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September 18, 2015

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

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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