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Op-eds

Dangerous route using religion to instigate violence

  • Jeff
As part of a diplomatic arrangement with Jordan, Israel has agreed to remove the metal detectors it had installed on the Temple Mount in response to the murder of two of its border policemen.
by JEFF KATZ | Jul 27, 2017

The installation of metal detectors was used by Palestinian leaders as a pretext for creating popular anger over supposed threats to a Muslim holy site. A number of terrorist attacks have directly resulted from that incitement, most notably the murder of three Israeli Jews in their home last Shabbat and an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Amman. 

Using religion as a means of instigating violent protests and acts of terrorism, is an insidiously reckless tactic, unless the intention is to start a war. The devastating effectiveness of this was demonstrated in September 2000, when the Palestinian Authority used a visit to the Temple Mount by Ariel Sharon to launch an all-out terrorist war against the Israeli people.

The statement on the violence released by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation was a relatively encouraging one. As a matter of course, it began by endorsing to some extent the Palestinian narrative of Muslim holy sites being interfered with.

However, it went on to conclude with a balanced and sensible call on all parties not to further enflame tensions in an already dangerously volatile environment and to return to final status peace talks based on the two states for two peoples formula.

It is encouraging that our government continues to hold firm to that line, despite coming under pressure from certain quarters to adopt a far more hostile position against Israel.

Locally, there has also been a great deal of inflammatory rhetoric over the alleged “threat” to Islamic holy sites. We continue to hope that tensions in the region will start to ease, but in the meantime urge people to be extra vigilant and to report any unusual activity that comes to their attention immediately to the Community Security Organisation (CSO).  

There was justifiable outrage over the brazen display of a Nazi flag in a private home in Northcliff last week. Fortunately, the owner immediately took it down when confronted.

The Board formally approached him to remove the flag, advising him that publicly endorsing an ideology which endorses and was guilty of  genocide, violates any justification based on freedom of expression.

It is understandable that members of our community felt deeply outraged over such gestures and would want to do something about it. I would nevertheless ask that in the event of further such incidents, people refrain from taking matters into their own hands and rather pass the information on to the SAJBD and CSO to deal with.

On August 20, the Board will be holding its bienniel national conference. I will be reporting in more detail on this in my next few columns, but in the meantime, I ask you all to save the date.

 

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