Washington's alarming alliance with jihad supporters -- and how it undermines the cause against the Islamic State.
Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.
It would be interesting to know which Arab leaders are telling US Secretary of State John Kerry that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “a cause of recruitment” to Islamic State.
Is that something he is hearing from Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani? The Qatari leader, whose kingdom has been cited by the US Treasury Department as a major funder of Islamic State (IS), is certainly one of Kerry’s favorite regional leaders.
If Thani did blame Israel for the rise of IS, then his statement would constitute yet another instance of the double game Qatar has been playing with the Americans. On the one hand, the regime is financing jihad, and other the other hand, it pretends to side with the West against the jihad that it is funding.
This is certainly the case in Jerusalem.
According to an investigative report published Friday in Yisrael Hayom, Qatar is financing the violence in the capital. Veteran Jerusalem affairs reporter Nadav Shragai wrote that the Islamic rioters who daily attack Jewish visitors and police forces on the Temple Mount are paid by Qatar through the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement.
The Qatari government and other Islamic funds are transferring vast sums of money to the Islamic Movement’s radical northern branch headed by Sheikh Ra’ed Salah. The Islamic Movement in turn is paying thousands of shekels every month to hundreds of women and men, mainly Muslim Israeli citizens, who call themselves the Murbitat.
The Murbitat presents itself as an Islamic prayer group, but according to Shragai, the group’s job is to harass Jews and police on the Temple Mount. They scream and curse at Jewish visitors and in recent months have escalated their violence against them, and their police escorts. These violent attacks include assaults with rocks, firebombs and firecrackers.
To prevent the police from blocking their entry to the Mount, members of the Murbitat enter the mosques in times of relative calm and then remain there for weeks at a time. The women are used as well to smuggle firecrackers and other weaponry onto the Temple Mount by hiding them in their burkas.
In a report published Sunday by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Palestinian affairs researcher Pinchas Inbari explained the goals of the violence.
The riots and assaults on the Temple Mount have two goals. First, they aim to incite the Islamic world against Israel and return attention to the Palestinians. And second, they seek to destabilize the regimes in Egypt and Jordan.
Regarding the goal of galvanizing support for jihad by attacking Israel, Inbari recalled how immediately after longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood’s most influential cleric, Qatar-based Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, gave a speech at a mass rally in Cairo and called for the Muslims to march on Jerusalem.
The rally was organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and attended by two million people. It marked the first time that Qaradawi had returned to Egypt since he was forced to flee in the 1960s for his support for jihad.
From Doha, Qaradawi has become the most influential cleric on the regime-controlled Al Jazeera satellite network. As such, he has become the most important Islamic cleric in the Sunni Islamic world.
As Inbari noted, following his speech in Cairo Qaradawi authored a book titled Jerusalem: The Problem of Every Muslim, in which he restated his call for an Islamic conquest of the city.
Saleh, who is extremely close to Qaradawi, stated that “Jerusalem is the capital of the imminently approaching Islamic Caliphate.”
In other words, the Palestinians and their Qatari financiers are seeking to galvanize the forces of global jihad, including IS, to view the Palestinian war against Israel and the Jews as the centerpiece of the jihad.
These efforts are backed by both Fatah and Hamas, who are competing for Qatari money. Fatah chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas resonated the claims of the most radical jihadists when earlier this month he referred to Jews on the Temple Mount as “herds of cattle,” and called on Muslims to attack them for they “desecrate” the holy site simply by being there.
Doha-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal called on the Palestinians “to defend Jerusalem and al-Aksa, and on the Muslim nation to send a painful message of rage to the world.”
As to the goal of using the violence on the Temple Mount to destabilize Egypt and Jordan, Inbari noted that efforts to intensify violence in Jerusalem have grown since the Egyptian military overthrew Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in July 2013. “Presumably,” Inbari argues, “Qatar tried indirectly to help the Brotherhood in Egypt by inspiring support for them on the Jerusalem issue.”
The Jordanian regime even more acutely is threatened by the violence on the Temple Mount. Israel recognized Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount in its peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has capitalized on the violence on the Temple Mount to condemn the regime for what it claims is its failure to protect al-Aksa from the Jews.
In contending with the violence in Judaism’s holiest site, and throughout its capital city, the Israeli government is caught in a trap.
While telling their fellow Muslims that they must wage a jihad for Jerusalem, Fatah and Hamas as well as the Israeli Islamic Movement tell Western leaders that their violence against Jews in the city owes to actions that Israel has taken to safeguard the lives and civil rights of Jews.
To appease these specific purported grievances, the Palestinians demand that Israel deny protection and civil rights to Jews by among other things, denying Jews the freedom to visit the Temple Mount and denying Jews property rights in Jerusalem.
Rather than recognize that they are being played by double-speaking Palestinians and their jihadist supporters, Washington and Brussels are going along with their deceit. Both the Obama administration and the EU firmly side with the Palestinian demand that Jews be denied civil rights in Jerusalem. Both have condemned and threatened Israel for not preventing Jews from lawfully purchasing homes in Silwan and for allowing contractors to build homes for Jews in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
This places the Israeli government in an impossible position. It is being attacked by jihadist forces who seek its destruction. It is told by Washington and Europe that if it doesn’t appease those who cannot be appeased by denying protection and civil rights to Jews, then it will lose whatever is left of its good relations with the US and Europe.
And this brings us back to Kerry’s claim that Arab leaders are blaming Israel for the rise of Islamic State.
As IS forces draw closer to Baghdad and expand their control over Anbar Province in Iraq, it is becoming more and more apparent that the US-led campaign against the terrorist army is failing.
To a significant degree, Washington’s inability to forge a coherent and feasible strategy for containing and defeating IS owes to its refusal to understand the nature of the enemy and its goals.
What we see in Qatar’s financing of the violence on the Temple Mount is that the same forces that are financing IS are financing the violence against Israel.
The goal of IS is the establishment of a global Islamic empire. The first targets on its target list are Sunni Mus - lim states that oppose the Muslim Brotherhood.
The goal of the Islamic violence on the Temple Mount and throughout Jerusalem is to overthrow regional regimes that oppose the Muslim Brotherhood while igniting a pan-Islamic war against the Jewish state.
By insinuating that Israel is to blame for IS’s rise to power, Kerry was not simply blaming the victim. He was empowering the aggressor.
For the West to defeat IS, it first needs to recognize that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right when he said at the UN last month that IS and Hamas – and increasingly Qatari-financed Fatah – are “branches of the same poisonous tree.”
With his announcement Monday that the government had approved the construction of 1,250 new housing units in Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, Netanyahu showed that Israel prefers freedom and security to good relations with Washington and Brussels.
Washington and Brussels need understand that by forcing Israel to make that choice, they are hurting themselves and the cause of their own freedom and security far more than they are harming Israel.
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