By Moshe Arens
July 31, 2017
time has come to take stock of the tumultuous events these past two weeks that
began with the killing of two Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount by three
members of the Jabarin clan from Umm al-Fahm. Then came the installation of
electronic security measures at the entrances to the Temple Mount, the mass
protests led by the mufti of Jerusalem, and this technology’s subsequent
removal. A confusing additional event was the attack on the Israeli security
guard at the Israeli Embassy in Amman that got the Jordanian monarch into the
now Muslim worshippers have returned to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the
Israeli Embassy staff has returned home from Ammam. There may yet be more
demonstrations and riots, and further contacts between Jerusalem and Amman
before tempers subside on all sides, for the time being at least.
who celebrated their “victory” over Israel will in time learn that it was no
more than a hollow victory. In due time all the necessary security measures will
be taken at the entrances to the Temple Mount for the protection of everyone who
visits this holy site.
engraved in the memory of many will remain not only the criminal act by three
Israeli Arabs from Umm al-Fahm, but even more disturbing, the mass celebrations
there that accompanied their funerals.
gunmen evidently had the support of many in Umm al-Fahm, and others seem
prepared to follow in their footsteps. Those who wanted to believe that it was
the act of a few crazed individuals are sorely disappointed. The assailants
killed two policemen and damaged the fabric of relationships between Israel’s
Jewish and Arab citizens that will take a long time to repair.
is why examining closely the situation in Umm al-Fahm and the developments that
led to this killing has now become the first priority for Israel’s security
services, the police and the government itself. Was it really inevitable?
was Ra’ad Salah, at the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement,
allowed to preach hatred for Israel and spread the lie that the Al-Aqsa Mosque
was in danger for all those years? Why did it take years before the movement was
declared illegal, and why was Salah allowed to continue his pernicious
activities after that? Why did the security services object to declaring his
movement illegal, a movement whose aim was the destruction of the State of
Israel? These questions require answers.
another question: Why was the threshold in Israeli general elections raised so
as to force all Arab parties to unite, thus giving the most extreme elements the
dominant voice among Arab Knesset members?
spotlight will have to be put on Umm al-Fahm, this large Arab city in Israel.
Adopting Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s idea and turning the city over
to the Palestinian Authority is absurd. Its Israeli citizens cannot be divested
of their Israeli citizenship. But the extremists in that city need to be
identified and reined in before further damage is caused.
learned that in the Arab world the extremists dominate the public discourse,
leaving the moderate elements mute. Possibly this is the case in Umm al-Fahm as
well. Although many there, no doubt, condemn the criminal act perpetrated on the
Temple Mount, not one has as yet spoken out. They seem to be scared into
yet, repairing the damage done to the relationships between Israel’s Jewish
and Arab citizens isn’t going to be easy if courageous leaders among
Israel’s Arab community don’t stand up to be counted. All Israelis – Jews
and Arabs – are waiting.