmother than to agree not to promote boycotts of Israel.

“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what [my grandmother] wants for me. It would kill a piece of me,” Tlaib said on Twitter. “I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in—fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

She went on to say that “Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother’s heart,” and that she would not “bow down to [Israel’s] oppressive & racist policies.”

Deri responded to her statements on Twitter, writing, “Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”

The Democrats expressed anger over Israel’s release of the agreement letter, as well as Omar and Tlaib’s planned itinerary, saying they were items which should have been confidential communications with Israeli officials. (JNS)

Tlaib two-step quickly validates Bibi ban

By refusing Israel’s offer, Rep. Rashida Tlaib acknowledged that her goal was never simply to visit an aging family member, but rather to use that visit as a platform to attack the Jewish state.

by Alex Traiman JNS

When Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri informed U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) they would not be receiving entry visas for their “trip to Palestine” as they described it, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately followed with a lengthy statement in support of Deri’s action.

“No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel,” Netanyahu explained, but Reps. “Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”

However, Netanyahu then added a caveat: “Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.”

Shortly afterwards, Tlaib submitted a new request for entry into the country.

“I would like to request admittance to Israel in order to visit my relatives, and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fauqa,” wrote Tlaib. “This could be my last opportunity to see her. I will respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel during my visit.”

As Netanyahu had indicated, Deri immediately approved Tlaib’s new request on humanitarian grounds. However, wasting no time, Tlaib turned down the offer.

“Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she [my grandmother] wants for me,” Tlaib wrote on Twitter. “It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in–fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

She added: “I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity [grandmother] to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies.”

By her refusal, Tlaib acknowledged that the purpose of her visit was never to visit her elderly grandmother, but rather to use that visit as a tool to spread her venomous anti-Israel narrative.

Deri tweeted in response to Tlaib’s refusal: “Rep. Tlaib just tweeted that she won’t be coming to Israel. Just yesterday she sent me a letter, asking to visit her 90-year-old grandmother, saying, ‘It might be my last chance to meet her.’ I approved her request as a gesture of goodwill on a humanitarian basis, but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the State of Israel. Apparently her hate for Israel outweighs her love for her grandmother.”

Tlaib’s fellow Democrats, who previously had to contend with the anti-Israel rhetoric of the “squad,” are now rallying behind Tlaib and Omar against Israel, despite pledging just a week earlier that Israel would always receive bipartisan support from the Congress.

In choosing to back Tlaib and Omar over America’s staunchest ally, the Democratic leaders are validating what Israelis have known for a long time: Democratic support for Israel is indeed waning.

American Jewish leaders also harshly criticized Israel’s initial refusal of the Tlaib and Omar itinerary, arguing that the refusal was perceived as unfitting for a democracy. And yet, in placing their support with the progressive anti-Israel representatives—who were without any doubt intending to spread anti-Israel venom on their trip—American Jews must also consider that their actions are validating the perception that their support for the Democratic Party may now be superseding their support for Israel.

Allowing Tlaib and Omar to enter Israel would have made life for Israel more complicated. Barring them has made life more complicated as well. The lose-lose situation Israel was presented with validates the challenges Israel now faces, not only from its enemies, but also from its longtime supporters.

Here’s what Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were going to do on their trip to Israel and the West Bank

by Ben Sales JTA

By now it seems clear that Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are not going to be visiting Israel or the Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

Israel’s government announced Thursday that it would not allow the Democratic congresswomen to make their scheduled visit this weekend because both have declared support for the Israel boycott movement. A 2017 law entitles the state to deny entry to boycott activists.

(Tlaib was granted entry on a humanitarian trip to visit her grandmother in the West Bank. First she accepted, but hours later rejected.)

Explaining the decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited the lawmakers’ itinerary, which he said “reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.”

What was on this itinerary? Omar outlined it in a series of tweets on Friday.

Where they would have gone

In broad strokes, the itinerary — titled “Delegation to Palestine” — took Tlaib and Omar through major Palestinian population centers in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and to a string of meetings with Palestinian and left-wing Israeli nonprofits and activists, as well as international human rights groups.

“Let’s be clear: the goal of our trip was to witness firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine and hear from stakeholders —our job as Members of Congress,” she tweeted.

Omar wrote that the delegation was going to meet with Israeli lawmakers — including Jewish ones. She did not say which members of Knesset, Israel’s parliament, they planned to meet. The lawmakers were also scheduled to meet a Palestinian official, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

An Israeli nonprofit, the left-wing Btselem human rights group, was to be present at one of their meetings, along with three other non-Israeli organizations. And the congresswomen were to receive a tour of Hebron from Breaking the Silence, a left-wing Israeli group that opposes the West Bank occupation.

“I would’ve loved to take @IlhanMN and @RashidaTlaib on our tour of Hebron,” tweeted Avner Gvaryahu, who would have given the tour. “There’s no joy in seeing or showing the harsh reality of the territories, but change will only come when we face up to the truth.”

The would-be trip contrasts with a Democratic congressional delegation to Israel and the Palestinian territories taken earlier this month by 41 representatives and sponsored by an organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. That delegation met with both Israeli and Palestinian officials and activists. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, however, refused to meet with a parallel Republican delegation.

Omar and Tlaib’s trip was planning to meet with staff at the U.S. Embassy in Israel. In addition, they were going to meet with UNRWA, the United Nations agency that aids Palestinian refugees and often is criticized by Israeli officials for having an anti-Israel bias, and had also planned meetings in eastern Jerusalem.

Omar and Tlaib planned to visit Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They additionally planned to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque, which is located at the Temple Mount, a Jewish holy site also revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. The remainder of the trip took them to meetings and tours in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Bethlehem and Ramallah, including at a refugee camp.

Who organized the trip

Miftah, a Palestinian NGO chaired by Ashrawi, organized the trip. Its website says its mission is to “promote the principles of democracy and good governance within various components of Palestinian society” and to “engage local and international public opinion and official circles on the Palestinian cause.”

The group, like many Palestinian civil society organizations, supports the movement to boycott Israel. But it has also praised Palestinian suicide bombers and published an age-old anti-Semitic stereotype, for which it later apologized. Netanyahu described Miftah as “an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.”

A report on the group’s site from 2006 about Palestinian women in the second intifada praises Wafa Idris, who killed one Israeli civilian and injured 150 people in a 2002 suicide bombing in downtown Jerusalem. The report says Idris, the first female suicide bomber of the second intifada, “marked the beginning of a string of Palestinian women dedicated to sacrificing their lives for the cause.”

Years later, in 2013, Miftah staffer Nawaf Al Zaru posted an article on its site criticizing President Barack Obama for hosting a Passover seder at the White House. In the article, Al Zaru repeated a false accusation that Jews kill non-Jewish children and use their blood in religious rituals.

“Does Obama in fact know the relationship, for example, between ‘Passover’ and ‘Christian blood’..?! Or ‘Passover’ and ‘Jewish blood rituals?!’” Al Zaru wrote. “Much of the chatter and gossip about historical Jewish blood rituals in Europe are real and not fake as they claim; the Jews used the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.”

At first the group defended the article by saying the blogger who first criticized it had “wrongly accused MIFTAH and Dr. Ashrawi of promoting Jewish blood libel during Passover through its publication of an Arabic-language article that briefly addressed the subject.” But the group deleted the article from its site, apologized and said it disciplined Al Zaru.

“The said staffer has been reprimanded and all our staff has been informed as to the disgusting and repulsive phenomena of blood libel or accusation, including its use against Jews,” the apology said.

In a statement, Miftah called the ban on Omar and Tlaib “an affront to the American people and their representatives. It is an assault on the Palestinian people’s right to reach out to decision-makers and other actors from around the world.” The group said it wanted to facilitate Omar and Tlaib’s “direct contact with the Palestinian people, who are subject to Israel’s cruel regime of colonization, oppression and land grab.”

Ashrawi has not returned a Jewish Telegraphic Agency request for comment.

This was not the first congressional delegation to Palestinian areas sponsored by Miftah. Politico first reported Friday that Miftah co-sponsored a trip by five Democratic congressmen to Israel and the West Bank in 2016 that was allowed into Israel without a problem. The participants were Matt Cartwright, Dan Kildee, Hank Johnson, Luis Gutierrez and Mark Pocan.

The itinerary of that trip was similar to Omar and Tlaib’s would-be visit. The representatives met with Arab-Israeli lawmakers. Other than that, the trip was centered on visiting Palestinian areas and Arab cities in Israel, and on meeting with Palestinian activists and groups.

But while both Omar and Tlaib support boycotting Israel, all of the congressmen had been to Israel previously or otherwise had spoken out in support of Israel, though they have also criticized its policies, at times harshly. All five were endorsed by JStreetPAC, the political funding arm of the liberal Israel lobby.

JStreetPAC did not endorse Tlaib or Omar.

Is the Palestinian Authority Preparing for a New Intifada?

by Bassam Tawil The Gatestone Institute

Needless to say, none of the Jews visiting the Temple Mount was involved in violence or any kind of “provocation.” The only violence that took place at the holy site came from Palestinians, who attacked the policemen with stones and chairs and hurled insults at the Jewish visitors.

By calling the visits “incursions” and “raids,” the Palestinians are trying to create the false impression that Jews are violently storming an Islamic holy site. The Arabic word Palestinians use to describe the visits: Iktiham (storm or break in). This rhetoric is meant to imply that the “extremist settlers” are carrying out a violent action against innocent Palestinians and their holy sites, thus signaling the Palestinians to rise to defend themselves and their mosque.

In the eyes of Palestinian leaders, Jews are always the “aggressors,” while Palestinians are the perpetual “victims”… in the Palestinian lexicon, a Jew peacefully touring the Temple Mount is an “aggressor,” while a Palestinian who throws stones and chairs at police officers and abuses the visitors is the real “victim.” This is the image Abbas, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are seeking to create in the minds of their people and the rest of the world.

The total number of Palestinians killed in Syria since 2011 now stands at 3,989. Where is the outrage from Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip about that? It is reserved for a Jew peacefully visiting the Temple Mount. For them, such visits are far more important than 250 Palestinian children killed in any Arab country. This sums up the Palestinian leaders’ attitude – ruinous disregard for the lives of their own children, and malign intentions for the Jews and their children.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) spent the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha this week inciting against Israel because of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, or Haram al-Sharif in Arabic, in Jerusalem. The site is also sacred to Jews and Christians: it is where the First and Second Temples had stood before being destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE and by the Romans in 70 CE. (The Western Wall, or so-called Wailing Wall, sacred to Jews, an ancient retaining wall of the Temple Mount, is all that remains of them.)

Depicting the peaceful visits as “incursions by Jewish settlers and extremists,” PA officials and media outlets accused the Israeli government of repeatedly carrying out “provocations and assaults against holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Mahmoud Habbash, religious affairs adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, went as far as describing the Jews visiting the Temple Mount as “terrorists.” Habbash, who also serves as Supreme Shari’a Judge, also accused the Jewish visitors of “defiling the Haram al-Sharif and provoking the feelings of Muslims.” He further appealed to all Muslims to “defend Al-Aqsa Mosque against Israeli conspiracies and barbaric violations.”

Habbash was echoing Abbas’s notorious statement that Palestinians won’t allow Jews with their “filthy feet” to “defile our Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Abbas’s statement came during a meeting with a group of Palestinians from east Jerusalem in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Abbas even encouragedPalestinians to engage in violence by saying:

“We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every shahid (martyr) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah. We will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”

A few days after Abbas made his statement in September 2015, Palestinians launched the “Knife Intifada” against Israel – which included a wave of terror perpetrated by individuals inspired by vicious incitement in the Palestinian media and urged on by Palestinian leaders. In the first 12 months of the terror attacks, mostly by stabbings and car-rammings, 40 Israelis were killed.

The PA government, headed by Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh, has also joined the anti-Israel campaign of incitement and praised Palestinian rioters who clashed with Israeli security forces at the Temple Mount on the first day of Eid al-Adha.

The rioters, who were trying to stop Jews from touring the holy site, threw rocks and chairs at policemen guarding the visitors. Shtayyeh’s government said that the rioters were seeking to thwart Israeli schemes to “Judaize Jerusalem in the face of organized state terrorism.”
Needless to say, none of the Jews visiting the Temple Mount was involved in violence or any kind of “provocation.” The only violence that took place at the holy site came from Palestinians, who attacked the policemen with stones and chairs and hurled insults at the Jewish visitors.

The PA’s rivals, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which occupy the Gaza Strip, in response to the Jewish visits, called for “escalating the Intifada (uprising) against Israel. When Hamas and Islamic Jihad talk about “escalating the Intifada,” they are actually urging Palestinians to carry out various forms of terror attacks against Israel. The two groups are responsible for thousands of terror attacks against Israel in the past few decades.

Let this be made unquestionably clear: the PA leadership’s incitement and the threats by Hamas and Islamic Jihad to step up terror attacks against Israel could trigger another wave of terrorism like the “Knife Intifada.”

By describing any Jew who visits the Temple Mount as an “extremist settler,” the Palestinian leaders are sending a message to their people that the peaceful Jewish visitors are legitimate targets — and that it is open season on them.

By calling the visits “incursions” and “raids,” the Palestinians are trying to create the false impression that Jews are violently storming an Islamic holy site. The Arabic word Palestinians use to describe the visits: Iktiham (storm or break in). This rhetoric is meant to imply that the “extremist settlers” are carrying out a violent action against innocent Palestinians and their holy sites, thus signaling the Palestinians to rise to defend themselves and their mosque.

In the eyes of Palestinian leaders, Jews are always the “aggressors,” while Palestinians are the perpetual “victims.”

Consider this: in the Palestinian lexicon, a Jew peacefully touring the Temple Mount is an “aggressor,” while a Palestinian who throws stones and chairs at police officers and abuses the visitors is the real “victim.” This is the image Abbas, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are seeking to create in the minds of their people and the rest of the world.

Why do Palestinians always refer to the Jewish visitors as “settlers”? Because they falsely assume that most religious Jews live in West Bank settlements — as opposed to Haifa, Ashdod or other Israeli cities, or are affiliated, in one way or another, with settlers.

Palestinians regularly refer to settlers as “illegal colonizers” and “herds of colonizers and extremists” as a way of delegitimizing them and justifying terror attacks against these Jews. It is the Palestinian way of saying: “We have the right to murder these Jews because they are illegal colonizers living on our land.”

In the eyes of Palestinian leaders, the Jews visiting the Temple Mount are not only “extremists,” but also “terrorists” — supposedly like the Israeli government and its leaders — and not like the Palestinians who attack the policemen and Jews during those visits.

Against this backdrop of whipped-up incitement, the next murder of a Jew is no longer a matter of whether it will take place, but rather when. It is this type of rabble-rousing and fabrications by Palestinian leaders that drives terrorists to set out on their mission of murdering the first Jew they see.

Palestinians leaders are masters in condemning and delegitimizing Israel and Jews. They have specialized in this behavior for decades. Yet, when it comes to denouncing crimes committed against their own people by their Arab brothers, Palestinian leaders are happy to look the other way.

As Abbas and his officials were busy issuing one poisonous statement after another against Israel in the past week, a report released by the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria revealed that 250 Palestinian children have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war in 2011.

According to the report, 128 children died under shelling; 15 were fatally shot by snipers; 11 were gunned down; two children were tortured to death; 22 drowned at sea while fleeing Syria; 22 others were killed in car explosions, and 35 died due to the blockade and medical neglect. Another 14 children died of other causes, including burns, suffocation, run-over accidents, and abduction.

The group pointed out that the total number of Palestinians killed in Syria since 2011 now stands at 3,989.

Where is the outrage from Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip about that? It is reserved for a Jew peacefully visiting the Temple Mount. For them, such visits are far more important than 250 Palestinian children killed in any Arab country. this sums up the Palestinian leaders’ attitude — ruinous disregard for the lives of their own children, and malign intentions for the Jews and their children.