Palestinian leaders call for general strike

After two weeks of tension and flare-ups in Jerusalem, Palestinian leaders Thursday called for a one-day general strike on Friday and warned of more street protests. Reuters reports:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction made the call for the strike on Friday in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, and Palestinian leaders warned of the likelihood of a battle ahead of Friday prayers at al-Aqsa mosque.The compound housing the mosque is a holy place for both Muslims and Jews, and has often been a flashpoint. …Tensions rose two weeks ago when police and protesters clashed near al-Aqsa mosque on the eve of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. What triggered the incident remains unclear, but the dispute over access to the holy site was at the root of it. …Palestinians in senior positions have warned of the risk of a “third intifada,” or general uprising.

Israel is denying the possibility of a third intifada. “I don’t think we’re facing a third intifada,” Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom said in a statement to Reuters. Israeli intelligence assessments reportedly indicate the unrest in East Jerusalem will not escalate.

Others see the situation a bit differently. “King Abdullah of Jordan, who plays a key part in management of al-Aqsa, said in an interview with Israel’s Haaretz newspaper that Jerusalem was ‘a tinderbox’ that could explode with reverberations felt throughout the Muslim world” (Reuters, October 8).

Mohammad Dahlan, a leader in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, charged that Israel “has opened the battle of Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki called on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday to intervene to prevent Israel from what he called “Israeli escalation measures against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and the actions the Israelis have been taking in recent days against al-Aqsa mosque.”

Israel has limited access to the mosque for Muslim men under age 50 in response to violence incited by Muslims. Seventy-five Arab Muslims have been arrested in the recent wave of violence. The detainees, says, “are suspected of attacking policemen, blocking off roads, hurling rocks and fire bombs, disturbing the peace and illegal demonstration.”

Jerusalem truly is a tinderbox. As we have encouraged our readers before, watch Jerusalem. When tension in this city reaches breaking point, a phenomenal series of end-time events will ensue. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in 2006, “Zechariah 14 contains an end-time prophecy about half of Jerusalem falling to the enemy. When half of Jerusalem falls, it starts a chain reaction of events—an avalanche of crises—that leads directly to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming!” Our booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy details that series of events.