A Palestinian Authority prisoner on a long-term hunger strike in an Israeli jail will be released in March, but violent protests continued Thursday near the Ofer Prison, on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Samer Issawi was sentenced to eight months in prison for violating the terms of his release under the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap, and he will be eligible for release March 6.
He has become a cause célèbre for Palestinian Authority Arabs, 1,000 of whom rioted on Thursday near Ofer prison where he is being held. They injured two journalists with rocks, and security forces fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, wounding about 29 people.
Issawi has been on a hunger strike for more than 200 days and is reportedly to be near death, although Israeli officials are doing everything possible to keep him alive. His death would turn him into a “martyr” and would set off a wildly violent reaction.
Police are preparing for Arab riots, as Otzma L’Yisrael political leader Michael Ben-Ari and his party’s supporters are planning a march inside the Arab town of Musmus in the Wadi Ara region on Tuesday.
They will be marching under the slogan of, “Without duties, there are no rights.”
Ben-Ari claims that many Israeli Arabs, and even entire villages are not not paying taxes, building illegally, and generally ignoring the laws of the state.
Police are expecting a large, and potentially violent counter-protest in the village. Residents of the village have called for a general strike today, and hundreds have been reported as protesting at the junction at the entrance to the village.
Musmus is located just north of Um El Fahm, and 13 miles east of Zichron Yaacov.
When Salman Rushdie mocked Islamic sanctities in 1989 in his magical realist novel The Satanic Verses, Ayatollah Khomeini did something shockingly original: He pronounced a death edict on Rushdie and all those connected to the production of his book. By doing this, Khomeini sought to impose Islamic mores and laws on the West; we don’t insult the prophet, he effectively said, and neither can you.
That started a trend of condemning those in the West deemed anti-Islamic that persists to this day. Again and again, when Westerners are perceived as denigrating Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam, Islamists demonstrate, riot and kill.
Khomeini’s edict also had the unexpected side effect of empowering individuals – Western and Islamist alike – to drive their countries’ policies.
On the Western side, Fleming Rose, a newspaper editor, created the greatest crisis for Denmark since World War II by publishing twelve Muhammad cartoons. Florida pastor Terry Jones caused panic for American commanders in Afghanistan by threatening to burn a Koran. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and friends prompted a crisis in U.S. relations with Egypt with an amateurish video, Innocence of Muslims. By publishing vulgar pictures of Muhammad, French weekly Charlie Hebdo is causing the French government temporarily to shut down diplomatic missions in twenty countries. Plans by the German satirical magazine Titanic to publish attacks on Muhammad have likewise caused German missions to be closed.
On the Islamist side, an individual or group took one of these perceived offenses and turned it into a reason to riot. Khomeini did this with The Satanic Verses and Ahmad Abu Laban did likewise with the Danish cartoons. Hamid Karzai goaded Afghans to riot over burned Korans by American soldiers and Egyptian preacher Khaled Abdullah turned Innocence of Muslims into an international event.
In brief, any Westerner can buy a Koran for a dollar and burn it, while any Muslim with a platform can transform that act into a fighting offense. As passions rise on both sides of the democratized Western / Muslim divide, Western provocateurs and Islamist hotheads have found each other and confrontations occur with increasing frequency…
Would repetition inspire institutionalization, generate ever-more outraged responses, and offer a vehicle for Islamists to ride to greater power? Or would it lead to routinization, to a wearing out of Islamists, and a realization that violence is counter-productive to their cause?Which prompts this question: What would happen if publishers and managers of major media reached a consensus, “Enough of this intimidation, we will publish the most famous Danish Muhammad cartoon every day until the Islamists tire out and no longer riot”? What would happen if instances of Koran burning happened recurrently?
I predict the latter, that a Muhammad cartoon published each day, or Koranic desecrations on a quasi-regular basis, will make it harder for Islamists to mobilize Muslim mobs. Were that the case, Westerners could once again treat Islam as they do other religions – freely, to criticize without fear. That would demonstrate to Islamists that Westerners will not capitulate, that they reject Islamic law, that they are ready to stand up for their values.
So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: display the Muhammad cartoon daily until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.
This article originally published by FoxNews.com on September 21st, 2012.
In Egypt, hundreds of protesters continued to riot overnight outside the US Embassy in Cairo. A number of rioters and policemen were injured.
The US has stepped up security around US embassies and Cosulates worldwide in response to this latest round of Islamic violence against it.
Last year, on September 9, 2011, Egyptians rioters surrounded the Israeli Embassy in Egypt nearly killing the personnel inside. Egyptian commandos managed to hold back the rioters long enough for the trapped Israeli personnel to be rescued. Prime Minister Netanyahu had to personally call up President Obama to ask him to intervene on Israel’s behalf with the Egyptian government to save the Israeli lives.
In August 2012, 75 out of 76 of those Egyptian rioters were sentenced to one year in jail, but their jail terms were suspended. The 76th man, Omar Afifi, fled Egypt.
Attempts by rioters throwing rocks at Israel Defense Force soldiers to conduct a ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ have, for the most part, been thwarted by Israeli authorities, who have maintained secure national borders and checkpoints inside the country on ‘Land Day’.
Organizers intended for a million Arabs from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt to infiltrate Israel’s borders and Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arabs to riot against Israeli army and law enforcement officers, with a goal of overcoming the obstacles to reach Jerusalem.
Beefed up security forces deployed on Israel’s borders and in sensitive locations throughout the country remain on high alert, as news outlets from around the Arab world report that demonstrators are continuing to amass on Israel’s borders. Reports emanating from Jordan state that almost 20,000 people have gathered in order to converge on the Israeli border. Lebanese newspapers report that over 100 buses will be transporting Lebanese and Palestinian demonstrators to the Lebanese border.
More than a dozen Arabs have been arrested for throwing rocks at police near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s old city (video by IDF Spokesperson’s Office).
Rioters Hurling Firebombs at IDF Forces in Bethlehem
AFP reported that more than 15,000 demonstrators in Jordan, waving Jordanian and Palestinian flags and carrying banners reading “Freedom for Jerusalem and freedom for Palestine,” and “Jerusalem, here we come,” joined in a peaceful sit-in at Kafrein, six miles from the border with Israel on Friday. Among them were opposition Islamist leaders and trade unionists,
“We will not forget you Jerusalem. Down with the Wadi Araba agreement,” they chanted, referring to the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.
At the Kalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, clashes began at around 12:30, after mosque Friday prayers. Dozens of young Palestinians threw stones at security forces manning the checkpoint.
Soldiers utilized the “screamer,” which transmitts very high frequency sound to keep the rioters, and the “skunk,” which showered protesters with a liquid reminiscent of a stink-bomb.
A Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament, Ahmed Atun, who was expelled from Jerusalem a few months ago, received a light head injury and required treatment.
According to a report by Ynet, Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti was injured by a tear gas canister that struck him in the head, and was taken to a hospital in Ramallah for treatment.
The PLO Executive Committee has encouraged the protests, saying they are necessary “to affirm the Arab and Palestinian character of Jerusalem.”
The committee insisted that the only solution to the conflict would be the establishment of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of an independent Palestine.
“The land was and remains the essence of the conflict,” the committee continued. “Our people’s main battle is over the land.”
Beit Alfa Technologies, an Israeli defense company, has developed an advanced model of a riot-control vehicle that allows for the dispersion of the Skunk substance, as well as tear gas, paint, foam, and water.
The vehicle includes a special foam fire extinguisher that allows it to operate while under attack from molotov cocktails and other volatile substances.