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Israel, Jordan fear violence over Temple Mount

Jordan is caught between a rock and a hard place: It has recalled its envoy in reaction to violence outbreaks on the Temple Mount, but still seeks to maintain its strategic ties with Israel.
An Israeli solider points his weapon toward Palestinian protesters during clashes following an anti-Israel demonstration over the recent entry restrictions to the al-Aqsa mosque, at Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah November 2, 2014. A far-right politician who wants Jews to be allowed to pray at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa compound visited the site on Sunday, defying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calls for restraint after clashes this week between Israeli police and Palestinians. Sunday

The events that unfolded during the first week of November have silenced even the last remaining skeptics who continued to argue that what has been happening in Jerusalem are isolated disturbances, which do not constitute an exception to the ordinary situation. This debate is now over. Almost everyone understands that something is afoot in Jerusalem. One might call it a third intifada, despite the fact that its features and progress are different from to the previous two intifadas. It should also be kept in mind that the first two intifadas were also radically different from each other. The first one was a broad popular uprising, whose weapons of choice were mainly rocks, burning tires and makeshift slingshots, and sometimes knives. The second one was a murderous inferno, consisting of dozens if not hundreds of suicide bombers who blew themselves up amid innocent civilians, until this phenomenon was stopped thanks to Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. There is no reason why the third intifada — if this indeed marks its onset — cannot reinvent itself. To date, its hallmarks have been the use of firecrackers against the security forces as well as "run-over attacks" by vehicles.

The fire that is blazing in East Jerusalem is not about to subside in the near future. This incident could spiral out of control, potentially impacting other volatile fronts in the region, from the Sinai Peninsula to Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and possibly as far as Afghanistan. The greatest fear is that a war of religion will break out, that is to say no longer a territorial or national conflict or the combination of the two. Now it is (radical) Islam pitted against (radical) Jews. Although we are talking about a handful of people on either side, and while the silent majority wants quiet, the problem is that those few extremists dominate the agenda, sweeping with them the public at large.

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