Israel’s Foreign Ministry has released a short summary of the reasons for the recent unrest that has led to four Israeli deaths, dozens wounded, and widespread Arab rioting.
”The recent series of attacks against Israelis is the direct result of incitement by radical Islamist and terrorist elements,” the Foreign Ministry statement reads. This incitement calls on “Palestinian youth to murder Jews. Inflammatory statements by Palestinian leaders amount to official incitement to violence.”
The statement was accompanied by a video detailing Palestinian Arab incitement.
Providing talking points for pro-Israel elements called upon to defend the Jewish State from baseless accusations, the Foreign Ministry notes that the “incitement includes the spread of false claims against Israel, in particular regarding the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.”
“The culture of hate in the Palestinian media, schools and social networks, together with the statements of Palestinian leaders, has reached new andgruesome heights.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas himself shares part of the blame, Israel explains: “The Palestinian Authority, including its chairman Mahmoud Abbas, is using inflammatory Islamic rhetoric to spread false and malicious claims against Israel, and treat those who engage in the murder ofIsraelis as heroes. These statements amount to official incitement to violence, and can only serve to exacerbate the situation.”
The accusations that Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount – Judaism’s number-one holiest site in the world – comes at the expense of Muslims’ visits are totally baseless: visits to the Temple Mount over the past year included nearly 4,000,000 entries by Muslims, and only some 12,000 entries by Jews. Approximately 200,000 Christians visited the Mount this year as well.
The status quo protects the right of Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount, as well as the freedom of all people to visit the Mount. Israel has repeated often that it has no plans to change this situation, “and any claim to the contrary is a lie,” the Foreign Ministry states.
It should be noted, however, that the “status quo” under which Jews do not pray on the Temple Mount actually came into effect only relatively recently. As the late Chief IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren wrote, “Jewish prayer at the Western Wall [the Kotel] began only in the 16th century; prior to that, Jews prayed for centuries on the Temple Mount.”
Ultimately, Muslims banned the Jews from entering the holy site, thus paving the way for the current “status quo.” After the Six Day War in 1967, the Israeli government agreed to new arrangements under which Jews would be freely allowed to visit – but would be forbidden to pray there. The ban on prayer has remained in effect, while Jewish visits are restricted to only certain hours of the day and certain days of the week and year.
The Foreign Ministry notes that “radical Islamists are bringing explosive devices, Molotov cocktails and other weaponry onto the Temple Mount, thus deliberately desecrating, damaging and endangering the holy site and turning it into a battle field. The militarization of a site revered by all should be universally condemned. The aim of these elements is to change the status quo and to prevent visits by non-Muslims on the Mount.”
The above is part of a new Foreign Ministry initiative to combat increasing Palestinian Arab incitement and launch a media campaign of its own. The hope is that “factoids” such as the above will be widely disseminated by pro-Israel elements around the world.