Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Netanyahu-Erdan March of the Jerusalem Metal
By Uri Avnery
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July
Israeli occupation government installed metal detectors and security cameras at
the entrances of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in July 2017
The March of Folly
MY LATE friend, Nathan Yellin-Mor, the political leader of the LEHI
underground, once told me that a certain politician is "not a great
thinker and not a small fool."
I remember that sentence every
time I think about Gilad Erdan, our Minister of Public Security. His
part in the events of the last few weeks, in which
the entire Middle East almost exploded, confirmed this
On the other hand, Binyamin Netanyahu reminds me of
the saying: "A clever person is one who knows how to extricate himself
from a trap which a wise person would not have gotten into in the first
About Netanyahu I would have said: "A very clever but
not a very wise person."
THERE ARE two ways to look at
The one sees them as plots of evil persons, the other as
acts of folly.
It is easy to understand the first school. After all, it cannot be
possible that our very lives depend on a bunch of fools, who have no
idea about anything.
For example, it is easy to believe that
Binyamin Netanyahu sent a secret order to a security guard at the
Israeli embassy in Amman to kill two Jordanians, so as to enable him
(Netanyahu) to negotiate with the King of Jordan to release the guy in
return for the removal of the metal detectors from the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem. Pure genius.
The other version is much more prosaic.
It says that the people who determine
the lot of nations and countries – emperors and kings,
statesmen and generals, leftists and rightists –
are almost all perfect fools.
A frightening idea. But it was always so, and still is. All over the
world, and particularly in Israel.
One of my friends said this
week: "There is no need to put cameras on the Temple Mount, as is now
suggested. We should put the cameras in the cabinet room, because that
is the source of the greatest danger to the future of Israel.
BARBARA TUCHMAN, the American-Jewish historian, originated the phrase
"the March of Folly". She researched several historic disasters and
showed that they were caused by sheer stupidity.
Word War I, with its millions of victims, which was the result of a
sequence of incredibly imbecilic acts.
A Serbian fanatic killed
an Austrian archduke, whom he accosted by accident, after the planned
attempt on his life had failed. The Austrian emperor saw an opportunity
to show his prowess and delivered an ultimatum to little Serbia. The
Russian Czar mobilized his army to defend his Slavic brothers. The
German general staff had a contingency plan that provided that once the
Russians started to mobilized their cumbersome army, the German army
would cross into France and smash it before the Russians were ready to
fight. The British declared war in order to help the French.
one of these actors wanted a war, least of all a world war. Each of them
contributed just a little piece of folly. Together they started a war
which left millions of dead, wounded and disabled. In the end, they all
agreed that the only person to blame was the German Kaiser, who was not
a little fool either.
THE SAME historian would have been
delighted to write about the latest incidents on the Temple Mount in
fanatics, citizens of Israel, killed three Border Guard "fighters"
there, who happened to be Druze. (The
Druze are a separate semi-Muslim sect.)
Somebody, probably within the police,
hit on the brilliant idea of installing metal-detectors to prevent such
Three minutes' thought would have
sufficed to understand that this was
a foolish idea. On a good day, hundreds of thousands of
Muslims enter the Temple Mount, in order to pray in and near the al-Aqsa
mosque, one of the three most holy places of Islam (after Mecca and
Medina). Getting them to pass the detectors would have been like passing
an elephant through the eye of a needle.
It would have been easy
to phone the Waqf (Muslim trust) officials, who are in charge of the
Mount. These would have quashed the idea, because it would have asserted
Israeli sovereignty over the holy place. They could also have phoned the
king of Jordan, who is formally in charge of the Waqf, who would have
put an end to the nonsense.
But the idea reached Erdan, who
grasped immediately that such an act would turn him into a hero. Erdan
is 46 years old and was educated in a religious seminary. In the army,
he did not serve in a combat unit, but in an office. The typical career
of a right-wing politician.
Erdan behaved like a child playing
with fire near a gasoline container. The metal detectors were put in
place without informing the waqf or the king. At the last moment he
informed Netanyahu, who was about to go abroad.
many expensive hobbies, but his most cherished pleasure is to go abroad
and meet with the world's great, in order to prove that he is one of
them. He was about to meet with the new president of France and after
that four leaders of Eastern Europe, all of them half-democrats and
Netanyahu was not in the mood to deal with the
nonsense of Erdan, one of his dwarfs, when he was about to meet with the
world's giants. Without quite understanding what he was doing, he agreed
to the detectors.
It is not clear when the General Security
Service (Shabak) was asked. But this body, which is deeply connected
with the Arab reality, warned against it. So did army intelligence. But
who are they compared to Erdan and his police commissioner, a kippah-wearing
commander, who is no genius either.
THE MOMENT the detectors
were put in place, events exploded. In the eyes of the Muslims, it
looked like an Israeli attempt to change the status quo and become
masters of the Temple Mount. The gasoline container caught fire.
The folly of the decision became clear at once. Jehovah and Allah
entered the scene. The Muslim worshipers would not pass through the
detectors. The multitudes started to pray in the streets.
severity of the matter soon became evident. The Muslims, both Israeli
citizens and subjects in the occupied territories, who a moment before
were just a faceless mass, were suddenly revealed as a determined
people, ready for a fight. That was a real achievement of Erdan’s.
The detectors did not discover any weapons, but they
revealed the dimensions of the government's foolishness. Mass
demonstrations took place in Jerusalem, in the Arab townships in Israel,
in the occupied territories and in the neighboring countries. On the
first weekend, seven persons were killed, hundreds were wounded.
The new idol was called "sovereignty". The Israeli authorities could not
remove the detectors without “giving up sovereignty" (and also “giving
in to the terrorists"). The waqf could not give in without sacrificing
"sovereignty" over the third holy place of Islam.
By the way, not a single government
in the world recognizes Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.
The Muslims are afraid that if the Jews take over the Temple Mount,
they will destroy the Dome of the Rock (the beautiful blue and
gold-capped structure) and the al- Aqsa mosque, and build the Third
Temple in their place. That may sound crazy, but there already exist in
Israel fringe groups that are training priests and producing implements
for the temple.
According to Barbara Tuchman, leaders can be
accused of folly only if at least one wise person had warned them. In
our case, such a person was Moshe Dayan, who, immediately after the
conquest of the Mount in 1967, ordered the Israeli flag to be removed
and forbade the soldiers to enter.
NOBODY KNEW how to get out of
Netanyahu did not interrupt his successful tour
abroad in order to hurry home and take things into his own hands. Why
would he? If he hurried home every time one of his minions committed a
foolish act, how could he and Sara'le, his wife, enjoy the world?
And then a divine miracle happened. God Himself entered the fray.
A Jordanian handyman was working in the apartment of an Israeli security
guard in the Israeli embassy in Amman. Suddenly he attacked the guard
with a screwdriver and slightly wounded him. The guard drew his revolver
and shot him dead. For good measure, he also shot and killed the owner
of the apartment, a Jordanian physician.
It is not clear whether
the incident happened because of a quarrel over money or whether the
handyman suddenly decided to become a "shahid" (martyr). Neither is it
clear why the guard shot him dead, instead of shooting him in the leg or
using the unarmed combat techniques in which he was trained.
former Prime Minister, Yitzhak Shamir, not a small terrorist himself,
once pronounced that no (Arab) terrorist should be allowed to leave the
scene of a terror act alive. And indeed, since then hardly one has left
alive, whether a girl with scissors or a man swinging a screwdriver.
Even a seriously wounded attacker, lying on the ground and bleeding
severely, was shot in the head. (The shooter was released from detention
Anyhow, for Netanyahu and Erdan the Amman incident
was a gift from heaven. The Jordanian king agreed to release the
security guard without investigation, in return for the removal of the
metal detectors in Jerusalem. With a sigh of relief that could be heard
throughout the country, Netanyahu agreed. No Israeli could refuse to
remove the detectors in return for the saving of one of our gallant
boys. It was not a giving up of "sovereignty", it was the saving of a
Jew – an old Jewish commandment.
All the members of the embassy
staff were returned to Israel – about an hour's drive – and Netanyahu
feted their "salvation" – though nobody had threatened them.
THE meanwhile another thing happened.
Netanyahu does not fear
God or the Arabs. He fears Naftali Bennett.
Bennett is the
leader of the "Jewish Home" party, the successor of the
National-Religious party, once the most moderate party in the country.
Now they are the most extreme right-wing party. It is a small faction,
with only eight Knesset members (out of 120), but that is enough to
break up the coalition and bring the government down. Netanyahu is
mortally afraid of them.
When the fury over the detectors was at
its peak, a young Arab entered Halamish settlement and killed three
members of a settler family. He was wounded and captured, miraculously
left alive and hospitalized.
Just a few hours later, Bennett and
his female Minister of Justice demanded that the assailant be executed.
There is no death penalty in Israel, but for some reason this penalty
was not stricken from the codex of military courts. So Bennett and his
beautiful Justice Minister demanded its use.
In all the history
of the State of Israel, only two people have ever been executed by legal
process. One was Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust.
The other was an engineer convicted of espionage (wrongly, it later
appeared) in the first weeks of the state.
The demand for the
death penalty is incredibly stupid. Every Muslim "terrorist" dreams of
becoming a "shahid" – one who sacrifices his life for Allah and reaches
paradise. His execution would fulfill his dream. And nothing arouses
national and international emotion more than an execution.
There is something sick about enthusiasts of the death penalty and the
public that supports them. If their demand were accepted – no chance –
this would constitute a great victory for the Muslim fanatics.
Fortunately, all the Israeli security services object strenuously to the
But in an establishment dominated by folly, even this
folly attracts some attention and support.
Share the link of this article with your facebook friends