How dangerous is the Temple Mount conflict ?
Clashes over security measures at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem have claimed at least eight lives. Israel introduced checkpoints with metal detectors at the entrances to the Muslim holy site after a fatal attack on police officers. In response, Palestinian President Abbas has frozen all contact with Israel. Commentators take stock of the potential repercussions of the conflict.
The current crisis is being exacerbated by domestic motives on both sides, the Tages-Anzeiger points out:
“Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was warned by his intelligence services. And he was told that checkpoints are in fact detrimental when thousands of believers throng to the barriers in response to the call to prayer. But the president of the Palestinians Mahmoud Abbas also knew exactly what he was doing when he proclaimed a 'day of rage'. He knew that in a heated atmosphere any demonstration would turn violent. He too tried to score points at home with the crisis because he doesn't want to leave the resistance to the radical Islamist Hamas.”
A gift for all extremists
The current crisis could trigger a new wave of radicalisation, Der Standard fears:
“The crisis over Temple Mount or rather the sacred compound of the Muslims has the potential to become a new and strong argument for recruiting religious and political extremists. It won't be difficult to convince many Muslims that the current Israeli measures and the radical movement demanding that Temple Mount be opened up to Jews are connected. It doesn't matter how many times Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu promises that the status quo at Temple Mount won't be touched. ... At Temple Mount the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians takes on a religious dimension - to the detriment of any potential rational solution.”