It is amply clear that the chances for a new intifada are now greater than ever before in light of the deep anger and indignation generated among most Palestinians by Israeli provocations and crimes.
By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Palestine
Palestinians, especially youngsters, are taking to the streets in large numbers to protest increasingly determined efforts by Jewish fanatics to take over or demolish al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam.
A number of protesters, including a child, have been shot dead by trigger-happy Israeli soldiers, instructed by the Israeli government to shoot to kill even peaceful protesters.
According to eyewitnesses, Abdul Rahman Ubaydullah, 12, was shot dead early Tuesday by an Israeli sniper as he was playing outside his home at the Ayda refugee camp near Bethlehem.
Israel murdered thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of children, in three devastating wars on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9, 2012, and 2014.
On Monday, another Palestinian youngster named Huthayfa Suleiman was shot dead at the Shweika neighborhood near the town of Tulkarem, in the northern West Bank.
Palestinian medical sources have reported that as many as 600 protesters were injured in the last three days, 300 by rubber-coated bullets, and the rest as a result of suffocation from tear-gas inhalation.
The hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed to take “harsh” measures against “rioters.”
The measures include instructions to kill stone-throwers, and demolish the family homes of Palestinians accused of killing Israeli settlers as well as imposing hefty fines on their families.
The measures seem to represent a stark contrast to the extremely lenient measures adopted against Jewish terrorists responsible for murdering Palestinians.
Nearly two months ago, Jewish terrorists burned alive an entire Palestinian family at the village of Duma near Nablus in the northern West Bank.
The father, mother and a small toddler succumbed to their massive burns while a second and only remaining child of the family is still fighting for his life in hospital.
Israel vowed to catch the perpetrators. However, two months after the ugly incident, none of the murderers has been apprehended.
It is widely believed that the Israeli security agencies as well as justice system are reluctant to pursue the Talmudic settler terrorists who are backed by powerful political figures as and top-ranking army officers.
The Israeli justice system, which is rife with right-wing judges sympathetic to the terrorists, often treats Jewish suspects as “innocent even if proven guilty,” using the words of Israeli peace activist.
Al-Aqsa, the epicenter
The main reason behind current Palestinian protests is the recurrent and increasingly bold Jewish attempts to take over the Aqsa Mosque from Muslim hands in order to build on its site a Jewish temple.
Messianic Jewish groups, backed by powerful parties within the coalition government led by Netanyahu have been storming the Islamic sanctuary, nearly on a daily basis, under the protection of the Israeli security forces.
Muslims who tried to defend the sanctity of the place were severely beaten, shot at, or arrested and given hefty fines.
On Monday, crack Israeli soldiers expelled Muslim worshipers from the place.
Messianic Jews believe that the destruction of the Aqsa Mosque and building a Talmudic temple on its site would usher in the beginning of the so-called “redemption age” and appearance of a Jewish Messiah or redeemer, who will bring salvation for Jews and establish a world-wide Jewish empire.
Some Jewish circles, including religious Zionists, whose main political arm, ha-Bayt ha Yehudi, (Jewish home), is the second largest party in the current Israeli government, believe that bloodshed and violence on a very large scale must precede the redemption and appearance of the redeemer.
Believers in this cataclysmic theology, who are in the hundreds of thousands and include most settlers in the West Bank, often seek to expedite these doomsday whims by provoking violence in Occupied Palestine, especially by torching mosques and even churches and by committing outrageous acts of murder like what happened to the Dawabsheh family.
However, Messianic Jews know well that nothing would provoke the Palestinians like the recurrent storming of the Aqsa Mosque.
Life- and- death issue
In a certain sense, the millenarian Jews are correct.
Assaults on the Aqsa Mosque, even under the deceptive rubric of “innocent visits” do provoke Palestinians as nothing else would.
After all, the Aqsa Mosque is an integral part of the Islamic belief itself. The Mosque is mentioned by name in Suratul Isra (Chapter- 17)
Most Palestinians actually believe that the majestic Muslim sanctuary, to which the Prophet Muhammed made his night journey from Mecca and subsequently flew from there to the seventh heaven in what is known in Muslim traditions as Israa and Mi’iraj, symbolizes their very existence in Palestine.
Hence, targeting the Mosque by Jews is viewed as a direct, brazen and flagrant attack or declaration of war on the very existence of the Palestinians, not only in Palestine, but also in the Levant region.
That is why; nearly every Palestinian considers the issue a matter of life and death even at the personal level.
A new Intifada
It is difficult to say with certainty whether an intifada or uprising is occurring or going to occur soon.
However, it is amply clear that the chances for a new intifada are now greater than ever before in light of the deep anger and indignation generated among most Palestinians by Israeli provocations and crimes.
Hence, it is probably logical to say that the evolution of the present protests in the West Bank into a full-fledged uprising depends very much on Israeli behaviors, especially at the Aqsa Mosque.
More to the point, the virtual death of the so-called peace process and the practical elimination by Israel of all realistic prospects for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state are likely to make the eruption of a third Intifada more likely if not inevitable.