“Intifada” is an Arabic word literally meaning, as a noun, “tremor,” “shivering,” “shuddering,” … and a key concept in contemporary Arabic usage referring to a legitimate uprising against oppression [of Palestinians by Israelis].”1
There have been two “intifadas” to date: the First Intifada, 1987 – 1993, and the Second Intifada (also known as the “Al Aqsa Intifada”), 2000 – 2005, both periods of intense violence by Palestinians against Israeli “occupation.” The Second Intifada reached its tipping point when the late Ariel Sharon (considered by many Jews to be the greatest military commander in Israeli history, and referred to in his day as the “king of Israel“) made a visit to the Temple Mount, surrounded by hundreds of riot police. In the aftermath, thousands of Palestinians were killed.
We are likely headed towards a Third Intifada. Why should Palestinian-Jewish violence concern those in distant lands? The Bible says that Jerusalem is the “center of the world” (Ezekiel 38:12 NASB). What happens at the “center of the world” impacts the entire world. What’s more, its all about the Temple Mount, the holiest patch of ground on the face of the earth. The Temple Mount once located Solomon’s Temple, and then, Herod’s Temple before the Romans destroyed it in 70 A.D. The same patch of ground now contains the second and third holiest sites in Islam, the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque.
The Temple Mount is under the administration of a Jordanian-run Muslim charitable trust called the “Waqf” which has held this responsibility since the reconquest of Jerusalem by the Muslims in the 12th century A.D. After Israel conquered the Arabs in the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel allowed the Waqf to retain administration over the Temple Mount.2 Muslims can pray on the Temple Mount. Non-muslims can only visit. Security for the Temple Mount (and entry to the Temple Mount) is the responsibility of the Israeli government. (Read this post for more background: Where the Concealed Prayers of a Jew Hasten the Tribulation). Access to the Temple Mount, of course, does not include sovereignty. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Jordanian Legion captured the Temple Mount (East Jerusalem). From that date until the reconquest of the Mount by Israel during the Six-Day War, Israeli Jews have not been allowed to enter Temple Mount except as visitors.3 In recent years, Jewish sovereignty of the Temple Mount has been an ever increasing point of contention, particularly as it relates to Temple-rebuilding activists in Israel. In late 2014, the Temple Mount was briefly closed to all visitors, both Muslim and non-Muslim, following the attempted assassination of Rabbi Yahuda Glick, a Jewish prayer-rights activist. Palestinians allege that Jews intend to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount, an allegation Jews flatly deny. Some are suggesting that Israel should restrict all non-Muslims from visiting the Temple Mount until a “cooling off” period can work to decrease the trend of escalating violence.
Violence in Jerusalem is escalating by the day. Perhaps the recent statement by an Israeli government official to Israelis tells us what the threat level is like to residents. Those who can legally “carry” firearms were encouraged to do so. One of the recent videos showed a Palestinian driving his automobile into a group gathered at a bus stop, followed by the driver’s exit to hack people to death with what appeared to be a butcher knife. A bystander shot the man with his pistol before he could stab others. Knives have been the “weapon of choice” for much of the recent violence. On the floor of the Israeli parliament, Prime Minister Netanyahu recently stated, “Knives will not defeat us.” The problem for Netanyahu (and all Jews in Israel) — a knife is personal. Unlike a bomb tightly wrapped to the chest of a suicide bomber, a knife is up close and personal. It is somehow a vastly different weapon, and brandishing one with hatred, fuels more such events. Hate does not dissipate with violence, in fact, the more violence the more hatred.
In an effort to head off future violence, Jordan recently offered to take over full control (security and access) of the holy site. Israel rejected the Jordanian request (surprise, surprise, since Jordan has not managed access to the Temple Mount since the 1967 Six-Day War). Al Jazeera recently reported that Israeli police have banned access to the Temple Mount on Palestinian men under the age of 40. A “Day of Rage” has been declared by Palestinians in Israeli occupied territories:
Protests have given way to clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians in areas across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip as at least four Palestinians were killed and dozens others injured while marking a “Day of Rage,” which was called for by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Read more.
A Day of Rage has been declared by the Palestinians against Israel. Interesting — It could lead to another day of rage, not by man, but by God:
The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, 2 “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3 “It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. 4 “In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. …8 “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who bis feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.
9 “And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.
Jesus come quickly.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intifada [↩]
- The Waqf consists of a director, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and the Islamic Council of trustees. [↩]
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Mount_entry_restrictions#Restrictions_under_Jordanian_rule [↩]