people walking up and down the stairs near temple
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Column: Israeli Police vs. Circular Logic

On the first day of Passover, I left a store and entered my car only to look up and spot two bizarre signs on the wall – one warning of death in “hell-fire” for anyone who kills a son of Islam and the second crediting Muslims for building the Pyramids in Egypt.

Neither Judaism nor Israel was mentioned, but what else could these posters be about? Especially when we consider the timing.

The more cosmic question: Why didn’t they copy their allies in Israel’s territories and launch a rampage through Northeast Philadelphia? Probably because they could never get away with it here, and they would be unable to evoke the same level of sympathy as they have among Arab leaders in Israel. The posters were taken down by the next day.

Israeli riot police were justified to confront Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem last Friday, Sunday and Monday. Among other actions, the Palestinians tossed stones in the direction of the Western Wall below where worshipers had also gathered to pray, The New York Times reported.

Police said Friday’s incident started after Palestinians collected stones, wooden planks and other large objects before the Muslim dawn prayer began and also set off fireworks, according to the Times. Officers made their way onto the compound after the prayer ended.

The Associated Press reported that Palestinians tossed rocks and fireworks, and police fired tear gas and stun grenades on the large esplanade surrounding the mosque, which is regarded as Islam’s third-holiest site.

The incident led to 150 wounded, mostly Palestinians, and 400 arrests, according to media reports. Many Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the mosque.

Clashes resumed on a lesser scale on Sunday when Israeli police entered the Temple Mount, in response to Palestinian worshippers allegedly blocking Jewish worshippers from entering the site, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported. Several Palestinians were wounded and 17 were arrested.

Palestinians on Sunday threw stones at a bus taking Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount site, and video supplied by the police showed two incidents in which a group of Arab men punched and kicked three religious Jews in a nearby alley, according to JTA and the Times.

In the latest assault within sovereign Israel, a 15-year-old girl was arrested Friday over a suspected terror stabbing in Haifa on Friday. The victim, a 47-year-old Haifa man, was released on Saturday from a local hospital after suffering several surface wounds that did not require surgery, according to The Times of Israel.

The Ynet news site reported that the girl told investigators that she sought to stab Jews and quoted family members who said she was angered by images of the Temple Mount clashes that morning.

The girl’s suspected stabbing followed four deadly incidents within sovereign Israel since March 22 which killed 14 people. It has been years since fatal attacks occurred in cities like Tel Aviv, Hadera and Bnei Brek along the coastline and Beersheba in the Negev desert while there have been violent attacks in Jerusalem and Israel’s territories.

Suspected assailants at the Temple Mount face charges of throwing stones, firing fireworks, assaulting police officers, violent fortification, violent rioting and disturbing public order, police told the NY Times.

The police were dutybound to protect the worshippers below and the troublemakers need to be held accountable for disrupting the peace.

Not only were the Palestinians tossing rocks from the Temple Mount and assaulting Jews in the alley, but all this mayhem was planned. The assailants wore masks while photos showed rocks piled up along the path on Sunday and Monday which could block Jewish visitors headed to the Temple Mount.

On Monday, Arab women standing near the Dome of the Rock shouted a chant about a battle between Mohammed and a Jewish community in Khaybar in 628 CE, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Motives for the Palestinian actions at the Temple Mount were, as usual, disingenuous. Calls to defend the mosque went out after rumors spread on social media that Jewish right-wingers would breach the mosque, according to the NY Times. It is a possibility, but Israeli police would be skilled enough to stop it. Besides, Israel would have far better access to intelligence because Jewish assailants would be, well, Jewish.

Maybe they thought it was a pre-emptive strike to throw rocks into the worship area of the Western Wall.

Palestinians also contended that Israeli police moved deeper into the compound as the call to prayer sounded, shortly before the prayers began, the NY Times reported. Palestinians viewed this as a provocation.

That means a provocation excuses them. Also, they said police fired the first shot.

The girl’s reported explanation for allegedly stabbing a man is just as strange. She was upset by the images at the Temple Mount. These hooligans start trouble and what happens to them angers her.

Their reliance on circular logic bears its own sense of fascination. They have been employing circular logic in their conflict with Israel for the past century. In this spirit, maybe we should give a hearty shout-out to those many Muslims who sweated to give us the Pyramids.

About Bruce Ticker

Bruce S. Ticker, who writes from Philadelphia, also blogs for The San Diego Jewish World and Smirking Chimp and previously for the suspended Philadelphia Jewish Voice. He was previously a reporter and copy editor for daily newspapers in eastern Pennsylvania.

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