Freedom of Religion – Denied By The Arabs
Since the Oslo Accords of 1993-1995, in a series of signed agreements the Palestinian Authority (PA) promised to protect and grant free access to all religious sites. Instead, it has systematically broken its commitments.
Jewish religious sites in the PA-controlled areas have been ransacked and destroyed and the visits of Jews to Temple Mount – Har Habayit, have become a nightmare to Jewish worshippers.
In the “Oslo II” Accord (Article V of Annex I), of 1995, the PA signed and guaranteed protection and free access to Joseph’s Tomb on the outskirts of the town Nablus and to the Shalom al-Yisrael (Peace on Israel) synagogue, built in Jericho in 700 AD.
On October 7, 2000 Arab-Palestinian mobs, assisted by PA policemen, destroyed and burned Joseph’s Tomb (described in Book of Joshua Chapter 24:32). The PA then built a mosque on the site to reject its Jewishness, and has barred Jews from visiting the ruins of the tomb. On October 15, 2015, an Arab-Palestinian mob burned the synagogue down once again.
In the Arab-Palestinian-controlled areas, the PA has often acted like a bull in a china shop, disregarding the delicate arrangements that control religious sites that, for centuries, prevented friction among Christian sects. Cynically compromising the neutrality and holiness of monasteries and churches, Arab-Palestinians have forcibly turned strategically located sites into sanctuaries for combatants and gunners’ nests, in order to attack Jews and Jewish neighborhoods.
Under the PA, Christian Arabs are increasingly subjected to the kind of intolerance so common under other Arab regimes, including religious persecution of individuals and political oppression of religious communities.
The Arab-Palestinian religious leaders who use, with impunity, their pulpits to incite and breed hatred are supported and subsidized by the Palestinian Authority, which neither reins in such employees, nor opposes such mob rule.
By its own conduct, the Palestinian Authority raises fundamental questions about whether Arab-Palestinians can be trusted to protect non-Muslim holy sites – Jewish or Christian.
Muslim religious leaders have compromised the moral clarity of their faith by cynically using Fatwas – Islamic religious rulings – as political instruments to sanction terrorism against Israel. Arab-Palestinians and their supporters fail even to respect the holiness of their own religion’s holy sites and objects, as so often evidenced by the suicide belts, rocks and fire bombs Arab-Palestinian terrorists hid in mosques on Temple Mount and other places in Israel.
The Islam religion plays a key role in fueling hatred and legitimizing terrorism. Lack of religious freedom is not an issue separated from democratization, or is immune to the war on terrorism – especially when the Islam religion is systematically exploited to inflame the Arab-Israeli conflict and fuel hatred of America and the West.
The Palestinian Authority’s reckless behavior and utter failure to uphold religious freedom or to respect and protect members of other faiths and their institutions – Jewish and/or Christian – make the PA no different than other intolerant Arab regimes or even ISIS. Arab-Palestinians are not worthy of stewardship over the Holy sites of others.
In Israel, Jews and non-Jews alike are free to practice their faiths freely and openly, on individual and institutional levels. That contrasts sharply with neighboring Arab states, where intolerance of other religions is the norm and the number of non-Muslims is constantly shrinking or has shrunk to zero. The Palestinian Authority’s conduct – including the destruction of Jewish sites and violations of the holiness and neutrality of Christian ones – makes the PA untrustworthy custodian of sacred sites in the Holy Land – Jewish or Christian.
Israel, however, should have known that for the Arabs, agreements and promises are meaningless. The PA failure to uphold religious freedom is as much Israel’s fault. From the outset onward, when the Israeli rather myopic and thoughtless government agreed to give the Har Habayit – Temple Mount – keys to the Islamic Waqf, the ONLY condition that was important to stand and to insist on, intra alia, was that Jews will be allowed to freely visit and pray on the Temple Mount, just as Moslems could. If not, no deal. In the meantime, the Arab-Palestinians turned Temple Mount into a dangerous political pawn while an unwise and short vision Israel forgot its own freedom of religion law. The results are seen today as Jewish blood is streaming bright, spilt by Arab-terrorists everywhere in the Jewish homeland.
Jewish History – Denied By The Arabs
Arab-Palestinian political and religious leaders systematically use the media, the schools and the pulpit to disseminate false, slanderous and inflammatory propaganda that claims Jews and Judaism have no historic roots in the Land of Israel, there were never any Jewish Temples standing in Jerusalem while Arabs roots in the land are thousands of years old. These political and religious leaders deliberately destroy archaeological evidence of Jewish history, even on Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.
Incitement – Promoted and Propagated By The Arabs, Never Was Squelched By Israel
Hamas admitted its incitement role, endlessly calling to destroy Israel; other major contributors of incitement are the Palestinian Authority and its president Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO’s Fatah, its armed wing, terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, Hamas’ Israeli branch, the Islamic Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Wakf (the Islamic Authority) the failed guardian of Temple Mount.
They have all created a culture of anti-Semitic-Jew-hatred and they call for Jihad against Israel and Jews, supported by the Arab world and many in the West.
The Palestinian Authority educational institutions indoctrinate and incite their population daily. There are about a thousand Islamic Wakf schools in eastern Jerusalem and many more throughout Israel; although state-sanctioned, they have an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish agenda and their curriculum is a guide to Jew hatred. Two dozen Palestinian colleges and universities have the same agenda, including Al Quds University in Jerusalem, which is supported/funded by Brandeis University and Bard College in the USA. So do the UNRWA schools throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. All in all, the PA education system is raising generations who are obsessive with the destruction of Israel and the murdering of Israeli-Jews.
Anti-Israel NGOs, supported by the EU, New Israel Fund (NIF), and some church groups have the same anti-Israel and anti-Jewish agenda.
The Palestinian Authority “state” TV shows, daily, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish programming, its main purpose is incitement, which fuels terrorism.
What has Israel done about it? Condemned them and let them go on with impunity!
That the Arab-Palestinians opposed to Israel’s existence and wage war against the Jews is a clear subject; they proclaim it proudly. That Arab and Moslem countries and the EU promote anti-Israel agenda is also clear. Yet, the media does not report it, does not touch the subject. Instead of presenting terrorism for what it is, the media showcases “violence,” more so violence by Israel, as if there is no difference between terror perpetrators Arabs and their victims Israelis.
Terrorists’ Release – Israel’s Band-Aid Approach to the Perpetual Terror Problem, Temporary Protective Windows
Mistakenly done by Israel, releasing thousands of unrepentant, dedicated to terrorism Arab terrorists and criminals back into Israeli society in exchange for Israel soldiers’ bodies, or captured resulted so far only in violent uprisings. The 1985 Jibril Agreement which led to the ‘first Intifada’ (1987-88); prisoner releases and further concessions in the mid and late 1990’s led to the ‘second Intifada’ (2000-2003); and over a thousand Arab-Palestinian terrorists were released for Gilad Shalit (2011) created the basis for terrorism, current, former and future ones.
The Rise of Radical Islam – Inside Israel’s Sovereign Territory
Radical Islamic movements, like ISIS, have destabilized Middle East countries and have mobilized Moslems from around the world and have – so far – defeated far more powerful opponents. Their success has inspired the Moslems in Israel to take on terrorism actions.
Hamas, Endless Rocket Attacks on Israel’s Civilian Population
The fact that Hamas has survived and it has the continued ability to attack Israel is a powerful factor fueling terrorism.
It is a disastrous fact that Hamas continues to rearm, is allowed to have Israeli branches that flourish inside Israel and the Palestinian Authority institutions, its leaders and its Arab representatives in Israeli political parties – are all allowed a constant stream of incitement that promote and encourage Arab terrorism.
The government of Israel’s policy and behavior – or no steady policy – is complicit.
Condemnation means nothing to the Arabs; Israel endlessly condemns the Arab-Palestinian incitement, however, the Prime Minister’s Office and the security establishment have done so very little or simply nothing to stop it. Now, they are starting to take action, actions that should have been taken when the first symptoms of the problem showed up.
Stones can kill; fire bombs can burn and kill. For years, the Israeli police have treated Arab throwers of stones and fire-bombing with impunity, as a nuisance, rather than perpetrators of a serious crime. This deliberate neglect has allowed Arab violence to spread and infect an entire generation or more.
Instead of eliminating terrorist rock-and-fire bomb throwers and providing safe roads, the government of Israel prefers a Band-Aid approach to the problem; it subsidizes replacement and temporary protective windows.
When driving along the narrow roads of Judea and Samaria the government allowed almost no police presence to protect Israeli citizens from wild Arab drivers, Arab rocks and fire bombs’ throwers and any other Arabs attacking Jews methods. Yes, there are cameras on those roads, but placing cameras on the road cannot ensure safety and replace police or military presence and protection.
Jews are harassed when visiting Temple Mount; the Israeli police strategy acts against the Jews and the result is that Arab harassment only grew and turned uglier.
Violent attacks by Arab gangs escalated and what did the Israeli police do? They ignored the problem until it became a daily dangerous confrontation.
Rather than holding Arab-Palestinian leaders responsible for the attacks against Jews, the government of Israel, till very recently, seemed to prefer talks and talking rather than actions. This only encouraged Arab violence. They got away with their behavior, why not escalate it.
IDF- Soldiers With Hands Tied to Their Back Tight
Israel’s Ministry of Defense is culpable as well. Instead of protecting and supporting the IDF soldiers, the government and especially the IDF top brass have put them in harm’s way. For example, sending only a few soldiers to confront mobs of mad rioting Arabs is an inadequate response, is endangering the Israeli soldiers’ life, and is not allowing them to do their duty.
Then there is the unique phenomenon in Israel of pro-Arab-Palestinian foreign activists who arrive in Israel and are permitted to assist in violent attacks against IDF soldiers. The questions are, why they are not arrested and deported? Why are Israeli saboteurs who are also involved in such actions not arrested? Why are, mainly Leftist foreigners, Arab activists and pretending to be “foreign journalists” allowed to harass IDF soldiers with impunity?
Though the government of Israel is now finally trying to put out the fires of terrorism, it will not admit that it has provided some top grade fuel to assist it.
The inability of a nation/society to defend itself is the second stage of its demise; the first stage is its unwillingness to defend itself. We are witnessing Syria and the Syrian refugees’ phenomenon, who fled their country because of their unwillingness and inability to defend their country and themselves.
Only one will survive and the one that will survive will be the one that has the WILL to assert sufficient force to banish the other.
By now, a majority of Israelis undoubtedly know that for their enemies, this is a conflict not about borders but about their very right to be in the land of Israel. Israelis know that, overwhelmingly, the Arab world is still committed to drive the Jews in Israel out of their land. So they will stay, and tough it out – whatever the world thinks of the steps they have to take – for as long as it takes.
As Golda Meir put it decades ago with her characteristic wit, “Israelis have a secret weapon – we have nowhere else to go.”