British involvement in a dangerous Middle East provocation
The Global March to Jerusalem, the latest high-profile stunt against Israel, involves the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iranian-linked elements, not to mention a significant British contingent
Nearly a year ago to the day, on February 18th 2011, the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi, addressed a victory rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square at which he called for the re-conquest of Jerusalem by his co-religionists.
Few subjects on the Islamist agenda are as galvanising as that of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and severe violence has frequently erupted or been engineered by interested parties due to the spread of rumours of 'threats' to the integrity of the Waqf-administered area.
Now, with the Middle East in its second year of turmoil and uncertainty, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Iranian-linked elements are planning to exploit the sensitivity of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque in order to recruit participants in a 'Global March on Jerusalem', scheduled for March 30th.
This latest high-profile publicity stunt - designed to further the assault on the legitimacy of Israel – involves groups of international marchers (the organisers are hoping for a million participants) setting out from the surrounding countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and converging upon Israel's borders whilst demanding the right to reach Jerusalem.
Profiles of the organisers and their affiliations can be read in the two-part report that I compiled for CiF Watch. As the report shows, a significant number of those involved are British citizens, many of whom supply ideological and material support to Hamas – an organisation of course proscribed by their own government. On February 21st they will host a meeting of the European organisers of the planned campaign in London.
The United Kingdom has the dubious distinction of being recognised as a major hub of anti-Israel activity and has become infamous for the often perplexing approach to some of its citizens' ideological and material support for terrorist groups employed by authorities such as the Charity Commission and certain members of its media.
It is a basic premise of national sovereignty that a country has the right – and indeed the obligation – to control its borders, to determine which non-citizens it allows to enter, to remove those entering without authorisation and to take steps necessary in order to protect its own citizens. Even the EU policy of internal free movement is rooted in the understanding that "[l]ifting internal borders requires strengthened management of the Union’s external borders as well as regulated entry and residence of non-EU nationals".
The participants in the 'Global March on Jerusalem' have already stated that they will not apply for the necessary visas in order to enter Israel. Some of them are citizens of countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations. Some are also members of or associated with terror organisations dedicated to Israel's destruction and a significant number have previously taken part in one or more of the 'flotilla' campaigns designed to break the maritime blockade (deemed legitimate and legal in the UN's Palmer report) on the Gaza Strip.
It is therefore clear that the pre-planned result of this march will be provocation and unnecessary confrontation which – as has been the case in the past - could well result in tragedy.
Israel will of course take the necessary actions in order to protect its civilians from foreign illegal entrants storming its borders, just as any other nation (including the United Kingdom and others) would do.
It would, however, be to the ultimate benefit of any potential British participants in the march - and to the increasingly difficult task of preventing violent confrontation in the Middle East in general - were the UK authorities to adopt a more robust approach to the subject of those of their citizens who openly collaborate with terror organisations intent upon keeping calm and stability in the Middle East a pipe dream.
Hadar Sela is an Anglo-Israeli writer and blogger living in Israel
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