Al-Aqsa Terrorism: The Role of Religious Motivation in Popular Terrorism

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<br /> Al-Aqsa Terrorism: The Role of Religious Motivation in Popular Terrorism – The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center




Al-Aqsa Terrorism: The Role of Religious Motivation in Popular Terrorism – The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center





























































Hajjaj_cartoons’ Instagram account. From Nadav Shragai’s book, page 125)

Hajjaj_cartoons’ Instagram account. From Nadav Shragai’s book, page 125)

Poster depicting the Al-Aqsa in danger libel (Hajaj_cartoons’ Instagram account, from Nadav Shragai’s book, page 125)

Poster depicting the Al-Aqsa in danger libel (Hajaj_cartoons’ Instagram account, from Nadav Shragai’s book, page 125)

Posters calling on Palestinians to chop off the Israeli hand that covets the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to carry out stabbing attacks (Right: Syrilution’s Facebook page, page 43 in Nadav Shragai’s book; Left: Moh.bassam.3’s Facebook page, page 40 in Nadav Shragai’s book)

Posters calling on Palestinians to chop off the Israeli hand that covets the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to carry out stabbing attacks (Right: Syrilution’s Facebook page, page 43 in Nadav Shragai’s book; Left: Moh.bassam.3’s Facebook page, page 40 in Nadav Shragai’s book)

Posters calling on Palestinians to chop off the Israeli hand that covets the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to carry out stabbing attacks (Right: Syrilution’s Facebook page, page 43 in Nadav Shragai’s book; Left: Moh.bassam.3’s Facebook page, page 40 in Nadav Shragai’s book)

Posters calling on Palestinians to chop off the Israeli hand that covets the Al-Aqsa Mosque and to carry out stabbing attacks (Right: Syrilution’s Facebook page, page 43 in Nadav Shragai’s book; Left: Moh.bassam.3’s Facebook page, page 40 in Nadav Shragai’s book)

(Article by Nadav Shragai based on his new book: Al-Aqsa Terror – From Libel to Blood, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in collaboration with Sella Meir Publishing House)
Highlights
  • The Al-Aqsa in danger libel is deeply rooted in the days of the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini and dates back to the 1920s and 1930s. This libel has been intensified in recent decades and has been a highly effective religious trigger for motivating Popular Terrorism, and more often than not also for motivating organized terrorist attacks. The libel arouses strong feelings among the Muslim general public, both religious and nationalist, and it also creates a sense of unity among the Arabs of Israel and those of Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.
  •   Hundreds of terrorist attacks or attempted attacks, carried out throughout Israel in recent years as part of the Popular Terrorism, were carried out by terrorists who were inspired by this false libel and believed that Israel was working to destroy the mosques on the Temple Mount. Over the years, the libel ceased to be mere incitement and false propaganda and became a terrorist production line. Some of the Al-Aqsa shaheeds had severe personal problems or were mentally disturbed. They chose to channel their personal problems to religion and nationalism, and to the path of terrorism, in order to gain rehabilitation and purification in Palestinian society.
Posters depicting the Israeli threat to the Al-Aqsa Mosque (right: Khalaji.mohammadali’s Instagram account; Left: Hajjaj_cartoons’ Instagram account. From Nadav Shragai’s book, page 125)
Posters depicting the Israeli threat to the Al-Aqsa Mosque (right: Khalaji.mohammadali’s Instagram account; Left: Hajjaj_cartoons’ Instagram account. From Nadav Shragai’s book, page 125)
  • The connection and interaction between shahada (i.e., self-sacrifice for the sake of Islam) and the strong and almost blind belief that Al-Aqsa was in danger led to Al-Aqsa terrorism in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. This was Popular Terrorism, carried out mainly by individuals and not directed by any specific organization. It was inspired by the alleged threat to Al-Aqsa and from shahada, and its perpetrators were Al-Aqsa shaheeds. For example, 67 of the 71 terrorist attacks carried out in Jerusalem between August 2014 and May 2016 were related in one way or another to the so-called crimes of the Jews on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa. These were mentioned as the only reason, or as one of the reasons, that motivated the perpetrator to carry out an attack.
  • A study conducted by Prof. Ariel Merari and Prof. Boaz Ganor for the Israeli Ministry of Internal Security indicates that the terrorist attacks were based on a combination of motivations: psychological circumstances, ideological motives and personal circumstances. Two-thirds of all the perpetrators included in the sample of personal interviews carried out by Prof. Merari and Prof. Ganor suffered from a mental disorder, psychosis or suicidal tendency. A total of 54% of the respondents even noted that they would have preferred to die in the attack. The obvious question is this: Was it the terrorists’ personal problems, and sometimes also their suicidal tendencies, that led them to carry out the attack on their own volition? Or was it Palestinian society that urged them and urges people in distress to become shaheeds in order to “save the Al-Aqsa Mosque” or to promote nationalist Palestinian ideas?
  • The answer to these questions is fairly clear: in a significant number of cases, reality shows that the Al-Aqsa shaheeds initially suffered from another significant personal problem that was not religious or nationalist. Palestinian society, which is not an open society, has not been able to contain their problems, nor has it provided them with professional tools to enable them to cope with them. Many of them therefore preferred to channel their severe personal problems to religion and nationalism, and to the path of terrorism, drawing inspiration from the dual Palestinian ethos of Al-Aqsa in danger and shahada.



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