Friday morning's holy violence at Al Aqsa

Vel Nirtist
"With our soul, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa," the Palestinian crowd shouted yesterday, according to the press report,

"The soldiers of Satan want to turn Al-Aqsa into a synagogue."
What was it that caused yesterday's brouhaha, and this morning's battle with the police? Israel's plan to "strengthen an access ramp to Dung Gate for the ‘benefit and safety of visitors' after an earthquake and snowstorm damage in 2004," as per the same report.

In stressing how explosive that engineering project is, the report reminds us that

"The compound, which houses both the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is where the second Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 after a controversial visit by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon. In 1996, more than 80 people were killed in three days of Palestinian riots after then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a new entrance to a controversial archaeological tunnel near the holy sites,"
and warns, by quoting Israel's top daily Yediot Aharonot,

"The volcano in Jerusalem is threatening to erupt once again, and perhaps to ignite a third intifada."
The standard Israeli reply is to point out that such "outrage" over "desecration" is pre-planned, and that the previous intifada erupted not as a spontaneous reaction to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, but that his visit was merely a pretext for starting a carefully pre-planned war.  

But it is far more interesting to examine the logic of the "outraged" on its own terms. I tried to do it some ten months ago in "Greeks, Arabs and stones," and the argument and its conclusion bears quotation in today's situation, too:
"what exactly happened to the stone [around which the mosque is built, and from which Mohammed presumably went to heaven] when Sharon stood near it? Some horrible irreversible damage must have been done to it, to justify all the orgy of murder that followed. Perhaps before Sharon's visit, Mohammed indeed ascended from this stone to heaven, but not after Sharon's visit? Perhaps before Sharon stopped by, anyone stepping on that stone immediately found himself visiting heaven, but once Sharon stood near it, the stone lost this magical spaceship quality, understandably causing the rage of Palestinian heaven-tourists?

The bottom line is, is this stone considered holy because it is holy, or is it holy because it is considered holy? It will take a lot of explaining to prove the former, and if the latter is the case, we are dealing here with a bad case of idolatrous stone-worship of the most primitive kind - and we need to say it loud and clear."
I know it is not a politically correct argument. But doesn't it make sense, all the same?
"With our soul, with our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for Al-Aqsa," the Palestinian crowd shouted yesterday, according to the press report,

"The soldiers of Satan want to turn Al-Aqsa into a synagogue."
What was it that caused yesterday's brouhaha, and this morning's battle with the police? Israel's plan to "strengthen an access ramp to Dung Gate for the ‘benefit and safety of visitors' after an earthquake and snowstorm damage in 2004," as per the same report.

In stressing how explosive that engineering project is, the report reminds us that

"The compound, which houses both the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, is where the second Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 after a controversial visit by then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon. In 1996, more than 80 people were killed in three days of Palestinian riots after then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a new entrance to a controversial archaeological tunnel near the holy sites,"
and warns, by quoting Israel's top daily Yediot Aharonot,

"The volcano in Jerusalem is threatening to erupt once again, and perhaps to ignite a third intifada."
The standard Israeli reply is to point out that such "outrage" over "desecration" is pre-planned, and that the previous intifada erupted not as a spontaneous reaction to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, but that his visit was merely a pretext for starting a carefully pre-planned war.  

But it is far more interesting to examine the logic of the "outraged" on its own terms. I tried to do it some ten months ago in "Greeks, Arabs and stones," and the argument and its conclusion bears quotation in today's situation, too:
"what exactly happened to the stone [around which the mosque is built, and from which Mohammed presumably went to heaven] when Sharon stood near it? Some horrible irreversible damage must have been done to it, to justify all the orgy of murder that followed. Perhaps before Sharon's visit, Mohammed indeed ascended from this stone to heaven, but not after Sharon's visit? Perhaps before Sharon stopped by, anyone stepping on that stone immediately found himself visiting heaven, but once Sharon stood near it, the stone lost this magical spaceship quality, understandably causing the rage of Palestinian heaven-tourists?

The bottom line is, is this stone considered holy because it is holy, or is it holy because it is considered holy? It will take a lot of explaining to prove the former, and if the latter is the case, we are dealing here with a bad case of idolatrous stone-worship of the most primitive kind - and we need to say it loud and clear."
I know it is not a politically correct argument. But doesn't it make sense, all the same?