TEL AVIV – With little fanfare and almost no one in the news media paying careful attention, this year marked a tectonic shift in the dynamics of the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, 2015 will become known as the year the highly-controlled Palestinian street largely moved beyond the geopolitics of territory and marched to the tune of religious extremism.
It is significant that the Palestinians carrying out the “wave of terror” are doing so, they believe, for the glory of the Al Aqsa Mosque. They have been incited by official Palestinian media outlets, mosques, and the state-run school system to believe in a non-existent Jewish threat to Al Aqsa, which Islam sees as its third holiest site. Social media accounts for Palestinian attackers almost always mention the “threat” to Al Aqsa as their primary motivation with scant mention of a Palestinian state.
The latest narrative is farcical and shows that the Palestinians can be brainwashed into believing almost anything. In this case, the Al Aqsa threat is a 180 inversion of reality.
The Islamic Waqf are the true custodians of the Temple Mount. Only Muslims are granted unrestricted access 24/7. Jews and Christians are permitted to ascend for about an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, and not on any days holy to Christians, Jews, or Muslims.
Non-Muslims are entirely barred from praying at the site or carrying holy objects. Non-Muslim tours are watched carefully by Waqf officials. If there is a hint of religious ideology, the tour is shut down by the Waqf, usually with the help of Israeli police seeking to diffuse tensions.
In the Alice Through the Looking Glass world of Palestinian politics, while claiming an Israeli plot against their third holiest site, hundreds of Palestinians in October set fire to the Joseph’s Tomb complex, causing severe damage to the revered burial place, considered Judaism’s third holiest site.
It is amazing that the “Jewish threat” to Al Aqsa is propagated by the same Palestinian Authority that has been caught on several occasions trying to destroy Jewish Temple-era antiquities on the Mount in a bid to physically erase Jewish ties to the site.
It is the Muslims who are instigating violence on the Mount platform. On the Temple Mount itself, the outlawed radical Islamic Movement has been mobilizing Arab youth in an attempt to smuggle fire bombs, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, and stones on to the site in order to attack Jews there.
While Palestinian media outlets have been broadcasting misinformation about Israeli police storming the Al Aqsa Mosque unprovoked, Islamic Movement-tied youth have themselves been using the Al Aqsa Mosque as a staging area to attack Jews. The clear goal seems to be to draw Israeli security forces into the sensitive mosque compound, thus fueling the cycle of rumors of Israeli incursions into the mosque.
Now factor the Islamic State into this perverse, dangerous mentality. There are fears IS can ride the wave of Palestinian terror by manipulating the new religious fervor for its own recruitment campaign.
Just yesterday, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Israel’s Shin Bet security agency earlier this month announced the arrest of Israeli-Arab youths from Nazareth for declaring allegiance to the Islamic State. Other such arrests have been carried out in the West Bank on numerous occasions.
The PA has reportedly been on heightened alert in and around Bethlehem, fearing the Islamic State could launch terrorist attacks targeting Christian tourists or sites over this holiday season. Adnan Dmeyri, a spokesperson for the PA security forces, confirmed to Breitbart Jerusalem that a number of suspected Salafists were arrested in recent days as part of the preventive measures taken during the holiday season.
And IS has been on the rise in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, as Breitbart Jerusalem has repeatedly documented.
If 2015 marks the year of religious extremism on the Palestinian street, 2016 looks likely to usher in a new era of IS-aligned, global caliphate ambitions among the Palestinian populace, with designs that extend beyond the borders of Israel and goals that far surpass the creation of a Palestinian state.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.