23 January, 2021

Tunnel To Violence

Ethnic violence jeopardises the West Asia peace process

Tunnel To Violence

IT was a disaster waiting to happen. The opening of a "tourist site", an 800 m tunnel that connects the Wailing Wall in the southern part of the Old City of Jerusalem with Via Dolorosa in the north, threw East Jerusalem and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) territories into religious turmoil. And as the violence, which left 83 dead, finally blew over, the scene of damage control endeavours shifted to Washington DC as US President Bill Clinton invited the leaders of Israel, the PNA and Jordan to the White House. But observers are sceptical about their ability to pacify angry Palestinians.

That clashes would ensue became clear on the day Jerusalem’s hardline mayor, Ehud Olmert, broke down the wall at the northern entrance of the tunnel. In fact, a Fatah (the militant wing of the PNA) leader, Bassam a-Sayeh, had then predicted to Outlook that this would provoke a fresh, uprising which would be very violent—a ‘Hot Intifada’, as it were. Sayeh was proven right last fortnight when dozens of Palestinians and Israelis were...



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