The ‘Al-Aqsa libel’ lives on
Op-ed: Terrorism doesn’t seek peace, it doesn’t seek two states for two people or an end to the occupation. Terrorism appears because of incitement, hatred and blood libels. It seeks destruction and ruin, and it will find any excuse to reappear, both when the Palestinians are suffering because of the occupation and when they are thriving despite the occupation.
The Temple Mount, we have been warned, is going to set the Muslim world on fire. There are already protests in different corners of the world. And here, in Israel, a Palestinian picked up a knife and went out to murder three Jews. If we had only acted a bit nicer, if we hadn’t annoyed them, it wouldn’t have happened.
Don’t you just love that self-deception, which repeats itself every time another wave of violence threatens to destroy them? Yes, to destroy them, not us. Because they regularly threaten us and hurt themselves. It didn’t start today. It’s tradition. It’s history.
In the great Arab revolt of the 1930s, the Brits were the main target. The activities were directed against them. Some 200 Brits, 400 Jews and 5,000 Arabs were killed. It wasn’t a religious revolt at first. But the mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, spread the rumor that British soldiers had desecrated mosques and that the Jews were about to take them over. It was a continuation of the “Al-Aqsa libel,” which the mufti himself had created in the 1920s.
The interesting thing is that although the Brits responded with astounding brutality, with means Israel doesn’t even dream of using, and just as well, the real brutality was between Muslims and Muslims. When the revolt began, the mufti was against violence. He favored the diplomatic channel. As time went by, the mufti increasingly radicalized.
At some point, most of Palestine’s Arabs gave up the revolt. The mufti and his supporters were furious. The result was that most Arabs who were murdered during the revolt were victims of a bloody war between the rival factions, and the mufti and his supporters were responsible for most acts of murder.
As the years went by, the format of “an external enemy with self-killing” exacerbated, and not just among the Palestinians. The Muslims are regularly furious with the West. In the past few decades, the “forces of progress” have been adding fuel to the fire. Thousands of academics, journalists and human rights activists are pointing an accusing finger at the West, at the United States, as the Great Satan, and at Israel, as the Little Satan. Everything the Islamists say the ultra-enlightened people say a bit better.
But the rage against the West, which is mostly based on lies and self-deception, is entering an improved format of “an external enemy and self-killing,” because in recent decades the Muslims have mainly been massacring themselves. The massacre exists wherever there are Islamists, and they always find excuses to invigorate the “industry of death”—the title of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna’s article.
From 2002 to late 2016, 202,697 people were murdered in acts of terror. I’m not talking about the casualties of war in the Muslim world, where the death toll in that period almost reached one million. I’m talking about the victims of terror, the absolute majority of whom are Muslim, in Muslim countries or in Muslim population centers. Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria top the list. Israel is almost at the bottom. So with all due respect to the sensitivity towards the Temple Mount, which does exist, it’s the Muslim world’s last problem.
Terror doesn’t appear because it wants to improve something. It doesn’t seek peace. And in our case, it doesn’t seek two states for two people, it doesn’t want an end to the occupation. Terror appears because of incitement and hatred and blood libels. It seeks destruction and ruin, and it will find any excuse to reappear.
When the Palestinians suffer because of the occupation—they have an excellent reason, and one can be confident that the representatives of the forces of progress will turn into terrorism’s propaganda and justification arm. When things are good, despite the occupation—and in the past two years there have been signs of prosperity—it makes the jihadists’ blood boil even more and they rise up against the normalization. And, in the background, there are always the instigators and the agitators and the funders. The young man who went out to murder on Friday night believed that the Jews are desecrating one of Islam’s holiest symbols. He believed the campaign of lies, beginning with al-Jazeera and Hamas to Sheikh Raed Salah and the Palestinian media.
That doesn’t mean that our decision makers did the right thing. But before pulling out knives, and before starting an argument between the Shin Bet and the police, and before pointing an accusing finger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, we must remember that we are talking about a much deeper problem. A problem which the Arab world must solve with itself, because the Muslims are an absolute majority of the victims of Islamic terror. The Temple Mount, with all due respect, is not a jot of this problem.