Warnings of widespread violence in Jerusalem on Monday proved to be unneeded, but police say the real test will be Tuesday.So let me get this - Hamas, Fatah, Egypt, and Jordan all say that if a synagogue is dedicated, it will lead to bloodshed. Why? Nobody pretends that the Hurva was anything but a synagogue, and that it was destroyed in the fighting in 1948. Why should its rebuilding and rededication cause anyone a problem? It's nowhere near Al-Aqsa, it's in the middle of the Jewish Quarter. Any final status agreement, regardless of what else it says, will give the Jewish Quarter to Israel. It won't be under Palestinian sovereignty.
Hamas announced a "day of rage" in response to the dedication of the restored Hurva synagogue in the Old City's Jewish Quarter, police said. Large forces will continue to be deployed throughout the city, with 3,000 police and border police officers stationed in East Jerusalem and neighboring villages.
Police on Monday attributed the relative quiet to the limitations placed on entry to Temple Mount and to the extensive police work. Palestinian commentators said Monday the general Palestinian public seems to disapprove of the leadership's attempts to fan the flames.
The quiet does not appear to have been affected by attempts of senior Hamas and Fatah officials to ratchet up the violence. On Sunday, Fatah's Mahmoud Dahlan and Hatem Abdelkader called on residents of East Jerusalem and Israeli Arabs to arrive and defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Palestinian Liberation Organization Executive Committee chairman Yasser Abed Rabo called on Israel to refrain from dedicating the Hurva synagogue. Hamas, too, warned of bloodshed if the synagogue is dedicated, and similar warnings have been made by Egyptian and Jordanian diplomats.
I think that Jeffrey Goldberg is right:
The fact that Hamas -- and even some in Fatah -- are protesting this rededication means that we might still be at square one, which is to say, where Arafat was in 2000, when he denied the historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem. This is not about building apartments for Jews near Arab villages on the outskirts of Jerusalem. I think Arab East Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine, and if the price of peace is turning over those apartment buildings to the Palestinian Authority, then so be it. But this is about denying the right of Judaism to exist in its holiest city.