Alternative Insight

Illogical and Irrational
The Route of the Middle East Crisis

Although ongoing killing of Israelis and substantially greater numbers of killing and wounding of Palestinians are due to the Palestinian struggle for justice and independence, each happening is viewed by United States administrations as an isolated dispute that should be uniquely resolved. Secretary of State John Kerry seems to be unaware that the October 2015 deadly actions, which evolved from Palestinian perception that Israeli is attempting to change the status quo on what the Muslims designate as the Haram al-Sharif, have antecedents. Israel's actions are part of a long time plan that is deliberate, and its statements to the contrary are suspect. Proceeding from the illogical, U.S. administrations perform the irrational and aggravate the Middle East crisis.

Israeli behavior, such as having multitudes congregate during Jewish religious holidays on what the Jews designate as the Temple Mount, and offers by The Jewish Temple Institute of 2,000 Shekels to Jews who defy the ban on worship on the holy site (, clearly demonstrate Israel's intention to challenge the authority of the Islamic body (Waqf) in its control of the Haram al-Sharif. That control dates back to 1187 A.D. Defiantly, the Palestinians have opened their own challenge to Israel's control of the Western Wall. A draft UNESCO resolution, which declared that the Western Wall in Jerusalem belongs to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, has been sidetracked. Too bad, the resolution is actually the key to understanding the strife and a clue to resolving an 87 year old problem.

The original problem
On September 24, 1928, the Jewish Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement, British police enforced a 1922 British Mandatory Authority in Palestine order that forbade the placing of benches or chairs near the Western Wall. Police forcibly removed a screen used to separate men and women at prayer, beat women who tried to prevent the screen being dismantled and removed chairs used by worshipers.

British Commissioner Edward Keith-Roach, responding to a complaint from the Supreme Muslim Council that was concerned Jews were trying to extend their rights at the wall as a first step in taking possession of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed that installation of the screens violated the Ottoman status quo that forbade Jews from making any construction in the Western Wall area

Here we have the start of what is considered a recent dispute. The immigrant Zionists, who wanted the world to recognize the their interpretation and significance of the British Balfour Declaration, refused to obey a simple British order during England's governing of Palestine. The Palestinians were sufficiently perceptive to realize that a small Zionist maneuver could lead to increased maneuvers. Naturally, the illogical led to the irrational.

Kassim, Anis F. (1998) in a "Special Report". The Palestine Yearbook of International Law 1996-1997. Martinus Nijhoff. pp. g.375 writes that the Jewish National Council sought to relieve Muslim fears by stating, "We herewith declare emphatically and sincerely that no Jew has ever thought of encroaching upon the rights of Moslems over their own Holy places, but our Arab brethren should also recognise the rights of Jews in regard to the places in Palestine which are holy to them." Ovendale, Ritchie (2004). In "British Paramountcy over Arabs and Zionists". The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Wars. Pearson Education. pp. g.71, adds that a committee also demanded that the British administration expropriate the wall for the Jews.

Soon the irrational occurred. As described by Wikipedia.

On August 14, 1929, after attacks on individual Jews praying at the Wall, 6,000 Jews demonstrated in Tel Aviv, shouting "The Wall is ours." The next day, the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av, 300 youths raised the Zionist flag and sang Hatikva at the Wall. The day after, on August 16, an organized mob of 2,000 Muslim Arabs descended on the Western Wall, injuring the beadle and burning prayer books, liturgical fixtures and notes of supplication. The rioting spread to the Jewish commercial area of town, and was followed a few days later by the Hebron massacre; 133 Jews were killed and 339 injured in the Arab riots, and in the subsequent process of quelling the riots 110 Arabs were killed by British police.

In both Safed and Hebron, Palestinian rioters claimed that their attacks had been aimed at recent immigrants and not at the traditional Jewish communities.

Philip Mattar, "The Role of the Mufti of Jerusalem in the Political Struggle over the Western Wall, 1928-29," Middle Eastern Studies 19, no. 1(Jan. 1983), p. 105, clarifies the reasons that Muslims contested any Jewish attempt to modify the area around the Western Wall.

The Muslims feared that if they acquiesced, the pavement would become an open synagogue and, therefore, a Jewish possession. The Jews would then be able to restrict the use of the pavement, which for some Muslims was the only access to their houses, and for most was part of the Haram. So the Muslims usually protested against Jewish innovations, and the Ottomans upheld the status quo.

Despite the previous statement of the Jewish National Council, the Muslim fears proved correct, except that they have not been denied access to their houses; they have been denied their homes, which were demolished, with Arab woman, Rasmiya Abu Aghayl, buried under the demolition.

On the night of June 10, 1967,the last day of the 6-Day war, before peace initiatives were determined and border demarcations were set, Israeli bulldozers demolished homes of approximately 650 people and 100 families in the Harat al-Magharibah (the Moroccan Quarter), a zone of Jerusalem dedicated to house Moroccan pilgrims, and close to the Western Wall. Residents were given a few hours notice to vacate their homes. Preparation of the area for a Jewish celebration came before the lives of the Arab inhabitants.

In addition to creating the human catastrophe, the Zionists intentionally destroyed significant historical and culture structures erected previously during the eras of the 12th century Ayyubids and 15th century Mamluks. These included the Sheikh Eid Mosque and the Bou Medyan zouia (religious school).

The1929 tragedy, which resulted in killings of Jews, arose from an apparent provocation and a sense of desperation by the indigenous Palestinians; the 2015 tragedy, which resulted in killings of Jews, arose from a similar provocation and a similar sense of desperation by the indigenous Palestinians. The illogical again led to the irrational. In both cases, the Jews could predict the outcome -- nothing temporarily changed and unnecessary deaths of Jews and Palestinians. One difference between the incidents in the two eras is that the later provocation seems more planned than spontaneous. Israel has used the attacks against its Jewish citizens to increase its oppression of the Palestinian people.

Until October 31, reports have 11 Israelis killed in attacks compared to 66 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire. Palestinian medical sources include about 300 Palestinians wounded and 1000 detained. Israel police have used concrete barriers to seal off the entrances to the Palestinian Jabel Mukaber neighborhood in East Jerusalem and the Israeli military have" barred Palestinians who do not live in a particularly tense part of the West Bank city of Hebron from entering the area, and, according to local residents, the move prevented young men from visiting an Islamic shrine nearby." As usual, despite the Israeli provocation, Israel wins the violence battle, the media battle and the strategic battle. Debts to the Palestinians are turned into assets for the Israelis.

All this mayhem is due to the illogical, which is obvious to anyone who ponders the irrational reasons for Israel's presence at the Western Wall and its constant references to the significance of the vanished Temple, which is actually an atavistic shrine, representing a return to a confused and rejected ancestral worship that conflicts with modern Judaism.

Why is the Western Wall, whenever it is mentioned, linked with the phrase, "the holiest site in all Judaism," when the wall was not a holy site during ancient times and certainly not considered until more modern times as "the holiest site in all Judaism"?

The Israel newspaper Haaretz, Prayers, notes and controversy: How a wall became the Western wall,
reports of the contrived manner in which an ancient supporting wall from Herod's time, which did not hear worshippers, became a place of prayer for Jews in the 16th century after Muslim authorities formally permitted Jews a safe place for worship, and suddenly morphed into "the most revered site in Judaism," during early modern times..

The development of the Western Wall as a site for worship during the past 100 years is connected to the building of the adjacent Jewish neighborhood - the Old City's Jewish Quarter - and with the fact that this was the piece of the Temple Mount's retaining wall that was closest to it. Jewish Quarter residents had convenient access to it, whereas other parts of the wall were inaccessible or even outside the city limits.

The custom today of placing notes among the stones of the Wall apparently was imported from Europe in the 19th century. Special scribes would help those who needed to write their notes in Hebrew, and then they were placed in the cracks between the stones. At regular intervals, the notes would be removed, gathered in a sack and buried in synagogue genizahs.

According to comparative religion writer, Karen Armstrong, in her book Jerusalem, there may have been no more than 70 Jewish families in Jerusalem during the time of the 16th Ottoman edict that allowed Jews a place to worship within Jerusalem. Are we to believe that at a time when there were hundreds of grandiose, and well attended synagogues throughout the globe, that 70 unknown families determined the holiest site in the Jewish world of millions of souls? Questionable and bothersome is why Israeli authorities recommend praying in the open, where worshippers are subject to rain and cold, and when nearby synagogues are available for individual prayer. The carnival aspect, where tourists come to gape at and take pictures of the strangely attired orthodox Jews on hot days, make a mockery of Judaism, and turn silent prayer into spectacle. Obviously religious observance does not command the control of the Western Wall; politics and tourist shekels play a greater role.

Focusing on a temple that does not exist and daily becomes more questionable to its actuality and location is more perplexing? Except for a few, very few, written observations of the Temple, no accepted historical or archaeological evidence is available to prove a Temple functioned in any place on what the Jews call the Temple Mount.

Even if the Temple existed, what relation does any living person today have with its 2000 years of physical disappearance? Are Druids who believe in the solar Temples, Assyrians who have remains of their religious sites in the Fertile Crescent and Mayans who can point to resurrected Temples, asking to have their Temples rebuilt or reconditioned for them on lands now owned by others? Devotees to previous aspects of their religion do not pursue revival because they realize that their earlier beliefs have been replaced by modern concepts and are atavistic elements detrimental to their own survival. The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement, dedicated to erect a Third Temple on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, must realize the 1st century cannot be transferred to the 21st century, but disregard for all those who are not a part of their limited ethnicity drives them to ruin the world about them.

What purpose will a new Temple serve?
The Hebrew era Temples functioned with an administration of Priests, supposedly all descendants from the tribe of Levi. The Priests officiated at the altar, slaughtered sacrificial animals, and even cooked and dispersed them among the faithful. Priests, at times, communicated the law, adjudicated legal matters and collected tithes. They maintained the Temple and blew the trumpet on festive occasions. A High Priest, originally descended from Moses brother, Aaron, but later appointed by rulers, had entry to the inner sanctuary, the holy of the holies, which supposedly contained the Ark of the Covenant. Will anyone applying for a Priest position be able to supply the verified documents? Will it be possible to fulfill the High Priest position? Will an Indiana Jones have to locate the Ark of the Covenant?

Jews around the world had ample opportunities to revive the Temple rituals but all eschewed them for simple reasons - the rituals are archaic, the Priests are anathema and the laws of the written Talmud are more definite than the oratory from the priests. Rabbinic law, as framed in the Babylonian Talmud by Rabbis and not Temple rituals and the limited Torah as framed by Priests, guides modern Judaism. Freed from a place, Jews had places to think.

Rebuilding the Temple will only bring Judaism to a backward era and divide the faithful into what previously tore them apart, division between strict belief in oral and codified law (Pharisees or every day Jews), Temple rituals (Sadducees or priestly class) and disgust with the others (Essenes who lived an ascetic life). If The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement accomplish its mission, France might have to return Versailles to the Bourbons, Southern Spain should be given back to the Arabs, and the reclaim by the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul will have legs.

Memory of what happened after a few, very few, of Israel's Jews muscled in to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron should be sufficient to halt any entry of the Israelis into sharing the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount -- American-born Israeli Baruch Goldstein, a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, killed 29 worshippers and wounded 125 inside the Ibrahimi Mosque. Subsequently, members adhering to the aims of the same movement, although declared illegal and with its leaders under indictment, took over and forced innocent Palestinians out of Hebron's ancient and previously peaceful and colorful ancient quarter. The perpetrators were rewarded, the victims were dislocated, and Hebron's peaceful and colorful ancient quarter became an ugly mess.

This type of deception characterizes Israel's everyday attitude toward the Palestinians -- a pattern of provocations leading to tens of war crimes and thousands of civil crimes committed in full view against the Palestinians and excused by U.S. administrations as isolated disputes that should be uniquely resolved.

The real Palestinians with identifiable prominent institutions from ancient Jerusalem are in a "lose-lose" situation; if they do nothing, the Israelis will peacefully advance in their takeover of Palestinian lands; if they react the Israelis will accuse them of terrorism and violently expropriate their lands.

The put together Israelis with no existing prominent institutions from ancient Jerusalem are in a "win-win" situation; if they do nothing they will have what they have already stolen; if they act, they have not much problem in gaining more.

The U.S., acting from unconscious strategies rather than from creative insight does not realize that the preferred policy to assure an end to the crisis is to assure that the Palestinians are placed in a "win-win" situation. Each Israeli aggressive advance is a loss to world peace and stability.

november 3, 2015


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