Israel is reportedly relying on the mediation of Egypt and France in a desperate effort to stop the conflagration it started with its barbaric attack on worshippers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque earlier this week from spiraling into a full-scale regional war.
But as I told Turkey’s TRT television on Thursday, Israel’s fanatical pyromaniacs regularly start blazes that they are unable to put out. It is even more disturbing that this may even be their goal.
Overnight, Israel bombed Gaza and southern Lebanon after rockets fired by resistance groups in apparent retaliation for the attack on worshippers hit Israel.
Israel has blamed the rocket fire from Lebanon on Hamas without offering evidence. No group has claimed responsibility.
But as I told TRT, that may be a face-saving effort: If Israel were to blame Hizballah – which defeated the Israeli army in 2006 – it would place itself in an even bigger bind.
Israel would be courting unprecedented death and destruction for its own people if it sparked another full-scale war with the powerful Lebanese resistance group.
As something of a tense calm prevailed on Friday on those fronts, it remained to be seen whether the worst could yet be avoided.
But inevitably and as usual, Israel’s latest unprovoked rampage backfired on its own population.
On Friday morning, two residents of the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat – one a 15-year-old girl and the other her adult sister – were killed in a shooting attack.
Their mother was critically injured when their car was shot at by unknown assailants and then crashed.
The father of the family of colonial settlers from Britain was driving ahead in another car and was uninjured.
A government of fanatics
The fault for the latest escalation is clear even to many Israelis and it began with Israel’s shocking attack on worshippers at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque on Tuesday.
“The chain of events that led to police raiding the mosque began with the provocation caused by a small group of far-right activists when they tried to sacrifice a goat for Passover on the Temple Mount,” Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said in an editorial on Friday.
The newspaper acknowledged that “the Palestinians’ fear of harm to their holy site, especially during Ramadan, is understandable: In recent years, police have allowed Jews to pray on the Temple Mount despite the status quo; furthermore, the most prominent Temple Mount and ‘Third Temple’ activists are a key component of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition.”
These increasingly mainstream fanatical Jewish extremists are not simply seeking peaceful access to the al-Aqsa mosque compound – which Jews call the Temple Mount.
Their goal is to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock and replace them with a Jewish temple – an apocalyptic vision whose consequences are unthinkable.
“Itamar Ben-Gvir, an integral member of the most extreme movements and the lawyer of participants in past animal sacrifices, is now in charge of security on the Temple Mount,” Haaretz noted. “The dividing line between Temple activists and the Israeli government has never been blurrier.”
“There is an enemy here trying to establish a state in the heart of our land, this is their motivation,” Shlomo Ne’eman, the head of Israel’s West Bank settlers council said Friday after the shooting attack against the British colonists.
“This must stop. Our expectation is not from the soldiers in the field and not from commanders, but from policy-makers, to destroy the hope of the enemy,” Ne’eman added.
In such a situation, it is inevitable that the flames will continue to burn higher and the full responsibility for whatever awful consequences ensue will be entirely the responsibility of Israel and its enablers and armorers – especially those in Washington and Brussels.