Religion makes Israeli-Palestinian conflict more volatile

World Today

Recent unrest in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians has threatened to boil over beyond anyone’s ability to contain it. Palestinians have accused Jews of dishonoring Islam’s third holiest site. Israelis countered, saying they’re entitled to pray there. Violent clashes ensued. CCTV America’s Stephanie Freid reported how religion makes this particular conflict more volatile from Jerusalem. 

Religion makes Israeli-Palestinian conflict more volatile

Recent unrest in Jerusalem between Israelis and Palestinians has threatened to boil over beyond anyone's ability to contain it. Palestinians have accused Jews of dishonoring Islam's third holiest site. Israelis countered, saying they're entitled to pray there. Violent clashes ensued. CCTV America's Stephanie Freid reported how religion makes this particular conflict more volatile from Jerusalem.

Rioting, chaos, clashes all sparked when right wing Jews and Israeli parliament members visited the site of al-Aqsa mosque after the Israeli government restricted Moslems from entering to worship.

Palestinians claimed Israel wanted to control more than the mosque, but all of Jerusalem. There were killings on both sides, and the conflict escalated.

Religious leaders have asked both sides to back away from a blood feud based on religion.

“A religious war is very difficult to extinguish. A political war is manageable in comparison,” said Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch from Western Wall.

But the term “religious war” being bandied about begs the questions of what is a religious war, what constitutes a religious war and how is it different from a standard, run-of-the-mill, everyday war.

Political analysts said it is involved a perceived threat within a religious context.

Muslims and Jews feel threatened by a possible loss of control over sites that both consider sacred. Both turned houses of worship into battlegrounds. Israeli police fired guns at Palestinians in the al-Aqsa’s mosque compound, and Palestinians killed Jewish worshipers during prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue.

“A religious war usually is motivated by a belief that God is on your side. God is a very potent actor in international relations. You are ready to make great sacrifices. You have great patience, which means you are ready to fight for a long time if God is on your side,” said Professor Efraim Inbar, a Middle East analyst.

Historically, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been considered a clash of religions, but the focus has been on property and politics. Because this news conflict erupted over access to religious sites, the stakes are higher and the emotions are more intense.