The level of conflict in Jerusalem is now so high that more and more people are talking of a “Third Intifada” – a new popular uprising by Palestinians against the Israeli occupation – that would be centred in Jerusalem. In fact, there is little to suggest that a Third Intifada is imminent, but it does seem likely that there will be an increase in violence and unrest in Jerusalem in the future. In this article I will attempt to explain why.
There are two immediate reasons for the recent increase in political violence among Palestinian Jerusalemites. First, there was the reaction to the killing in the West Bank in June 2014 of three Israeli teenagers. In revenge, a group of Jewish young men abducted a 16-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem and killed him in a particularly brutal manner. This killing, and the suppression by the Israeli authorities of the ensuing demonstrations, brought tensions to boiling point. Second, right-wing Israelis have been making renewed demands for Jews to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, which is also the site of the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Palestinians see these demands as a clear move towards full Jewish control over their holy site. There is a precedent with which all Palestinians are well acquainted. In Hebron, where the Israelis forcibly divided the Tomb of Abraham into two parts many years ago, Palestinian Muslims have had drastically reduced access to the holy site.
Read more at the New Middle East Blog, where the full text was posted 19 December 2014.