Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Palestinians Riot In Jersualem

Speaking of violence, the Palestinians are at it again. Israel rededicated the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was obliterated by the Jordanians in 1948 and which Israel did not regain control of until 1967. The Israelis built a soaring arch to duplicate one of the architectural features of the destroyed shul, and they finally rebuilt it. The Hurva is located in the Jewish Quarter and the Palestinians still saw this as an affront.The Arabs would much rather see the Jewish presence in ruins than see a vibrant Jewish community regain its heritage.

Of course, the Palestinians started a rumor that this was the first step to destroying the al Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock to prepare for the construction of a new Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount.

Much rioting and violence ensued.

The US envoy George Mitchell canceled his trip indefinitely. The US hasn't exactly spoken out against the rumors, letting them continue to percolate among the Arab populations that are regularly plied with such blatherings until they can no longer discern between fact and fantasy.

With that as a backdrop, Secretary of State Clinton reiterated that the US has an unshakable bond with Israel, and that's very much like what we've heard before from both sides of the aisle in the halls of DC:Speaker Pelosi in 2007. VP Biden last week. Gen. Jim Jones in 2009. President Ronald Reagan in 1982. President Bush in 2008. That's just a random sample. It's a sentiment that goes back decades.

Of course, it also means that the Palestinians will begin their ritualistic whining about the US favoring Israel and how the US can't be an impartial arbiter in the peace process, which is rich given that the Palestinians can't even agree who is their legitimate representative and that Hamas, which won the last election held by the Palestinians wants a war to eliminate Israel.

The violence isn't being blamed on the rumors but on Israel's proposed housing projects even though the violence is directly attributed to the rumors. Any Israeli housing construction will cause problems - especially if it's in areas where the Palestinians demand a state for themselves (which is to say pretty much everywhere in Israel but particularly in the area around Jerusalem). There's more than a bit of brinksmanship going on here - and Abbas and Hamas have the violence at their disposal because that's their reliable fallback position. Israeli Prime Minister Netenyahu is calling them out on it.

Bear in mind that Israel's housing industry relies quite heavily on Palestinian labor. Stop the housing, and the Palestinians will complain about Israel's refusal to provide economic activities. If it isn't one thing, it's something else that Israel does that gives arise to Palestinian demands for concessions from Israel on all grounds.

And just because Hamas and/or Islamic Jihad wanted in on the action, Gazans fired a kassam from Gaza into Israel.

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