Obama’s visit to Israel is likely to be as minimalist as possible. He will undoubtedly make a ritual stop at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, a talking point that he used effectively while debating Romney. And he will find a way to meet with the Palestinian leadership, with the exception of Hamas.
That narrows the scope of Hamas’ point scoring abilities. The Palestinian Authority is already provoking violence in the hopes of being bribed into shutting it down. That has probably already happened behind the scenes. But Hamas wants something bigger. Jerusalem.
It’s safe to say that Obama has no plans to visit the Temple Mount, a Jewish holy place relating to the Temple eras, which Muslims hijacked by putting up a mosque. No president has ever gone there and no president would for all the obvious reasons. Last time Obama stopped by the Western Wall of the former Temple. He probably won’t even do that this time.
That is why Hamas is pushing the rumor that Obama does plan to go to the Temple Mount and threatening violence if he does.
If that sounds confusing, welcome to the Middle East.
Hamas needs to throw its weight around. It needs to humiliate America. Muslim countries often pull off ritual humiliations like these without Americans ever being the wiser.
The complete unlikeliness of Obama going to the Temple Mount, in the real world, makes it a perfect piece of propaganda that will allow Hamas to claim that it kept Obama from going to the Temple Mount.
Hamas wouldn’t be able to get away with it if Obama hadn’t shown so much weakness as to create the impression that he can be easily pushed around. Since he did, Hamas can score easy points by claiming to have stopped Obama from doing what he wasn’t going to do anyway.
Of course Hamas isn’t the only group or individual who pulls stunts like that with Obama.
Just about anyone can do it these days.