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September 18, 2015 0

Violence on the Temple Mount in the Arab Media

For the past cou­ple of months, the Tem­ple Mount has been the focus of con­fronta­tions between Mus­lim wor­shipers and Jew­ish vis­i­tors. Encour­aged by anti-Semitic invec­tive in pub­lic state­ments by Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas, in recent days this has esca­lated to vio­lence by Mus­lim wor­shipers who have hurled stones, fire­works and metal bars at Israeli secu­rity forces. The Mount is the holi­est site for Jews, and the third holi­est Mus­lim site (after Mecca and Med­ina) known as Al-Haram Ash-Sharif. The respon­si­bil­ity for the Tem­ple Mount is shared by Israel, which has sov­er­eignty over the site, and Jor­dan, whose Cus­to­dian Min­istry has man­aged the site since the 1994 peace treaty between Jor­dan and Israel.

The ongo­ing tur­moil on the Tem­ple Mount has esca­lated partly in reac­tion to an increase in Jew­ish vis­i­ta­tion to the site and to highly politi­cized efforts by some Israeli politi­cians agi­tat­ing to change the sta­tus quo and allow Jews to pray on the Mount (which is for­bid­den by the agree­ment with Jor­dan). In spite of these devel­op­ments, noth­ing jus­ti­fies the extreme reac­tion and vio­lence on the part of the Palestinians.

In recent years, events on the Tem­ple Mount have caused ten­sions between Jerusalem and Amman, which resulted in the recall­ing of the Jor­dan­ian ambas­sador to Israel and  pop­ulist calls within Jor­dan to expel the Israeli ambas­sador to Amman. The Jor­da­ni­ans claim Israel is attempt­ing to change the status-quo on the Tem­ple Mount by “Judaiz­ing” the site. In response, an ini­tia­tive was launched by the North­ern Branch of the Islamic Move­ment (Israel) called the Murabitat/Murabitun — a civil protest group whose goal is to pro­voke Jew­ish vis­i­tors to the Tem­ple Mount. Their sig­nif­i­cance is mainly sym­bolic in that they peace­fully demon­strate Mus­lim pres­ence on the Tem­ple Mount. Their name, derived from the Ara­bic root Rabata mean­ing “to sta­tion and stay in place”, tes­ti­fies to their defi­ance against the Israeli sovereignty.

The charge that Israel is con­spir­ing to take over the site has been a con­stant in Arab media for years, par­tic­u­larly in car­toons pub­lished in Arab news­pa­pers and web­site.   Pales­tin­ian Author­ity lead­ers often issue incen­di­ary state­ments alleg­ing nefar­i­ous Israeli action, while also dimin­ish­ing or even refut­ing the Jew­ish con­nec­tion to Jerusalem. Yet the imagery and lan­guage used in recent weeks rep­re­sents an esca­la­tion of ten­sions over the Tem­ple Mount. In an inter­view ear­lier this week with Pales­tin­ian TV and Sky News in Ara­bic, Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Abbas accused Jews of defil­ing the Tem­ple Mount: “Al-Aqsa is ours, the Church of the Holy Sep­ul­cher is ours, it is all ours. They have no right to defile them with their filthy feet, and we will not allow them,” he said.

There have also been a num­ber of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel car­toons pub­lished which depict Israel as ani­mals attempt­ing to devour Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the invo­ca­tion of clas­sic anti-Semitic stereo­types of Jews as thieves and using money to Judaize Jerusalem.

Here are some examples:

A car­toon pub­lished on Sep­tem­ber 14th in the Pales­tin­ian Authority’s Al-Quds news­pa­per depicts Israel as an alli­ga­tor attempt­ing to devour Jerusalem, rep­re­sented by a woman, while a fig­ure rep­re­sent­ing the Arab World says “We express our concern”.

alligatorAnother pub­lished on Sep­tem­ber 14th in Jordan’s Al-Ghad, shows Jerusalem being devoured by a giant bird rep­re­sent­ing Israel.

birdA car­toon pub­lished on Sep­tem­ber 12th in Qatar’s Ar-Raya news­pa­per, implies that Jews use money to Judaize Jerusalem.

Writ­ten on the right: “Rich Zion­ists’ expen­di­tures.” Writ­ten on the left: “Rich Mus­lims’ expenditures.”

money in hatOn Twit­ter, under the hash­tag of #al-aqsaisindanger, a car­toon was pub­lished on Sep­tem­ber 15th depict­ing a Jew steal­ing the Mosque behind the back of the Arab World. The cartoon’s head­line: “The Israeli Mil­i­tary Rab­binate Pub­lished Pic­tures of Al-Aqsa Mosque with­out the Dome of the Rock”. And as the Jew is steal­ing the Mosque, the Arab fig­ure is say­ing: “Don’t be afraid, we have the orig­i­nal picture!”

stealing temple mountUnder the same hash­tag, another car­toon was pub­lished show­ing Israel steal­ing Al-Aqsa Mosque under a US umbrella.

stealing temple mount2Other hash­tags include #alaq­sais­burn­ing and #shall­notbe­di­vided (refer­ring to an ini­tia­tive to divide the time and place of the Tem­ple Mount between Jew­ish and Mus­lim worshipers).

Some car­toons described ways in which Al-Aqsa is vic­tim­ized by Israel, includ­ing one car­toon pub­lished (Sep. 16) in Jordan’s Ammon news site, which shows the bleed­ing Mosque sawed in two by Israeli sol­diers, under the title “Storm­ing the Tem­ple Mount.”

cutting up JM

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January 30, 2014 0

The Media’s Coverage of Palestinian Incitement Towards Israel

Recently, the New York Times ran an infor­ma­tive piece on the pro­lif­er­a­tion of Hamas train­ing camps in Gaza, where impres­sion­able Pales­tin­ian teens are taught to hate Israel through par­tic­i­pa­tion in military-style boot camps, where they are trained to fire guns and build bombs in order to attack the Jew­ish State.

While the arti­cle itself was inter­est­ing, the tim­ing seemed to sug­gest that Pales­tin­ian incite­ment was some­thing of a new phe­nom­e­non. The real­ity is that this type of vio­lent indoc­tri­na­tion equip­ping chil­dren with the skills and moti­va­tion to kill Israelis, as well as other forms of Pales­tin­ian incite­ment, are noth­ing new.

A recent Israeli gov­ern­ment report high­lights how Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials, media out­lets and edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions are engaged in an ongo­ing incite­ment cam­paign towards Israel. Hitler is quoted on school Face­book pages, Jews are described on TV as “bar­baric mon­keys” and the “mur­ders of Mohammed,” and Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Abbas has repeat­edly embraced released Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists as “heroes.”

Per­haps one of the most infa­mous instances of Pales­tin­ian incite­ment occurred in 2007 with Mickey Mouse “Far­four” episode, where Mickey was shown on Hamas TV being beaten to death by an actor pos­ing as an Israeli agent try­ing to buy land. Young view­ers of the TV pro­gram were than told that “Far­four was mar­tyred while defend­ing his land” and was killed “by the killers of chil­dren.” The Hamas TV episode was so hor­rific it even mer­ited a spot on The Daily Show.

With Israel and the Pales­tini­ans cur­rently engaged in an intense and pro­tracted period of nego­ti­a­tions over the poten­tial for a future Pales­tin­ian state, the need to high­light and coun­ter­act the dan­gers of incite­ment is even more press­ing. The issue has been repeat­edly raised in recent weeks by Israeli polit­i­cal lead­ers in meet­ings with inter­na­tional lead­ers, pub­lic speeches and other forums, but hasn’t received as much inter­na­tional media atten­tion as it should.

In order for peace to be achieved, the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity must end the incite­ment cam­paign against Israel. It is the task of respon­si­ble media out­lets to con­tinue to draw atten­tion to the issue, and not allow incite­ment to con­tinue exist­ing under the surface.


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