Israel reportedly took offense on Sunday over the Biden Administration added its voice to the international chorus blaming the Jewish state for the current unrest in Jerusalem.
Israeli police again stormed the Temple Mount on Monday (see above photo) in response to ongoing Muslim riots in the capital and beyond. Israel charges that these riots are being fueled by religious sermons and political incitement emanating from the Palestinian Authority.
But in what was described as a “heated” telephone conversation, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan strongly hinted to his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben-Shabbat, that the Biden Administration holds Israel responsible.
While the White House published a statement citing parts of what Sullivan said on the phone, Israel did not put out an official transcript of Ben-Shabbat’s response. Nevertheless, journalist Ariel Kahana, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for Israel Hayom, reported that Ben Shabbat replied harshly to the implication that Israel was to blame for the situation.
“Israel is managing these events from a sovereign position, with responsibility and discretion despite the provocations,” insisted Ben Shabbat. “International intervention is a reward for the rioters and those who sent them out of a hope of pressuring Israel.”
He told Sullivan that if Washington is truly interested in calming the situation in Jerusalem, then “pressure should be directed at the instigators and channels of incitement,” namely the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Kahana’s report did not have Ben Shabbat responding directly to the American’s insistence that Israel refrain from evicting Palestinians from two East Jerusalem properties that the courts have determined are still under Jewish ownership.
The Palestinians are adamant that the Sheikh Jarrah controversy is the cause of the current unrest, despite the fact that it is a decades-old property rights dispute that does not represent a new Israeli policy of “Judaizing” the eastern side of the city, as many in the international community now claim.