Reprinted from Wallwritings
Israeli riot police are shown above "maintaining peace" at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound. This picture was taken on March 8, 2013, during "clashes" between Palestinian defenders and Jews who claim they only want to pray on land sacred to them.
These so-called religious clashes erupt when Israeli settlers provocatively arrive at the al-Aqsa compound, especially on Jewish holy days, protected by Israeli police.
The latest incursion of the compound came this week during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year when repentance is the order of the day.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, blamed Palestinians for inciting "the recent uptick in violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem." He called for "harsher measures" against stone throwers.
Jordan's King Abdullah reiterated his criticism of Israel's response to the escalation in violence during a meeting with members of the Joint (Arab) List in Amman. The King asked, "What is Netanyahu trying do achieve with this action; is he trying to cause an explosion?"
The King promised to put the violence in Jerusalem on the agenda of the upcoming UN meeting.
The Palestinian news agency Ma'an went deeper when it reported on a recent paper by Nur Arafeh, a Policy Fellow of Al Shabaka the Palestinian Policy Network, entitled "In Jerusalem, 'Religious War' Is Used to Cloak Colonialism."
Nur Arafeh (above) is also a consultant at the Ibrahim Abu-Lughod Institute of International Studies at Birzeit University. The introduction to her paper warns:
"The escalating clashes between Israeli settlers and Jerusalemite Palestinians are the harbingers of a major eruption with incalculable consequences.
"Immediately billed as a "religious war" by the media and Israeli right wingers, they are in fact the outcome of longstanding Israeli plans to Judaize the city and empty it of its Palestinian inhabitants."
Nur Arafeh ends her paper with this additional warning:
"Without concerted efforts by Palestinians with Arab and international support to uphold Palestinian rights in Jerusalem, the present small fires in the city could turn into a conflagration with permanent damage to Palestinian and Arab heritage in the city and to the Palestinian Jerusalemite presence in the city of their ancestors."
A significant area of that heritage is the al-Aqsa mosque compound, which contains the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock, where, as Muslims believe, the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven.
From the Jewish religious perspective, the compound (known by Jews as the Temple Mount) is seen as a Jewish sacred site, derived from their belief that it was once the location of two ancient Jewish temples.
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