The metal detectors have come down. Since this was never about metal detectors, it comes as no surprise that tensions did not immediately subside.
In their initial reaction to the Israeli measures, Muslim leaders instructed worshipers to continue to stay away from the Temple Mount. The Waqf, the Islamic Trust that governs the compound, said it will ‘conduct a study’ about restarting visits, with Sheikh Raed Dana saying, “We as Waqf listen to the street. The street says yes and we say yes; if the street says no, we will say no.” These are the words of a religious leadership that isn’t seeking to ease tensions, but rather further inflame them.
And what of the political leadership? President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party called for a day of rage and two days later a terrorist broke in the Salomon family home in Halamish and brutally murdered three members of the family. Afterwards, Fatah praised the attack, and issued a statement declaring, “[The] campaign for Jerusalem has effectively begun, and will not stop until a Palestinian victory and the release of the holy sites from Israeli occupation.”
Campaign for Jerusalem? Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are free. In fact, they are far freer to Muslims than to Jews. Any person of any religion can visit the Temple Mount, but only Muslims are permitted to pray atop the site.
To be clear, Muslims are free to worship however they please, while Jews are not afforded the same freedoms. To access the Temple Mount, non-Muslim visitors are subjected to security checks and forbidden from carrying religious items, not even prayer books or kippahs.
Let us recall that the outbreak of violence began when three Muslims brought guns onto the Temple Mount, desecrating the holy site and murdering two Israeli police officers. Let us also recall that Israel has reached out to Palestinian and Arab leaders for help in finding an alternative to metal detectors that would preserve the holiness of the site and ensure the safety of worshippers who visit.
These inconvenient truths have been conveniently overlooked by international organizations, like Human Rights Watch that have written tomes condemning Israel for purported human rights violations, but have yet to utter a word of condemnation about the Salomon massacre.
They have also been overlooked by the Quartet, which issued a non-statement statement; one that is so bland in content and context that it serves no value. It doesn’t explicitly mention the vicious attack on the Salomon family or the irresponsible incitement that has triggered and continues to fuel the violence.
Photographs of the Salomon home show the shocking savagery of the attack. The mother of terrorist Omar al-Abed appeared in a video saying that she is “proud of her son.” In the wake of the attack, the family hosted guests and al-Abed’s mother handed out sweets.
It’s hard to fathom, but she is proud of her son’s barbarism and proud that he is now a murderer. This response is born from the rampant anti-Israel incitement that is poisoning generation after generation of Palestinian children. Palestinian society, from its political and religious leaders to its school system and media, indoctrinates its people with hatred, incites them to violence, and rewards them for the murderous consequences.
It’s not just the international organizations that are turning a blind eye, the human rights community is doing the same. Take for example, Linda Sarsour, who posted a message on Facebook praising the Palestinians’ ‘non-violent’ resistance. The claim is absurd. No honest champion of human rights can so easily dismiss the slaughter of the Salomon family, or the murder of two Israeli police officers, or the thousands of Palestinians violently rioting on the streets and chanting, “With our blood and our souls we will redeem Al-Aqsa.”
Where are the true champions of human rights and human dignity? Will there be a Women’s March for all the Israeli women, like Chaya Salomon, who have been murdered by terrorists? Will there be calls to boycott, divest, and sanction all the Arab countries that have irresponsibly fanned the flames of discontent? Of course not.
The outbreak of violence isn’t about a denial of freedoms and it’s certainly not about metal detectors. It’s about a society that has shackled its people with hatred, and an international community that literally lets them get away with murder.
Aviva Klompas is the Associate Vice President of Strategic Israel Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies. Previously, she served as the Director of Speechwriting at the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations.
Arsen Ostrovsky is an international human rights lawyer and Executive Director of The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC).
[Photo: Times of Israel / YouTube ]