Home inContext Erakat Blows Smoke With “Lighting Matches” Comment

Erakat Blows Smoke With “Lighting Matches” Comment

Howard Gumnitzky

On Tuesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of “lighting matches in the hope of sparking a fire” in Jerusalem.  Erekat was referring to the unrest in Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound area, where some 150 Arab men threw rocks and bottles at police on Sunday.

Analysts fear the Palestinians may be mulling another “intifada,” or uprising.  After all, the al-Aqsa Intifada, a war launched by the late Yasir Arafat, began with coordinated rock-throwing and violence in October 2000.

While Jerusalem has long been a contentious issue between Israelis and Palestinians, Israel has taken steps to diffuse tensions. Indeed, since the city’s unification during the 1967 War, Israel has protected all Muslim and Christian holy cites. Israel recently ensured safe passage for hundreds of thousands of Muslim residents to enjoy the Ramadan holiday.