(Written in October 2000)

It was the time of the Jewish High Holidays. Local leaders, politically and emotionally supported by nearly 130,000 of their fellow residents, had been threatening for months that the visit would inflame passions and lead to violence, this despite the fact that the situs of the visit was public property. The government, refusing to be cowed by threats of violence and believing that it was legally obligated to enforce the newcomers' right of free access, dispatched 1000 soldiers to escort and ensure the safety of the small group amid the howling mob. In the aftermath of the visit, violence ensued, not only there but, eventually, throughout the entire country.

The September 28, 2000 visit to Jerusalem's Temple Mount by Likud leader Ariel Sharon and a small group of fellow Knesset members? No. I speak of the September 25, 1957 visit to Little Rock, Arkansas' Central High School by nine black students who were exercising their controversial legal right to gain entrance to an all-white school.

It is inconceivable that, Today, anyone would accuse these law-abiding youngsters of "provocation" and thereby blame them for igniting the violence perpetrated by The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups in the wake of, and in reaction to, that tension-filled visit. But, curiously, that is precisely the stance adopted by most of the media as a justification for the bloody jihad launched by tens of thousands of Arabs (many of them Israeli citizens) in reaction to the peaceful visit of Jewish parliamentarians to Judaism's holiest spot on Earth just before this Rosh HaShana. The entire Temple Mount complex is under Israeli sovereignty, and the broad plaza area visited by Sharon has always been open to the public -- even Jews. Whether Sharon's visit there was motivated by political calculation or religious fervor matters little. In neither case do Jews forfeit life or limb merely because unquenchable rage has gripped the "Arab street". That the media can portray such Arab anger as a "natural" reaction to Jewish "provocation" betrays a racist undercurrent which sees Arabs as Pavlovian creatures automatically and unerringly responding to irresistible stimuli.

Notwithstanding the romanticism associated with cheering for the martial underdog, the Arabs are not rendered virtuous by their persistence in attacking Jewish soldiers and civilians; nor does the fact that they have been suffering almost all of the casualties in this war convert them from aggressors into victims. The World, horrified that Israel is deploying tanks and attack helicopters against a nascent Arab army using only rocks, firebombs and automatic weapons, may prefer to see a "fair" fight, but Israel's moral obligation -- and its raison d'ętre -- is to protect Jewish lives, even if that requires it to dispense with Arab ones.

© Mark Rosenblit

[Note: Since this essay's publication, the "Palestinian" army has added mortars, anti-tank missiles, rockets and suicide bombers to its arsenal; and Jewish casualties have consequently accelerated exponentially. Moreover, Today, virtually no Arab spokesman still persists in asserting that the reason for the accelerated stream of anti-Jewish violence which commenced on Rosh HaShana 2000 (and which continues to this very Day) was Ariel Sharon's routine visit to the broad plaza atop the Temple Mount. Instead, the official reason for this jihad is now declared to be the continued existence of "The Occupation" -- this despite the fact that, since the end of 1995, 98% of the Arab residents of the "Occupied Territories" have been ruled, not by Israel, but rather by Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority, and further despite the fact that, by refusing, in favor of continued jihad, former U.S. President William Clinton's December 2000 improvement of Israel's rejected July 2000 Camp David proposal for the creation of a "Palestinian" state, the Palestinian Authority has itself caused the continuation of "The Occupation" from and after July 2000, and certainly from and after December 2000. In fact, it is now openly acknowledged by Palestinian Authority officials (such as Palestinian Authority Communications Minister Imad Faluji in a speech given in Ein Al-Hilweh, Lebanon on March 3, 2001) that this jihad did not even erupt spontaneously, but rather as a result of meticulous planning which took place immediately after the Palestinian Authority rejected Israel's July 2000 Camp David proposal -- this being several months' prior to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount. However, although the gun was loaded and ready for firing in July 2000, an appropriate "provocation" was required in order to manufacture an internationally acceptable "justification" for pulling its trigger. Sharon's visit in September 2000 was merely that convenient "provocation".

Below is Imad Faluji’s statement to Lebanon’s Al-Safir newspaper on March 3, 2001:

"Whoever thinks that the intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon's visit to the Aksa Mosque is wrong. This intifada was planned in advance, ever since President Arafat's return from the Camp David negotiations, where he turned the table upside down on President Clinton."

Also below is the statement of Marwan Barghouti, who is a leader of al-Fatah (which is the backbone of the Palestine Liberation Organization and which also controls the Palestinian Authority) and is the founder of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigrades terror group, to the “Palestinian” Jerusalem Times newspaper on June 8, 2001:

"The intifada did not start because of Sharon's visit to al-Aksa. The intifada began because the Palestinians did not approve of the peace process in its previous form."

-- Mark Rosenblit, May 2002]



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