The Obama administration has embarked on a rather difficult mission to calm the violence in Israel which has left four Israelis and twenty four Palestinians dead.
The unrest which has lasted for 12 days now is said to be due to anger of the Palestinians over Israel limiting access to the al Asqa mosque which is known to the muslim as the third most holiest place in Islam. The site is also a revered site to the jews, known as the temple mount.
This recent outbreak of violence is slowing streaming to another intifada or uprising.
The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has already made contact with the Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and plans on traveling soon to see if an Isreali-Palestinian peace process can push through.
The move by the US is one that is not necessary and also one that looks like a white elephant mission. The past secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, couldn’t get to Unify the two nations, a problem which still is a headache to John Kerry. Also, relations between Obama and Netanyahu remain as chilly as ever — particularly after the Iran nuclear deal put them on opposite sides of the debate and it’s unclear how much sway the administration still has in the volatile region.
Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Fox News analyst, cited Netanyahu’s visit last month to Moscow to meet with Putin
to discuss Syria. “He can see that Obama’s Middle East non-policy has failed utterly,” Peters said.
Kerry may be hoping his personal touch can help bring both sides together as tensions reach a critical point. Israeli Cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said the current conflict had less to do with political differences and more with anti-Semitic incitement to create a religious war. He quoted Abbas’ recent statement where he blessed “every drop of blood spilled for Allah” and said Jews desecrated a Jerusalem holy site with their “filthy feet.”
Steinitz said, “It’s all about horrible, anti-Jewish, racist incitement.”
A Column in the National Review by attorney and writer David French said Israel is “on the brink of a third intifada,” and questioned whether the Obama administration’s waning influence in the region might fuel the unrest.
But Brookings Institution fellow Khaled Elgindy told Al Jazeera America it’s “too early to say this is the ‘third intifada’ because we don’t yet see an organized political leadership that can coordinate the various Palestinian pieces of this and can articulate political demands.