Over the Jewish Holydays this year, Mahmoud Abbas attempted to spark an intifada by spreading rumours that the Jews were plotting to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. This strategy is not new, but dates back to the time of the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. Then the accusation was that the Jews were plotting to take over the Arab world. Dr Edy Cohen explains on i24 News:
Israeli police enter Al-Aqsa mosque where Palestinians had stored stones and rocks for throwing on Jewish worshippers at the western wall
In fact when Herbert Samuel appointed al-Husseini to the position of
mufti in 1921, the latter set himself the goal of the expulsion of Jews
from Palestine and preventing them from reaching it, but he did not have
the powers to deal with thousands of Jews or the implications of the
Balfour Declaration and the British aid to Jews. The mufti's position
was weak and his allies conflicted and isolated.
countries were weakened, each busy with problems with the colonial
powers. Politically and economically it was not a good time to organize a
strike or buy weapons. The mufti therefore concluded that he must
enlist the aid of the Arab and Muslim world, and unite them and bring
them to the Palestinian issue with the aim to get the help of millions
of Muslims around the world. How did the mufti go about this?
Like Abbas, the mufti sought to convince the Arab world that Jews
plan to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and establish the Third Temple on the
site of the Dome of the Rock, before conquering the rest of the Arab
world. "Palestine does not satisfy the Jews, because the aim is to take
over the rest of the Arab countries, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and the
region of Khaybar in Saudi Arabia, under the pretext that this city was
the homeland of the Jewish tribes in the seventh century." Thus the
mufti of Jerusalem said again and again.
The mufti's propaganda methods were varied, but the most effective
one was sending envoys to Arab leaders. These messengers carried
"evidence" of the intention of the Jews to "defile" the holy places of
Islam, invoices and receipts supposedly attesting to the payments made
on behalf of Jewish religious institutions. The leaflets were
illustrated with paintings of the Western Wall and Temple Mount. These
illustrations were decorated with Jewish religious symbols.
materials caused anxiety among Muslim leaders in the Arab world.
Moreover, the fact that Jews see the Western Wall as a holy site and a
relic of the Temple worked up the Muslims' anxiety, and they rushed to
the mufti's aid.
Much like the mufti, Abbas sees the al-Aqsa mosque as an instrument
in his struggle and a means to enlist supporters in the Arab world and
the international community to the Palestinian issue, which they already
fed up with. But the ruse of crying that "al-Aqsa is in danger" and
calls to come and defend the mosque through self-sacrifice and
bloodshed, succeeded this time in the same way that it did last year –
the question is how many more times will the world fall into the trap
before everyone sees through it?
Read article in full