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Is the violence in Jerusalem, Gaza, Mansour Abbas’s moment? – comment

CM 26/04/2021

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If he wills it, Ra’am (United Arab List) leader Mansour Abbas could turn this volatile moment of bubbling violence in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Gaza into a transformational one.If he wills it, Abbas could break from the patterns of many Arab-Israeli politicians who have come before and use a moment of tension to try to douse flames, not fan them; to urge reconciliation, not confrontation; to humanize Israel, not demonize it.If he wills it, Abbas could take to the airwaves with a message of peace, not the reflexive message of Israel, the brutal occupier who is to blame for the violence for trying to “Judaize” Jerusalem.Granted, Abbas is only one MK in a small Arab party, and he is not single-handedly going to transform the region or the conflict.But if he is seen by the Jewish public as genuinely trying to tamp down tension, not ride on its back to gain points elsewhere, then this could have a significant impact on how Arab parties are viewed by the Israeli public. No one is helped here by Arab MKs being viewed as enemies, not partners.Even if Abbas won’t be able to succeed in tamping down the tensions in Jerusalem, the very act of trying to do so would win over a good part of the Jewish public.There is much to regret about the last elections – the stalemate, the logjam, the possibility of going to yet another. But one thing that it did produce was a healthy willingness by much of the Jewish public to work together politically with Israeli Arab parties, and an equal willingness by a significant sector of the Arab public to work together with all components of Israeli society, including the Right.

Abbas delivered a watershed speech in Nazareth on April 1, declaring a willingness to work with all parts of the Israeli political spectrum.What made that speech refreshing and even visionary was that he did not stick to the expected script. He didn’t blast Israel – as other Arab MKs reflexively do – for racism, oppression, “apartheid” and the “occupation.” Instead, his message was that by working together, everyone’s situation could be improved.That speech created a moment where it looked like, finally, there could be cooperation between Israeli Jews and Arabs at the political level. Not all Jews are ready – witness the Religious Zionist Party’s rejection of Abbas and Ra’am as coalition partners – but many are.It seemed that the trauma of the coronavirus – where Jewish and Arab medical professionals worked side by side – created a sense among many of a shared destiny that radiated outward.Then came the violence in Jerusalem and Jaffa, and the rockets from Gaza, and everything suddenly seemed to go back to how it has always been. These tensions between Arab and Jew came, ironically, at a time when there seemed to be more of a willingness than ever for political cooperation between Arab and Jew for the good of the whole.Abbas, if he wants, could leverage this moment. He could publicly call for an end to the rocket attacks from Gaza, for an end to the violence in Jerusalem. He could try to talk to the Arab leaders in Jerusalem.Will this have a significant impact on the situation on the ground? Unlikely. Forces much stronger than Abbas and his small Ra’am Party – Fatah, Hamas, Iran – each have an interest for their own reasons in sowing unrest right now.Abbas may never be able to gain the trust of the likes of the Religious Zionist Party’s Bezalel Smotrich and those to his right, who accuse him of supporting terrorists. But he could take much of the air out of that argument by taking a firm stand now and taking the lead in calming down the situation.It won’t be easy. Abbas will be accused by many of his own people of being a traitor to the cause. But this could be a significant moment in reshaping relations between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs. It will, however, take rising to the occasion. Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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