An accident in the field

May 19, 2022 by Ron Weiser
Read on for article

In the battle between Russia and Ukraine, the Western world and most democracies, see the situation in black and white terms.

Ron Weiser

Russia is in the wrong and Ukraine is protecting its sovereign borders.

However, when it comes to Israel, the support of her own allies is much greyer.

On the one hand, what we saw last May, when Hamas launched over 4,300 missiles and rockets into Israel, was rarely seen almost wall to wall support for Israel. As but one example, the Austrian Chancellery flew the Israeli flag over its building. If that happened in the past, I do not recall it.

When the Israeli/Arab matrix remains a territorial dispute, the free world’s support nowadays more or less remains intact. More or less….

Yes, a distinction is made between attacks on Israelis inside the Green Line and over the Green Line, but Israel generally is left to deal with these events if they are not perceived to have got ‘out of control’.

Each time peace is discussed or seems closer, those opposed to an accommodation with Israel within the Palestinian/Arab world become more desperate and terror increases.

The Second Intifada for example was deliberately started by Yasser Arafat after he walked out of the Camp David talks with then Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

And so it is this time, that the mere sight of the Abraham Accords follow-up, with the foreign ministers of four Arab countries coming to Sde Boker for their unprecedented meetings inside Israel, led to the wave of terror that so far has seen 19 Israeli deaths by brutal random attacks in various towns and cities in Israel.

These acts of terror have been condemned, almost without qualification, by Israel’s allies.

The main issue for Israel is when the dispute moves from the territorial arena to the religious one.

And sometimes also when the so-called free press appears to be physically attacked.

Such as the destruction of the empty press building in Gaza during last May’s Hamas offensive.

These two types of occurrences press Western buttons.

Hamas and the Palestinian Authority understand this very well and both are currently exploiting this fault line in Western thinking.

Their prime focus has been to ignite tensions on the Temple Mount.

This year, once again, Ramadan coincided with Passover and Easter bringing the three monotheistic religions marking important religious festivals at the same time and in the same area.

Though this was a clear case of young Moslem youth instigating the riots, even desecrating their own mosque by wearing their shoes and chipping away parts of the mosque’s walls for rocks to throw, the pictures of the response by Israel to Palestinian violence spread on social media and the news services, as if it was the beginning of the story, rather than the middle of it.

With the resultant negative reaction even from Israel’s closest allies.

Hamas et al had once again succeeded in turning this into a contest over a religious issue – the Temple Mount.

Almost most disturbingly, this also brought unusually heavy condemnation from the Jordanians who have a vested interest in keeping their relationship to management of the Temple Mount in play.

Jordan, it should be noted, did not participate in the Sde Boker gathering either – whilst Egypt did.

Even though Israel was criticised for re-establishing civil order in the manner it deemed fit, there were also some significant positives – it is just that these received virtually no coverage.

The Norwegian Tor Wennesland, is the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He was previously Norway’s representative to the Palestinian Authority.

No-one would accuse Wennesland or the UN of being great supporters of Israel’s positions generally.

However, this was his report on the Temple Mount situation as he presented it to the UN Security Council at its monthly forum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “On 15 April, during the early morning hours, a large number of Palestinians gathered at the Al Aqsa compound. Some Palestinians threw stones, fireworks and other heavy objects toward Israeli Security Forces, and ISF used stun grenades, sponge-tipped bullets and batons, including against some bystanders. Despite the tensions, overall, hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Jews, and Christians have been able to celebrate the holy days in and around the Old City in relative peace and without further escalation.”

Hundreds of thousands of Moslems, Jews and Christians have been able to celebrate………in relative peace. That real story somehow escaped the notice of the Western media and Israel’s allies.

How different that report was from the video streams that informed the initial criticisms of Israel, completely without factual basis.

But of course, it all came too late. The damage had been done. The Moslem world was incensed at alleged Jewish ‘desecration’ of the Temple Mount – Judaism’s most Holy Site.

When it came to the tragic shooting of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh from as yet undetermined sources, the Palestinian Authority has seen great mileage in preventing any serious investigation to determine if she was shot in the crossfire by Palestinian gunman, or accidentally by the IDF.

Whilst the PA is unsurprisingly uninterested in the truth, what is of great concern is that Israel is being roundly condemned by her own allies, without them even knowing or seemingly caring about the facts.

Israel’s presumed guilt is the default option.

Scenes around the funeral itself threw further oil on the flames.

Hamas, the Palestinian Authority et al, have found the soft underbelly of Western limits of support for Israel – perceived religious inflammation and assumed attacks on the safety of the press.

There is one more factor spurring Hamas in particular, to exacerbate these issues – Mansour Abbas and his Ra’am party.

Small right-wing Jewish elements of Israel’s opposition and some commentators constantly claim that Mansour Abbas is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Time will tell.

But we all know that Netanyahu also offered to include Ra’am in his potential government coalition last year.

Hamas fears Ra’am’s legitimacy with Israeli Arabs and will do whatever it can to damage this.

Ra’am has not been the weak link in the current Israeli coalition, that has been Prime Minister Bennett’s own Yamina party.

Abbas was able to resist all Palestinian pressure to leave the government until the Temple Mount flareup. That is until the Israeli/Palestinian dispute turned again to the religious arena and opinion in the Arab street, forced him to freeze his participation in the coalition.

Just as Abbas was about to return, Shireen Abu Akleh was killed.

Nevertheless, even against this background, Abbas and his three other MKs presented at a press conference stating unanimously that they had re-joined the government.

Abbas also needs more time in government himself to show his potential constituency that he can deliver.

Hamas knows that when they rain rockets down on Israel’s population or murder Israeli civilians in the street, large segments of world opinion look at Israel similarly to the way they look at Ukraine.

But when it comes to any religious dispute, and Israel’s reactions, even her own allies see her more like Russia.

Which may have serious consequences. And for which Israel needs to prepare.

Sadly, Israel’s allies’ inability to assess the situation correctly, and in some cases deliberate blindness, will only encourage Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and others to increase the religious dimension of the conflict, to encourage and create even more violence and to further exploit accidents that may occur in the field, whether caused by Israel or not.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

Got something to say about this?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.