Photo Credit: Photo by Flash90
Members of Martyr Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades take part in a memorial service in the southern Gaza Strip on November 15, 2021.

The Hamas terrorist organization, responsible for the murderous attack early this week near the Western Wall in Jerusalem, has one interest these days: to rile up violent Arab opposition to Israel with the battle-cry: “The occupation [Israel] is taking over Al-Quds [Jerusalem]!”

Sunday’s murderous attack, in which Eliyahu David Kaye was murdered, was perpetrated by a Hamas political wing member. It took place just a few days after two Border Guard policemen were brutally knifed by a teenaged terrorist from eastern Jerusalem.

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Just hours after Kaye was murdered and four other Israelis were wounded, one seriously, Hamas organized a celebratory rally in one of the Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. Hundreds of terrorism supporters cheered what they called the “heroic” attack.

Gal Berger, Arab affairs correspondent for Israel’s state-owned Kan TV/radio network, has researched Jerusalem’s emotionally-charged Damascus Gate. Berger compiled an impressive list showing that during the five months beginning this past May 21, nearly every single day featured one or more reports on Damascus Gate in PA Telegram accounts.

That is to say, this Jerusalem hot spot and site of many Palestinian terrorist attacks is being very carefully kept in the news for every possible incident that could somehow be construed as an Israeli provocation. Hamas, in turn, takes advantage of the “events” to pour fuel on the fire.

The most blatant finding of his daily documentation, Berger wrote, was “undoubtedly the obsession in these groups regarding any report or development that happens at Damascus Gate.” These include not only notable events such as disturbances, but even routine police requests for an ID card there or policemen descending the Gate’s well-known steps into the Old City. Not surprisingly, religious Jews simply passing through on their way home or to the Western Wall are often immediately termed “Israeli provocations” – and emotions are aroused accordingly.

Berger conjectures that Hamas “takes advantage of what goes on at the Damascus Gate, fans the flames, and tries to strengthen them – and mainly, rides atop the existing reality” of strong Arab emotions about the area.

It is well known that at least twice over the past several months, Hamas has sought to fight Israel’s actualization of its sovereignty over its capital by initiating violence. The first time was the traditional Jerusalem Reunification Day march this past June. Hamas threatened that if the planned route was not changed and distanced from the Temple Mount, it would respond militarily. Israeli authorities in fact changed the route, and still, Arabs threw rocks and attacked policemen during the march, and released incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Jewish towns and fields. Israel retaliated by attacking Hamas installations, but Hamas boasted: “We proved our deterrence ability against Israel. We forced the occupation to change the route of the march, to change civilian air routes, and to reinforce its Iron Dome deployment.”

Several weeks before that, Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount and began attacking Jews in Jerusalem’s Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood. A few days later, Hamas terrorists fired thousands of rockets at Israel, killing 12.

That is to say: Hamas did not fire rockets at Israel in order to “protect” Jerusalem from Israel, but rather used the march and the Shimon HaTzaddik/Sheikh Jarrah events as a pretext to fire the missiles. Hamas has been piling up these deadly rockets by the thousands for many years, waiting for any excuse of controversy in Jerusalem to fire them at Israeli citizens.

Thus, we can say that any news that emanates from Hamas must be viewed as an attempt to chip away, or worse, at Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Especially now, when the Biden Administration is still considering opening an official consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Israel’s capital – both illegal and a logical absurdity – is it important to be on guard against every Hamas provocation.

Readers may wish to be reminded of the Hamas Covenant, which reads, in part: “Israel will rise and remain standing until Islam eliminates it, as it eliminated its predecessors… Our struggle against the Jews is so extremely wide-ranging and grave that it will need all the loyal efforts we can wield, to be followed by further steps and reinforced by successive battalions from the multifarious Arab and Islamic world, until the enemies are defeated and Allah’s victory prevails.”

The charter also arouses fanatic violent-religious emotions and beliefs among Muslims by insisting on the need to “establish in the minds of all the Muslim generations that the Palestinian issue is a religious issue, and that it must be dealt with as such, for it contains Islamic holy places, [namely] the Al-Aqsa mosque [the Temple Mount in Jerusalem], which is inseparably connected to the holy mosque of Mecca …”

 

Both Sides of Hamas

The terrorist who murdered Eli Kaye on Sunday near the Kotel was a member of the political wing of Hamas. Just two days before, Great Britain took a major step to define this branch of Hamas as a terrorist organization. (The military wing has long been outlawed in Britain as a terror gang, as in many other countries.)

If the proposal is legislated into law as expected, it will be a crime to belong to Hamas, to fly its flag, or to wear a uniform that implies support for Hamas. The punishment: up to 14 years in prison.

The explanation for the decision was a bit muddled, however. On the one hand, some sources said it was because Hamas had carried out hundreds of deadly attacks against Israel and fired thousands of rockets into its territory. However, it was also said that Britain fears for the safety of its own Jewish community, such that the decision is part of its fight against anti-Semitism. Hamas responded with scorn to this latter claim, saying it was a lie to claim concern for British Jews, and that the decision is clearly a “pro-Zionist” one.

As if there is a difference… Once again, the world struggles, and fails, to understand that there is no essential difference between Zionism – the movement to restore a national Jewish presence in the Holy Land – and Judaism. It is impossible to be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic, and vice-versa.

A Hamas spokesman said after Kaye was murdered, “The war for Jerusalem will continue until the conqueror is banished.” From our side, KeepJerusalem and all those who love Yerushalayim say: “History and the Jewish nation and religion are on our side, and we will never allow our holy capital to fall from our hands.”

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Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel is the former senior editor of Arutz-7. For bus tours of the capital, to take part in Jerusalem advocacy efforts or to keep abreast of KeepJerusalem's activities, e-mail tours@keepjerusalem.org.
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