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The story behind the Jerusalem attack: How Trump and Netanyahu pushed the Palestinians into a corner

A wounded Palestinian is seen after Israeli forces intervened a protest in front Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on 16 July 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency ]
A wounded Palestinian is seen after Israeli forces intervened a protest in front Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem on 16 July 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency ]

Early October 2016, Misbah Abu Sbeih left his wife and five children at home and then drove to an Israeli police station in Occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem. The 39-year-old Jerusalemite was scheduled to hand himself over to serve a term of 4 months in jail for, allegedly, trumped up charges of ‘trying to hit an Israeli soldier’.

Misbah is familiar with Israeli prisons, having been held there before on political charges, including an attempt to sneak into and pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of a large compound known as Haram al-Sharif, which includes – aside from Al-Aqsa – the famed Dome of the Rock and other Palestinian Muslim sites, revered by Muslims everywhere.

Al-Aqsa is believed to be the second mosque ever to be built, the first being Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The Holy Quran mentions it as the place from which Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven, journeying from Mecca to Jerusalem. For Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, the Mosque took on a new meaning following the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian city of al-Quds (East Jerusalem) in 1967.

Scenes of Israeli soldiers raising the Israeli flag over Muslim and Christian shrines in the city fifty years ago, is burnt into the collective memory of several generations. Unsurprisingly, therefore, that the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has been the focal point of clashes between Palestinian worshipers and the Israeli army.

Read: Israel seeks to further restrict access to Al-Aqsa Mosque

Daily visitors to the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem include non-Muslims tourists. They are often welcomed by Al-Waqf administration, which is the Islamic religious trust that manages the holy shrines, a practice dating back 500 years. Even after the Israeli occupation of the Arab city, al-Waqf has continued to be the caretaker of the Muslim site, as arranged between the Jordanian government and Israel. Israeli design in the occupied city, however, is far greater than the Mosque itself.

Last April, the Israeli government announced plans to build 15,000 new housing units in Occupied Jerusalem, contrary to international law. The international community recognizes East Jerusalem as a Palestinian city. The United States, too, accepts international consensus on Jerusalem, and attempts by the US Congress to challenge the White House on this understanding have all failed. That is, until Donald Trump came to power.

Prior to his inauguration in January, Trump had promised to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The announcement was welcomed by Israeli rightwing politicians and extremists alike. Many of Israel’s supporters in the US saw this as a good sign of the Trump presidency. While the US embassy is yet to officially move to Jerusalem, the new administration is sending a message that it is no longer bound by international law with regard to the Occupied Territories.

Not only is the US abandoning its self-tailored role as a ‘peace broker’ between Israel and the Palestinian leadership, but it is sending a clear signal to Israel that there can be no pressure on Israel regarding the status of Jerusalem. In response, the United Nations and its various institutions have moved quickly to reassure Palestinians. The UN cultural agency, UNESCO, has been the most active in this regard. Despite US-Israeli pressure, several resolutions have been passed by UNESCO and the UN General Assembly in recent months, which have reaffirmed Palestinian rights in the city.

Read: Israel cuts $1m of its funding to UNESCO

Israel and the US moved to punish Palestinians for UNESCO’s decisions. It began when the Israeli Knesset began pushing laws that make life even more difficult for Palestinian Jerusalemites, including a law that limits the Muslim call for prayer. The law, which passed its second reading last March, was championed by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli police expanded the ever-growing list of Palestinians who are not allowed to reach their houses of worship. The list included Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was repeatedly arrested, beaten and incarcerated by the Israeli police.

The Israeli government then opened up the flood gates of settlement expansion in the occupied city, after being partially limited during the presidency of Barack Obama. In part, that was Netanyahu’s response to UN Resolution 2334, which demanded an immediate halt to Israeli settlement construction in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.

Concurrently, the new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, took on the task of silencing any international criticism of the Israeli occupation, calling international attempts to end the occupation a form of ‘bullying.’ Assured by the unconditional US support, Netanyahu moved to new extremes. He severed his country’s ties with UNESCO and called for the dismantlement of UN headquarters in the occupied Palestinian city.

Read: When Abbas lauds Trump, he is trying to deflect his own accountability

East Jerusalem was already illegally annexed by Israeli in 1981, but without international acceptance of such a measure, the Israeli move seemed pointless. Now, Israel feels that times are changing, as the Trump administration offers Israel a window of opportunity to normalize its illegal occupation and annexation of the city. In recent months, Palestinians have responded in myriad ways. They have worked with various countries across the globe to challenge the Israeli-US plans. Most Palestinian efforts, although successful to some extent, have failed to sway Israel in any way.

The political upheaval has translated on the ground to more violence, as thousands of Israeli occupation soldiers and police were rushed to the city to restrict Palestinian movement and to block thousands of worshipers from reaching Al-Aqsa. Hundreds were detained in a massive security campaign. In the absence of a strong leadership, Palestinians are growingly increasingly desperate and angry. The Palestinian Authority is largely busy in its own pitiful power struggles and appears to have no time for Palestinians, who are left with little hope for a political horizon and no clear sense of direction. While thousands of Palestinians have resisted through constantly attempting to reach Al-Aqsa or demonstrated in protest, others are “reaching the breaking point”.

One is Misbah Abu Sbeih. Once he arrived at the Israeli military police station, Mishbah did not give himself up. Instead, he opened fire, killing an Israeli army office from the ‘Yassam’ unit and another Israeli. He was killed instantly. Other attacks followed. On Friday, July 14, the holiest day of the week in the Muslim calendar, three Palestinian men attacked Israeli soldiers and police officers stationed near one of the Haram’s gates. They killed two Israeli officers, and were killed by occupation soldiers, soon after.

#OccupiedPalestine

This is the first time that an attack of this nature has been recorded inside the Al-Aqsa compound. Since 1967, only Israelis have used arms in violent clashes with Palestinians. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in or around this holy shrine throughout the years. Last June in Jerusalem, speaking to a crowd celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Israeli military occupation of the city, Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu declared that the al-Aqsa Mosque compound would “forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

Empowered by the Trump administration and assured by Haley’s tactics at the UN, Netanyahu feels that his dream of subduing East Jerusalem is being realized. The price of Netanyahu’s dream, however, is likely to be costly. On the day of the attack, several Palestinians were killed in various parts of the West Bank and a 3-year-old child from Gaza died while awaiting a permit to cross from the besieged region to the West Bank for treatment. None of this registered in international media.

The armed Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers, however, made headlines around the world. More violence is likely to follow. Palestinians, who are dying without much media coverage, are desperate and angry as their holy city is crumbling under the heavy boots of soldiers, amid international silence and unconditional US support for the Israeli government.

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ArticleAsia & AmericasIsraelMiddle EastPalestineUS
  • Helen4Yemen

    You seem to forget that there are no more Palestinian Jews left in the world today. Today’s Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians are descended from the Jews of ancient times. The Ashkenazi who seized Arab land is totally of European ancestry.

  • Helen4Yemen

    Explain to me why Italians have significant levels of
    ME ancestry – as high as 20% – vs. 0% for the
    Ashkenazi? It is also interesting that it was not the
    Italians with such high levels of Middle East DNA who
    claim ancestry from Palestine but Mr. ZERO% himself
    the Ashkenazi. Why do the Ashkenazi seem to have
    no shame to claim a land where they have ZERO%
    ancestry connecting them to? The link below has over
    100 DNA results for Italians. You will notice that the
    Ashkenazi DNA is grouped with and added to the
    grand total of European DNA and there is a separate
    Middle East DNA.

    https://disqus*com/home/discussion/channel-semite/italian_greek_types_of_dna/

    replace * with .

  • Helen4Yemen

    If the Ashkenazi at ZERO % Middle East ancestry is Middle
    Eastern, whey then are the Eskimos, the Hutus and the
    Zulus Middle Eastern since they too – like the Ashkenazi –
    are 0% Middle Eastern DNA?

    • robert affinity

      If you check decades of genetic research, yes Ashknazim are at least 50% Middle Eastern Ancestry and cluster quite closely with OTHER Middle Easterners but NOT with Non-Jewish European neighbors.

      • Helen4Yemen

        This Italian’s DNA is:

        Italian – 82.4%
        Balkan – 3.4%
        Southern European – 4.2%
        Ashkenazi – <0.1%
        Nonspecific European – 2.4%
        _________________________
        Total European = 92.5%
        ________________________
        Middle Eastern – 3.2%
        North African – 2.9%
        Non-specific Middle Eastern North African – 0.6%
        ____________________________
        Total Middle East-North Africa – 6.7%
        ____________________________
        Unassigned – 0.8%
        ___________________________
        Total = 100%

        http://i62*tinypic*com/nxw9br*jpg
        replace * with .

        a) Can you tell me why the Ashkenazi DNA is added to the total of European DNA?

        b) Can you tell me why there is a separate DNA called Middle Eastern?

        • robert affinity

          I provided extensive info on genetic research that you are simply wrong on the other thread

      • Helen4Yemen

        Explain to me why Italians have significant levels of
        ME ancestry – as high as 20% – vs. 0% for the
        Ashkenazi? It is also interesting that it was not the
        Italians with such high levels of Middle East DNA who
        claim ancestry from Palestine but Mr. ZERO% himself
        the Ashkenazi. Why do the Ashkenazi seem to have
        no shame to claim a land where they have ZERO%
        ancestry connecting them to? The link below has over
        100 DNA results for Italians. You will notice that the
        Ashkenazi DNA is grouped with and added to the
        grand total of European DNA and there is a separate
        Middle East DNA.

        https://disqus*com/home/discussion/channel-semite/italian_greek_types_of_dna/

        replace * with .

  • Helen4Yemen

    “they draw line at about 300 years ago and classify Ashkenaz as European Jewish.”
    ———
    100% nonsense! What other groups of people do they draw the line and what would be the reason? Do they draw the line from black Americans? Why not stop being utterly silly?

    What do the Ashkenzi look like? What else? European!

    This link has many pictures of the Ashkenazi.

    https://disqus*com/home/discussion/channel-semite/what_do_jews_look_like/
    replace * with .

    • robert affinity

      It is simple Truth.

      Jews were taken to Europe by the Romans about 2000 years ago.

      Most African Americans were taken to America within the last 250 years.
      So, yes, simplifying for usefulness is diff b/w those two groups.

      Ironically, Europeans have argued for quite some time that Jews do not look European.

      #sosad
      #nonesoblind

      • Helen4Yemen

        Were only the men taken but also the women?

      • Helen4Yemen

        Your problem comparing black American to the Ashkenazi are:

        a) Black Americans resemble the Africans where they came from – the Ashkenazi has no resemblance to the people of the Middle East. None! I am Middle Eastern and I aught to know what Middle East people look like.

        b) The DNA of the black Americans has significant levels of African DNA whereas the Ashkenazi is one of the purest of any European groups at 99.9% European and 0% Middle Eastern.

      • Helen4Yemen

        If Europeans said “Jews” do not look European, did they tell who you look like?

        a) African
        b) Chinese
        d) Middle Eastern
        e) Philippine

        This link has 100 pictures of the Ashkenazi. Can you tell me which one of these “Jews” Ashkenazi the Europeans thought did not look European?

        https://disqus*com/home/discussion/channel-semite/what_do_jews_look_like/

        replace * with .

        • robert affinity

          Your racism and willful blindness to science, dna research and even how genotypes and phenotypes is very sad given that you are so motivated to share on these topics.

          Perhaps all I can suggest for you is to google: Palestinian blonde
          and you can see for yourself how your racist logic fails.
          Peace.

  • Helen4Yemen

    In 1882 when Zionists arrived, they found:
    ♦ 400,000 Arabic -speaking Muslims
    ♦ 40,000 Arabic-speaking Christians
    ♦ 15,000 Yiddish-speaking Jews
    There were no native Jews in Palestine
    for over 1,000 years. Today, there are
    no Palestinians Jews left in the world.

    YES OR NO?

  • Helen4Yemen

    Do you deny the figures below?

    In 1882 when Zionists arrived, they found:
    ♦ 400,000 Arabic -speaking Muslims
    ♦ 40,000 Arabic-speaking Christians
    ♦ 15,000 Yiddish-speaking Jews
    There were no native Jews in Palestine
    for over 1,000 years.

    • robert affinity

      OF course there were native Jews in Palestine.

  • Helen4Yemen

    There were no Jews in Palestine for over a thousand
    years until indigent Jews began to arrive from Eastern
    Europe in the 1830’s and 1840’s who were living on
    Halukka (charities) sent to them from abroad. These
    poor Eastern European Jews were sent to plant the
    seed for Jewish presence on that land since there
    were none up to that time. When Zionists arrived in
    Palestine in 1882, they found 15,000 Jews, who were
    all Yiddish-speaking migrants from Eastern Europe but
    there were no indigenous Arabic-speaking Palestinian
    Jews. There were only indigenous Palestinian Muslims
    and Palestinian Christians but no Palestinian Jews.
    Today, there are no more Palestinian Jews in the
    world. Over centuries, they simply converted to Islam
    or Christianity.

    Jewish land ownership in Palestine
    of total area of 26,323,000 dunums

    1882 — 22500 — 0.1%
    1900 — 218000 — 0.8%
    1914 — 418000 — 1.6%
    1927 — 865000 — 3.2%
    1936 — 1231000 — 4.7%
    1945 — 1588365 — 6.0%
    1947 — 1734000 — 6.6%

  • Helen4Yemen

    “The indigenous Arab population rejected the idea,

    accepted as natural in the West, that they had a moral

    obligation to sacrifice their land to compensate for the

    crimes committed by Europeans against Jews. They

    perhaps wondered why a more appropriate response

    would not have been to remove the population of

    Bavaria and turn it into a Jewish state – or given the

    self-righteous moralizing they hear from the United

    States, why the project could not have been carried

    out in Massachusetts or New York.” Chomsky

  • Helen4Yemen

    “Many profess to find their lack of concern for the
    problems of the Jews incomprehensible or profoundly
    immoral, asking why the Palestinian Arabs, unlike the
    Jewish immigrants, were unwilling to accept a
    “territorial compromise,” something less than what
    they hoped but a fair settlement, given conflicting
    demands. Perhaps the assessment is legitimate, but it
    is surely not hard to understand why the indigenous
    population should resist this conclusion. If someone
    were to take over your home, then offer you a few
    rooms in a “fair compromise,” you might not be
    overwhelmed by his generosity.”

    Chomsky

  • Helen4Yemen

    You mean when the white man commonly known as ‘the
    Ashkenazi” invaded and stole Arab land and was willing to
    give back to the Arabs a small piece of the Arabs’ own
    land?

  • Yelena Affleck

    That is not true! There were Palestinian Jews that spoke Arabic Before the Eastern European Jews arrived! They are still there! Some live in Gaza and Israel, etc!
    It is safe to assume that the Palestinian Jews living in Gaza and West
    The issue arose after Israel was formed was that these darker-skinned, Arab-speaking Jews were seen as ‘backward’ by the Israeli Govt! Their Children were kidnapped and placed with other Israeli Jewish families, to assimilate and modernize them!
    There are well-researched Articles written about this topic!
    Basically, the Jews, originating from theEast/West Europe see the original Palestinian Jews as Inferior! Such is inconvenient and tragic reality! 🙁

    • Yelena Affleck

      Also, Land Ownership is just one side, and cannot represent the full story and facts! Not everyone is able to own land! People do rent homes and lands!
      It would have been more helpful to look at the Census of how many people identified themselves as Jews!

    • Helen4Yemen

      “In 1920, the British Government’s Interim Report on
      the Civil Administration of Palestine stated that there
      were hardly 700,000 people living in Palestine. The
      Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000.
      Almost all have entered Palestine during the last
      40 years. Prior to 1850 there were in the country only
      a handful of Jews. In the following 30 years a few
      hundreds came to Palestine. Most of them were
      animated by religious motives; they came to pray and
      to die in the Holy Land, and to be buried in its soil.
      After the persecutions in Russia forty years ago, the
      movement of the Jews to Palestine assumed larger
      proportions.”

      https://en.wikipedia.ORG/wiki/Demographic_history_of_Palestine_(region)

    • Helen4Yemen

      For over a thousand years, there were no Jews living in
      Palestine. In 1882 when European Jewry arrived in
      Palestine as Zionist colonial settlers, they found:

      • 400,000 Arabic-speaking indigenous Palestinian Muslims (78%)

      • 40,000 Arabic-speaking indigenous Palestinian Christians (6%)

      •15,000 YIDDISH-SPEAKING European Jews (3%) All)

      All the 15,000 Jews were Yiddish-speaking migrants from
      Eastern Europe who had arrived in the 1830’s and
      1840’s to live on Halukka (charity) sent them to from
      abroad. Make no mistake about it that these indigent
      Jews of Eastern Europe were sent to plant the seed
      for Jewish presence on that land before the stampede
      to colonize the land would begin by European Jewry.