Aqsa Crisis: PM Netanyahu wants Israeli Forces to use Live Fire against Rock Throwing Demonstrators

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Thousands of demonstrators came out in Jordan on Friday to protest what appears to be a new Israeli assertion of authority over Muslim sacred space in Jerusalem, which includes the third holiest place in the world for Muslims, the al-Aqsa mosque complex. King Abdullah II of Jordan, who is formally responsible for the Muslim shrines, has formally protested to Israel over the Israeli troops taking over al-Aqsa. The protesters included both members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and Jordanians loyal to the king; Israel’s actions have put the monarchy in a bad light, since Amman has a peace treaty with Israel. Throughout the West Bank, tensions ran high at Friday prayers, as Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from entering the old city and forbade men over 40 years of age to pray at al-Aqsa mosque, which is described in the Arab press as virtually an Israeli military garrison.

There has been an increase in Jewish visitors to what they call the temple mount during the High Holy Days (Tuesday was Rosh ha-Shanah, the New Year), since it was the site of a long-since destroyed Jewish temple in late antiquity. Muslim volunteers, “Murabitun,” to safeguard the Muslim sacred space have been expelled by Israeli forces. The al-Aqsa complex is government by international agreements, the “Status Quo,” which Israeli authorities deny having altered.

As part of this assertiveness and to prevent effective Palestinian protests against the apparent encroachments, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced that he wants to authorize Israeli forces to use live fire against Palestinian rock-throwing demonstrators. (Most such rock throwers are children and teenagers). He and his cabinet also want to give rock throwers long prison sentences and to demolish their family homes.

Using live fire against unarmed protesters throwing stones is a violation of the principle of proportionality in international law, to say the least. It is also a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention on the treatment of occupied populations by the occupying authorities (Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967 and illegally annexed portions of the West Bank to the Israeli district of Jerusalem).

Since the first Palestinian uprising or Intifada of the late 1980s, rock-throwing has been a common form of protest in the Palestinian West Bank against steady Israeli theft of their land and resources. It has been above all a favored form of protest for children and teenagers, with mothers often carrying out the task of breaking larger stones into smaller ones for throwing. Israeli forces and Israeli squatters have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinian children since the year 2000, and that number will skyrocket under Netanyahu’s new procedures.

In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has also been protesting Israeli troops at al-Aqsa with demonstrations in at least Cairo and Alexandria, after a period in which it was quiescent after the overthrow of its president, Mohammed Morsi. The United Nations Security Council and French President Francois Hollande have expressed fears that Israeli aggressiveness at al-Aqsa will further destabilize the Middle East.

Related video added by Juan Cole:

AFP: “Envoy: UN ‘concerned about the provocations’ in Jerusalem”

10 Responses

  1. I really hate to take the bait and respond, but encouraging the world to tune-out and let them have their way is clearly what Israel is seeking and part of their plan.

    Note two things:

    One is how Israeli actions along these lines are modulated, ebbing and flowing depending on world attention at the moment. It is not unlike the way a Boa Constrictor will pause to wait for its victim to relax just a bit before reasserting itself.

    The second is deployment of the magic word terrorismâ„¢, which you can count on being used to shut up third parties, like this website, when Israel shortly (and predictably) begins to actively target and kill the rock throwers.

    If you haven’t been listening critically to the background noise, there have been a series of semi-subtle Israeli government statements recently in preparation for “defending” themselves against such resisters. You have to admit, blaming it on terrorismâ„¢ should work, in that it obviates the need for any sort of proportionality and due process (what? against terrorists?)

    Like I said, the strategy, as it were, is to get people like readers here to tune-out in disgust, or otherwise “just get used to it.” Another contributor here once used that phrase in reference to Arabs/Palestinians coming to accept the Israeli presence, as though that were all there were to it. It strikes me this is now a well-rehearsed general purpose line we can also expect to hear a lot more of.

    Lie, Distort, Smear, Conquer; Squeeze and Repeat.

  2. This looks as a very dangerous incendiary event; a ME tragedy and also an American tragedy because we do not stop fueling the conflict.

  3. Is Netanyahu unaware of the Rapture / Last Days/ Final Battle prophecies espoused by his Evangelical conservative American Friends?

    • I expect Netanyahu is well aware of the US evangelicals’ Rapture fantasies, and is exploiting them. (As to humans intentionally acting in a way as to cause the End Times to occur – would an all-knowing, all-powerful Supreme Being really be so easily manipulated?)

    • You hit the nail right on the head.

      Pastor John Hagee of Texas, a Baptist, is one of America’s most influential Christian Zionists, who has been a personal friend of every Israeli prime minister since Menachem Begin.

      In one of his books, he has predicted that the Israeli actions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque will culminate in its eventual demolition so the Third Temple may be built – thus causing a cataclysmic future war which will usher in the Second Coming.

      Hagee’s controversial positions are not only well known by Israeli Jewry – but by Palestinians as well, who denounce his activities as cynical and with no actual concern for either Jews or Arabs.

      The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem has denounced Christian Zionism as a false teaching.

      The “Friends” (Quakers), however, have been generally pro-Palestinian, and have sponsored educational institutions for Arabs in the West Bank dating back to the 1870s.

  4. It’s incredible how our MSM ignores this story completely. It only reports on Israel’s response to ‘terrorist’ attasks, like the rockets from Gaza. It’ll only change when the U.S. (and Israel) get more and more isolated. A good start would be Corbyn becoming PM In the UK!

  5. The US finally achieved its insane goal of making Saudi Arabia and Israel the co-suzerains of the Middle East, only to find that they have amassed so much power along the way that they now give orders to Washington instead of vice versa.

    But how long will this alliance, equal in its cynicism to the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, survive? Consider that Richard Clarke accused the Saudis of attempting to build a copy of a Chinese IRBM base in 1986, presumably with nuclear missiles in transit stopped by Reagan’s intervention. Consider that the Saud family’s thin claim to legitimate rule is based on their ancient title as the protectors of Mecca and Medina. The King of Jordan has that role for Jerusalem, Holy City #3. Consider that while both the Sauds and Israelis have been accused of aiding ISIS, there’s no sign where ISIS will stop its ambitions, and Israel has destabilized the countries that would have shielded it from ISIS’ unorthodox methods.

    I think one of these allies is planning to betray the other. Maybe both. The Saudis want nukes. The Israelis want to provoke whatever war will allow them to ethnically cleanse the Occupied Territories.

    I fear Israel WANTS the Palestinians so desperate that they will turn to ISIS, which is hated by the entire world. That becomes the justification for wiping them out. But doing that by destroying al-Aqsa will doom the Jordanian monarchy and who is left to take over there but ISIS? The Saudis seem to be all for ISIS conquering Lebanon and Syria. Even an incompetent, suicidal ISIS can win in those countries once they’re in ruins. And Israel can’t deport the Palestinians anywhere else.

    So either Israeli troops must occupy those ruins to make sure the deportees don’t acquire the means for revenge, or something much worse: Israel is looking to engineer an ISIS caliphate full of Palestinians for the precise and sole purpose of annihilating it with nuclear weapons.

    That would be a really bad time to find out that the Saudis actually have their own secret nuclear arsenal.

  6. I would like to see a journalist with enough courage and ethics to ask Hillary, Fiorina, Trump, Biden, Cruz, Rubio, in short anyone of the candidates where it is they would stop draw the line with Israel?
    American governments never put a stop of support to Israelis no matter how brutal, inhumane, and criminal they acted.
    They have made the nation support war crimes, where is the limit?

    Journalists accept the most obvious lies from Israeli officials when they interview them on live tv, they never have follow up questions no matter what.

    Do the journalists really believe what they say or do they just pretend in order to keep their jobs?

  7. Sounds like another typical Israeli overreaction. Force (often lethal) is invariably the first choice. It won’t help their diminishing image in the rest of the world though.

    As for being in violation of international law, they have been there since at least 1967, and as of yet they have serious paid no price for it.

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