Islamic zealotry becoming more evident among Palestinians


A musical event that took place at a historical site located several miles east of Jerusalem may have revealed what the Palestinians have constantly tried to hide, that is the depth of radical Islam and its role in forming their identity.

It is no secret that religious zealotry motivated Palestinians from all over the West Bank to rush to “defend the sanctity” and emphasize the religious nature of an archeological site that was supposed to be a tourist attraction.

Muslims have always wanted to believe that Moses’s tomb is located inside the expansive building which is located in the Judean Desert, while both Jewish and Christian tradition teaches that Moses was buried in the Moab valley opposite to Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.

In a phone chat with a Catholic Palestinian deacon from Jerusalem, he blurted out that “the mosque’s presence in one of the corners of the massive facility has blinded their eyes and has made them perceive it to be the new Mecca.Muslims want to deny Jewish right on the Temple Mount, and now they want to steal Moses by claiming that Moses’ tomb is located there.” He added.

One might want to ponder about the reason behind the crowds of Muslims who came from most of the Palestinian towns and villages towards the site; was it to “liberate” a mosque in the Judean desert when they believed that a Christmas party was being held there? (Later on, it became clear that the musical celebration had nothing to do with Christmas).

But the violent reactions by some Palestinians echoed images and voices visible in Mosul when the city fell to ISIS. This video of a Palestinian climbing the wall to perform the call to prayer reminded some of the akin images seen in areas that fell under ISIS control in Syria or Iraq.

News media reports showed that the dance party was held after the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism authorized it to promote tourism in archaeological sites under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

But, the arrest of DJ Sama Abdel-Hadi in Jericho, where she was detained without bail, suggested that Palestinian officials seemed so alarmed for fear of an uprising in Ramallah by angry Muslim protestors that would topple them. It became evident that the renowned Palestinian DJ was being used as a scapegoat to divert this rage against her, rather than against the officials who authorized the party.  After a week in detention, she was released after a massive online campaign by many human rights activists was launched.

Furthermore, a  YouTube video showing Fatah militants threatened the Palestinian Authority officials with the ramifications showed a piece of further evidence to a rapid erosion of Abbas’s authority in the face of a new Islamic tide.  “Our guns have not rusted, and our hearts are burning with fury due to the crime committed at Prophet Moses tomb, and we warn of the consequences if the officials involved are not made accountable, even if they are in the highest position.” The militant read in a statement that was prepared in advance.

Worth mentioning that these images in Bethlehem recalled similar scenes

that took place during the Intifadah which erupted in 2000 when Arafat resorted to the use of violence after rejecting any peace deal.

Another video on Facebook showing Palestinians from nearby Jerusalem chanting Islamic poetry makes viewers pay close attention to the virtual Islamic state they are longing to establish. They simply chanted for the re-establishment of the Islamic state without making any reference to any national Palestinian state.

Furthermore, the rise of incidents of hostility towards Christians and the derision of some Muslims towards Christmas in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem signaled the great peril local Christians are living presently. This triggered a response of an Arab Israeli activist Wadie Abu Nassar who is also the Honorary Consul of Spain in Haifa, Israel to call the Palestinian President Abbas in an attempt to eliminate “these situations that reflected the Islamic resentment of what is Christian”. He angrily wrote on his official Facebook page recently.

He posted videos of some young Muslims mocking the Christmas tree erected in Bethlehem, and others mocking the main gate of the Church of the Nativity.

But, the most severe incident against Palestinian Christians occurred when Muslims attempted to burn the traditional Christmas tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on New Year’s eve.  No wonder, the Palestinian Authority exerted a tremendous effort to conceal that heinous attempt.

Even though Palestinians claimed they sought the establishment of a Palestinian state, their rhetoric points toward a religious state that would exist as part of a new caliphate. This also explains why most of the Palestinians living under the control of President Abbas’s authority cannot disguise their excitement with Turkey and its Islamic hegemony.

Speaking of the “Islamic Emirate” of Hamas in the Strip, the streets in Gaza had been adorned with billboards of Qassem Soleimani, which would make a passerby first assume to be walking in one of the wretched streets of Tehran or the southern suburbs of Beirut. Hamas – an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement – circulated last month an internal memo that sought to limit Christmas celebrations in the Gaza Strip.

This serves as another example of the Sunni-Shiite radical alliance when it comes to fighting the Christian infidels.” Sarcastically says a former colleague of this writer who worked along at the US Department of State and nowadays spending time with his family in Lebanon.

In the West Bank, a Christian professor at Bethlehem University, who asked his name not mentioned due to fear of repercussions from radical Muslim students  expressed his anger and desire to move to Canada where his children currently reside.”I see that these things are getting worse day after day, and when you read the comments, one feels that ISIS has become the master of the scenario in the Palestinian street.

Those who closely follow the Palestinian scenario note a religious euphoria and recently a sense of relief for the upcoming Biden administration, where the Palestinian Authority’s coffers hope to be replenished with US tax money again.

Recent examples of anti-Christian incitement and attacks on Christmas are indications that a Palestinian state will not be the end of the Palestinians’ aspirations.

The Palestinian vision for establishing their own state is summarized in this video by an Islamic preacher whom the Israeli authorities have recently barred from entering Al-Aqsa due to his sermons that incite violence and terror.

Perhaps some Muslim Palestinians, who once envisioned throwing Jews into the Mediterranean after Palestine has been liberated, might add the Christians to the mix as well.

Samir A. Zedan is a former Senior Counter-Terrorism Analyst at the US Department of State, and a former Development Outreach and Communication Specialist at USAID/Iraq. He has contributed to hundreds of articles published in major media outlets with assignments in the Palestinian Areas, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, and Europe.


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