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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

A View of Jerusalem through the Smoke

Filed under: Hamas, Jerusalem, Palestinians

The rioting by the Arab shebab (youth) in eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods on Wednesday, July 2, is an extraordinary phenomenon in the relationship between various Arab communities in Jerusalem.

The Ramadan rioting indicates that, as elsewhere, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has little control over the Palestinian camps.  According to reports, a delegation from the PA attempted to visit the family of a slain teen and was chased off.

In contrast, eastern Jerusalem remained relatively quiet during two intifadas despite the aggressive attitude of the PA in nearby Ramallah.

The Fatah organization in east Jerusalem explained to Ramallah during the intifadas that the situation of the Palestinians in the Arab parts of Jerusalem was different from the situation in the administered territories and therefore they would not participate in the violence.  Indeed, most of the attacks in Jerusalem came from Ramallah.

Recently, two public opinion surveys, one American and one German, show that two-thirds of the Palestinians in east Jerusalem want to maintain the current situation, and the latter survey revealed that 70% prefer the status quo.  The poll also established that the security barrier in the territories strengthened the ties of the Arabs in eastern Jerusalem with the western side.

The goal of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas is to change the current situation – the Palestinian Authority because it sees eastern Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state, and  Hamas as part of a sweeping effort  by the Muslim Brotherhood to establish the Al-Aqsa Mosque as a unifying entity for the Arabs in preparation for the Muslim Caliphate.

It should be noted that the PA is not calling for riots, but for calm.  It seeks to recruit the Muslim world’s tourist traffic to Jerusalem in order to emphasize the non-Jewish character of the city.

Because Hamas wants to inflame the city, it opposes Muslim tourism as does the global Muslim Brotherhood movement.