For any who are still curious why Israel doesn’t simply acquiesce to Palestinian demands for an independent state and end the conflict, Hamas once again happily provided the answer in a revealing interview with Arab media last week.
Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar told the Ramallah-based Palestinian newspaper that if his group could “transfer what it has [in Gaza] or just a small part of it to the West Bank, we would be able to settle the battle of the final promise [to destroy Israel] with a speed that no one can imagine.”
Dozens of veiled rioters hurled stones and fireworks at police officers Wednesday morning on the Temple Mount. A police force entered the compound and pushed the assailants back into the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex; four officers were wounded and were treated by medics on location.
Five rioters were arrested. Police and Palestinian sources said the clashes were premeditated – a group of Palestinians had spent the night at the compound in order to intensify the tense atmosphere in the morning hours.
The rioters barricaded parts of the compound and doused the barricades with flammable liquids. They threw rocks and cinder blocks towards police from within the Al-Aqsa Mosque; they fired fireworks and even hurled a Molotov cocktail, which smashed against a police officer's shield but did not ignite.
Jerusalem Police maintained an increased alert posture this morning. Officers, Border Guard units, and volunteers were deployed across the city in crowded sites, shopping centers, and markets – as well as flash points like the Old City and around synagogues – in order to maintain the peace and protect worshippers.
The unnamed official, speaking to CNN, maintained the Obama administration’s main focus centered on the jihadists’ strategic gains in Iraq.
The official added that the US believed the town would fall into the hands of the Islamic State.
Capturing Kobani would give the Islamic State group, which already rules a huge stretch of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border, a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east. It would also give the group full control of a large stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border.
Syria’s Kurds have struggled to gain the sort of Western backing that their brethren in Iraq enjoy, and the aerial campaign around Kobani has been far more limited than the airstrikes against Islamic State fighters attacking Iraqi Kurdish areas. The US and its allies also have not agreed to arm Syrian Kurds like they have Iraqi Kurds.