An atmosphere of fantasy pervaded US President Barack Obama's Middle East peace processor George Mitchell's meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday. In separate photo opportunities, Mitchell stood next to President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and pledged to surmount all obstacles to achieve peace not only between Israel and the Palestinians but between Israel and Syria and Lebanon and with the whole Arab world.
Mitchell's remarks were even more stunning than similar statements from him during previous visits, because this week the Palestinians launched their newest terror campaign against Israel. Like previous rounds of Palestinian terror against Jews beginning in 1929, the latest round has been precipitated by wholly fabricated claims by Muslim leaders that Israel is asserting Jewish rights to the Temple Mount - Judaism's most sacred site - and so endangering the Muslim claim to the sole right to worship at the site that was never even mentioned in the Koran.
Beginning last week, convicted felon Raed Salah - who served a prison sentence for his Israeli Islamic Movement's northern branch's financial and other ties to Hamas - began inciting Israeli and Palestinian Muslim worshipers to make war against Israel. As he does every few months, Salah claimed falsely that Jews were committing the unforgivable "crime" of seeking to worship on the Temple Mount during Succot. Succot, which we observed this past week, is of course one of the three harvest festivals in which Jews are commanded to go up to the Temple Mount. This time, Salah's lies were accompanied by similar ones from Hamas leaders and Fatah leaders alike.
As is their standard practice, Palestinian leaders used known euphemisms in their declarations of war. Rather than openly call for Jews to be slaughtered, they called on Muslims to defend the Temple Mount from fictional Jewish assault. Wheelbarrows of rocks were found stockpiled on the Temple Mount on Monday. The rocks made clear the intention of Muslim leaders to reenact the 1990 stoning of Jewish Succot worshipers at the Western Wall. That Muslim assault precipitated a steep increase in Palestinian terror during the months that followed.
This week's riots similarly recall the 1996 Palestinian onslaught. That aggression was justified by the false Palestinian allegation that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to open the Western Wall archeological tunnel was part of a secret plot to dislodge the Aksa Mosque. Yasser Arafat used his manufactured libel as an excuse to order his US-trained and Israeli-armed Palestinian security forces to open fire at IDF soldiers. In the violence that followed some 15 soldiers were killed.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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