Hamas Holocaust faux pas makes media, not IDF invasion of al-Aqsa Mosque

Hamas spewed some predictable ugliness about a Palestinian official's visit to the site of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland—and the mainstream and Zionist press predictably plays it for all it is worth. Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, made the visit this week, prompting Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum to say: "It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation." He called the visit "a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy….at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy." The comments were picked up by Reuters and flaunted with open glee by the settler organ Arutz Sheva, which also offers more such gems from Hamas sympathizers.

Bandak's visit to Auschwitz, where he laid a wreath at the invitation of a private Polish foundation working for tolerance, was a rare one by a Palestinian, all accounts obviously remind us. Although, we happily note, the West Bank village of Na'alin has established a Holocaust museum—even as it wages a struggle against the enclosure of its lands by Israel's Apartheid Wall. A courageous repudiation of the groupthink that prevails on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Meanwhile, winning practically no mainstream international coverage, Israeli soldiers and police on the night of July 28 invaded the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, attacking several worshipers while trying to forcefully remove them from the site. Clashes were reported and two worshipers were "kidnapped," in the words of the Waqf foundation that runs the site. During this year's Ramadan celebration, now underway, hundreds of worshipers have spent the night in the al-Aqsa Mosque, in defiance of Israeli authorities. The clash came when police tried to forcibly remove the worshippers, who had succeeded in staying at the mosque for three nights.

That same day, hundreds of Israeli settlers and right-wing Knesset members held a procession from West Jerusalem to the Old City, sparking clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police near al-Amoud Gate. The Temple Mount has been closed to Jews for the holiday of Tisha B'Av, the Jewish holiday commemorating the destruction of the Second Temple, which overlaps with Ramadan this year. The move to bar Jews from the Mount was taken in response to fears that Jewish militants would create "provocations." The new Temple Mount violence only seems to have won coverage from such speciality sources as International Middle East Media Center, The Muslim News, AlReselah and (at least) the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Meanwhile, Maan News Agency reports that Jewish settlers from Givat Ariel outpost vandalized Palestinian property in the village of Sinjil near Ramallah. Slogans left scrawled on walls included "Palestinians should die," and "Stay away from our lands." Settlers also left an improvised explosive device made from chemicals under a car.

From New Jewish Resistance, Aug. 3

See our last post on the politics of anti-Semitism.

  1. Jerusalem lynching
    After initially treating the event as a brawl, police in Jerusalem are now calling the Aug. 17 the attack on Palestinian youths by dozens of Jewish teens a “lynching.” Four minors between the ages of 13-15, including one girl, were arrested two days after the attack, which took place in the popular weekend hang-out of Zion Square. One victim was seriously injured and three others were slightly hurt.

    “For my part he can die, he’s an Arab,” the lead suspect told reporters as he left court Ag. 20. “If it was up to me I’d have murdered him. He cursed my mother.”

    Eyewitnesses say about 40 young Israelis, egged on by a 15-year-old girl, chased four Arab youths, while shouting racial insults and “Death to Arabs.” The Arabs fled, but one, Jamal Julani, tripped and fell to the ground. At least 10 Israelis caught him—and beat and kicked him until he was unconscious. He was in a coma for the next two days.

    Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin visited Julani  Aug. 23 at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem. “It is hard to see you lying in the hospital because of an unimaginable, outrageous act,” Rivlin told Julani. “I came here in the name of the State of Israel, in order to apologize and express anger over what happened.” (JP, Aug. 23; NBC, Aug. 21; Haaretz, Aug. 20)

  2. Haredi escalate struggle for Jerusalem
    Amid outrage across the Jewish diaspora over a flurry of recent arrests of women seeking to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments in defiance of Israeli law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, to study the issue and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews. (NYT, Dec. 25) We note that moves to end enforcement of gender segregation at the Western Wall have met with violent protest from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox, or Haredi.

    An Arab teen who claims he was violently accosted by two Haredi men in Jerusalem Dec. 24 says he did nothing to provoke the assailants. “I still don’t know what led them to attack me, I didn’t do anything, we didn’t even exchange words,” the 16-year-old resident of Beit Hanina recalled.The teen suffered head wounds and was admitted to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in moderate condition.  (YNet, Dec. 25)