Dear friends –
The past week has seen a dangerous escalation of tensions in and around Jerusalem. Last Friday, two Israeli police officers – both hailing from Druze villages in northern Israel – were murdered by terrorists while protecting Muslim holy sites on the Temple Mount.
A brief closure of the site and the installation of metal detectors led to outrage among Muslims in Jerusalem and beyond, even as a security search yielded a cache of weapons that could have caused more bloodshed at this holy site.
To put this clearly: Muslim terrorists desecrated a Muslim site with violence, murdering two Israeli Druze policemen who were protecting the site. Israel increased security to protect the Muslim holy site from violence, a common practice at holy sites all over the world.
And yet, Fatah, the ruling Palestinian political faction, called for a “Day of Rage” this past Wednesday, inciting followers to commit acts of violence against Israelis through official Palestinian government webpages. As with many other instances of Palestinian incitement against Israel, the calls for violence were heeded.
Yesterday, an attempted stabbing attack of IDF officers in a West Bank village left a terrorist dead and sparked riots. Muslim clerics have called on worshippers to pray in the streets rather than submit to the new security procedures on the Temple Mount. Today, clashes continued in and around the Old City between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. To quell violence, Israel allowed only men over the age of 50 and women of all ages on the Temple Mount.
Throughout this crisis, Israel has acted responsibly and made clear that it is not changing the status. It has acted with caution to address a dangerous security situation, while continuing to respect the rights of worshippers.
The volatile situation has the potential to explode into widespread violence and endanger Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Jews. Responsible parties must act to reduce tensions by calling for calm.
CJP and our community partners have launched a social media campaign encouraging a responsible de-escalation of tensions, using the hashtag #CallForCalm. Visit our Twitter and Facebook page to see our latest social media images and share them with your networks.
Join with us as we call for calm and pray for peace in Jerusalem, in Israel, and the world. As we read in Tehillim, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget [its skill].”