The U.S. State Department welcomed the first night of Passover with an admonition against violence.
“We are closely monitoring events in Jerusalem during this sacred holiday period for Jews, Muslims and Christians,” read the official announcement in English, Arabic and Hebrew. “We urge everyone to refrain from actions that further escalate tensions.”
The statement, posted on social media by U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides, concluded: “We encourage all parties to work together to ensure calm and the quiet enjoyment of all religious holidays.”
The message summed up nicely the false equation between Palestinian terrorism and Israel’s war against it that the administration in Washington has been spreading since President Joe Biden assumed office 15 months ago. To make matters worse, the powers-that-be in D.C. are not only ignoring reality but reinforcing the sense on the part of the jihadists inside Israel, and those governed by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, that it pays, literally and figuratively, to kill Jews.
This year, the convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter could have provided an opportunity for pluralism and the freedom of religion that is Israel’s trademark; in a perfect world, that is. But the Islamists use their holy month as an excuse to turn up the volume on the lie that Israeli Jews are “storming” the Al-Aqsa mosque for the purpose of destroying it.
Nothing could be a greater distortion of the truth. Despite the fact that Al-Aqsa is located on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, Israel handed control over the compound to the Islamic Waqf. And it is Jews, not Muslims, who have been forbidden from praying there for decades.
Nor is it Jews or Christians who have been in need of “monitoring” to make sure that they “refrain from actions that further escalate tensions.” The latest unprovoked terrorist attacks on innocent Israelis—two of which took place while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in the region undermining the Abraham Accords by highlighting the non-existent “two-state solution”—were not needed to prove this point.
Willful blindness to the real root of the wider “conflict”—the desire to eliminate the Jewish state—was and still is at play, however. And no number of condolence tweets to the victims can make up for Team Biden’s simultaneous bolstering of the forces inciting them to commit mass murder in the name of Allah.
The inevitable result of the constant calls for “calm” during the current holidays was a carefully planned riot on the Temple Mount on Friday, mere hours before Israel’s Jews sat down to enjoy their seders. Early that morning, Palestinians and similarly radical Arab citizens of Israel barricaded themselves in the mosque with piles of rocks and firebombs with which to assault police stationed there to keep the peace.
Such was the scene on the second Friday of Ramadan. Rather than recite their solemn prayers, worshipers were pummeling Israelis in uniform, and civilians praying at the Western Wall below, with stones. Security forces responded appropriately, using tear gas and stun grenades, and arresting hundreds of perpetrators.
The vilification of Israel promptly followed.
“We condemn the barbaric aggression of the occupation soldiers against the worshipers in Al-Aqsa,” Hamas declared. “Our brothers in Jerusalem are not alone in the fight for Al-Aqsa. We call on the masses in the West Bank and inside the Green Line to stand by our brothers in Jerusalem.”
P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’s office accused Israel of launching a religious war, and Palestinian officials warned counterparts in the United States and Jordan of the “consequences of Israel’s actions.”
Decrying the “invasion of the Al-Aqsa mosque” and “harm” to Muslims at prayer, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry demanded that Israel immediately withdraw its forces from the Temple Mount. This was to be expected, as fabricating Israeli aggression on the holy site, whose ancient connection to Judaism is something that the Palestinians deny, is key to riling up young radicals and sparking an Israeli reaction.
The Biden administration buys the ploy—hook, line and sinker. Instead of directing its denunciations where they belong, it perpetuates the anti-Semitic deception by insinuating that Israel really is on the verge of taking over the mosque, thus spurring Muslim rage.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the violence in Jerusalem … on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price on Friday.
“We call on all sides to exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” he went on, again using the Islamic term before the Jewish one. “We urge Palestinian and Israeli officials to work cooperatively to lower tensions and ensure the safety of everyone.”
The trouble is in the equation. Indeed, while Israel has been trying to appease the Palestinians, the feeling is anything but mutual.
On the contrary, as Biden’s boys don’t care to grasp, it is not in the interest of the honchos in Ramallah and Gaza to “lower tensions.” If it were, they wouldn’t be instigating the bloodshed in the first place.
Ruthie Blum is an Israel-based journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’ ”