April 13: The holy month of Ramadan begins. Many thousands of Muslims pray every day at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
April 13: Palestinian youth launch a “challenge” on TikTok to post videos of themselves randomly assaulting Jews in Jerusalem. Several of these videos are shared widely on social media.
April 14: In response to the violence, Israeli police put up barriers to prevent large crowds from gathering near the Damascus gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. The barriers lead to protests and clashes with the police. The barriers are removed on April 25th.
April 19: Extremist Jews in Jerusalem launch random revenge assaults against Palestinians; police arrest six Jewish suspects.
April 22: A far-right anti-Arab Jewish group called Lehava (“Flame” in Hebrew) marches in Jerusalem, chanting racist slogans. Palestinian counter-protesters clash with police, who used stun grenades and “skunk water” on both groups of protesters. Dozens are injured in the violence.
April 23-25: Hamas begins firing rockets at Israel and incites Palestinians to “continue mobilizing in the Old City.”
April 29: More clashes erupt at the Damascus Gate when Palestinians throw rocks, bottles, and fireworks at police.
April 30: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas postpones Palestinian elections. He blames Israel, but is widely believed to be motivated by concern that the terrorist group Hamas will defeat him and his allies at the polls. Analysts believe the following escalation toward violent conflict is mainly an effort by the terrorist group to gain political power and weaken their rival Abbas. They hope to do this by positioning themselves as the primary “defenders of Jerusalem.”
May 2: Yehuda Guetta, a 19-year-old Jewish student and resident of Jerusalem, is shot by a Palestinian terrorist at Tapuah Junction and later dies of his wounds. Two other Jewish students were shot and wounded in the attack as well.
May 3-7: Clashes break out in Sheikh Jarrah, ahead of an Israeli High Court hearing regarding a deeply controversial property dispute between Jews and Palestinians in the neighborhood.
May 4: Journalist Khaled Abu Toameh reports that terrorist groups in Gaza “call on Palestinians to arrive at al-Aqsa Mosque and ‘ignite an intifada against settlers.’” Hamas initiates a social media campaign inciting Palestinians to violence.
May 4: Prime Minister Netanyahu officially fails to form a government after Israel’s fourth national election in two years, leaving an unstable transitional government. Reports suggest that a coalition of parties across the political spectrum, including the conservative Arab Muslim Ra’am faction, is forming to replace Netanyahu’s government. This would represent unprecedented cooperation between Jewish and Arab parties in Israel.
May 7: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweets a series of inflammatory statements supporting terrorism against Israel. Hamas leader Fathi Hammad urges Palestinians in Jerusalem to “cut off the heads of the Jews with knives.”
Tens of thousands of Palestinians attend evening prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. After prayers end, protests and clashes with police break out, with parts of the crowd waving Hamas flags.
May 8: After prayers on Laylat al-Qadr, the holiest night of Ramadan, protests and clashes break out again with parts of the crowd chanting “Bomb, bomb Tel Aviv!”
May 9: During continued riots on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, Palestinians fire flares, which set fire to a tree near the Al Aqsa Mosque. Jewish Israelis, celebrating Jerusalem Day in the Western Wall Plaza beneath Al Aqsa, are photographed with the burning tree in the background. The photo spreads far and wide on social media with the false narrative that they are celebrating the burning of Al Aqsa.
Following a request by the Israeli government, Israel’s Supreme Court suspends its hearing on Sheikh Jarrah property dispute in hopes of reducing tensions and violence.
Hamas launches incendiary balloons from Gaza that set fire to hundreds of acres of Israeli agricultural land.
May 10: More riots break out near the Al Aqsa mosque. Israel’s police enter the area after thousands of Palestinians gathered in the compound overnight, having collected numerous rocks and other makeshift weapons at the holy site. Three hundred Palestinians and 21 police officers are injured.
Palestinian extremists attack a Jewish driver outside the Old City of Jerusalem and nearly lynch him. He is saved by a police officer firing his weapon into the air to disperse the mob.
Hamas issues an ultimatum demanding that by 6 pm local time Israel must withdraw from the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and Sheikh Jarrah and must release all Palestinians arrested in the week’s rioting.
May 10-Present: Massive assault by Hamas against Israel civilians.
Israel ignores Hamas’ ultimatum and immediately after 6 pm, the terrorist group fires a barrage of rockets at civilians in Jerusalem and southern Israel.
Hamas and its allies have launched more than 2,300 rockets aimed at murdering Israeli civilians since the fighting began. Israel has responded with hundreds of strikes aimed at stopping terrorists in Gaza from killing its people.
This violence has been a horrific tragedy for Israeli and Palestinian civilians. Several Israelis have been murdered and hundreds injured by terrorism from Gaza, including both Jewish and Arab citizens. More than 100 people have been killed in Gaza, with initial reports indicating most were members of terrorist groups. However, Palestinian civilians have been killed and wounded as well.
The main reason Palestinians in Gaza have died is because Hamas and its allies militarized their neighborhoods. Terrorist groups are committing a double war crime: firing at Israeli civilian communities from within Palestinian civilian communities. Some Palestinians have also been killed by Hamas rockets that fell short and landed in Gaza.
The only reason Hamas has not been able to murder massive numbers of Israelis is that Israel does everything it can to protect civilians. It has built bomb shelters in most Israeli homes and its Iron Dome defense system has shot down countless incoming rockets.
The IDF code of ethics requires Israeli soldiers to do everything they can to protect innocent life. The IDF does not intentionally target civilians as a matter of policy and goes beyond what the law requires by warning civilians before striking military targets. Nevertheless, it has proven impossible to stop terrorists in Gaza from attacking innocent Israelis without harming innocent Palestinians in the process. This is because Hamas and its allies intentionally put civilians directly in harm’s way.
Hamas also encouraged an unprecedented wave of mob violence by Arab extremists in Israel, and Jewish extremists retaliated with mob violence of their own. Jewish and Arab leaders across the Israeli political spectrum strongly condemned this, and members of both communities have held rallies calling for peace. Some see Hamas’ involvement as an effort to stop the growing cooperation between Jewish and Arab political leaders in Israel.
As of May 16th, 2021, the conflict is ongoing with Hamas continuing to fire rockets at Israeli civilians, and Israel striking the terrorist group and its allies in Gaza.
Compiled from Standwithus.com/situationroom
Individual Freedom is the fundamental and underlying principle supporting the core values of classical liberalism. Liberalism as a political philosophy begins with empowering individuals by placing explicit trust in them to make rational and responsible decisions for themselves. John Stuart Mill, one of classical liberalism’s most influential thinkers, declared “over his own mind and body, the individual is sovereign.”
According to classical liberalism, the rights of the individual supersede those of the collective. The individual may choose to put the needs of others such as family or community ahead of one’s own, but such actions remain in the domain of individual freedom to make one’s own choices. This ideal also precludes government from trespassing on those rights through legal coercion or deterrence. This extends even so far as the right to make decisions that may not be in the individual’s best interest, but the right to choose supersedes the question of whether it will prove to be beneficial, and whether government has the right to legislate that choice.
Freedom of Expression
Building on the principle of individual freedom, Freedom of Expression is a natural next step. Classical liberalism holds that the individual, a responsible human being, should be free to make his or her own choices, and so those choices invariably extend toward speech and expression. Not only should individuals be free to express their opinions, they should be free from any repercussions or fear of suppression in doing so. By extension, others have the freedom to choose to hear or to ignore such thoughts or beliefs by an individual.
The government, which is tasked with protecting the rights of the individual, is also expected to protect the individual (author or speaker) as well as the audience from reprisal by other citizens or by the government itself with regards to expressed rhetoric. This is not to say that a person should not be held accountable for expressing controversial beliefs. Quite the contrary: classical liberalism also protects the rights of an individual who wishes to respond, disagree, and counter those ideas. By protecting the freedom of all in regards to the exercise of free expression, liberalism encourages and supports civil discourse and intellectual engagement. This in turn enriches and helps develop a healthy civil society, where all ideas are free to be promoted as well as challenged.
Rule of Law
Hand-in-hand with classical liberalism’s foundational values of individual freedom and freedom of expression comes the core value of the Rule of Law. A free society should be governed by a set of rules that are known to all individuals so they can make choices and take actions while informed of the principles and mechanisms by which conflicts are resolved. The rule of law is not meant to restrict freedom; rather it is a set of rules acting as guidelines to support the individual’s choices toward successful actions.
What maintains an individual’s freedom and liberty in a society governed by the rule of law is the structure within which the government must operate. A critical restriction around the rule of law is that it outlines what the government may not do to its citizens. Another essential tenet of the rule of law is that all individuals, even those who enforce the law, must be held accountable to its dictates, thus ensuring that a free society is ruled by law and not by the arbitrary whims of men.
Recognizing that Pluralism is the natural condition of modern free societies necessitates the active practice of tolerance to ensure the preservation and ongoing existence of these societies. In classical liberalism, this concept comes from understanding that people groups deeply disagree about many things and embrace very different ways of life. One of the goals in exercising toleration is to reciprocally recognize and accept that others may find our own views distasteful or possibly immoral.
To deal with these differences without having to resort to subjugation or oppression of diverse people groups, successful societies have been able to develop “norms of toleration” which allow space for the accommodation of these differences. This is in stark contrast with having the need to reconcile differences for agreement and cultural homogenization. Practiced in conditions of pluralism, toleration compels the understanding of opposing points of view rather than encourages the action of violence in response to that which offends us. In the long run, it establishes a strong framework for a truly good pluralistic society.
Civil Society refers to the way in which people associate when they’re not buying and selling goods or services on the market, and they’re not interacting with the state or participating in the political process. These direct associations between people are categorized in three areas, depending on the level of participation: primary, tertiary, and secondary. Associations between family members and close friends are considered to be primary. Tertiary associations are with groups to which you belong or support in some manner, but you do not necessarily connect directly with other members of those groups. Secondary associations are all the other relationships in which people connect and that are not based on familial relations or on business exchanges.
A robust civil society is most dependent on secondary associations and their role of limiting the power of government through efficiency and morality. The idea of efficiency argues that government is too big to know what people need, and therefore too big to help people in the way they need it. The morality argument is focused on the idea of coercion. That means that even if a person disagrees with how government is handling any particular situation, that person will be coerced into accepting government’s approach. There is no freedom for an individual to exit this relationship with government.
Secondary associations to allow an individual the freedom to move freely between relationships that meet a wide variety of needs, and they also give the individual more freedom to dissent without being coerced into any particular actions. Relying on secondary associations allows people the flexibility to find the relationships that best meet their needs, and this is a hallmark of civil society
Public policy based on organizing the economy around a framework of individual liberty rather than one of economic control is an important component of classical liberalism. Stated simply, Economic Freedom is actualized by allowing individuals to make their own economic decisions rather than outside organizations or government entities doing so. A review of human history with an acknowledgement of the times in which societies flourished and were most prosperous will show that these were not random occurrences, but rather they were periods during which people were free to invent and innovate, and they were encouraged to develop solutions to the challenges of their times. Further, they were incentivized by the guarantee of property rights and the ownership of their ideas and the fruits of their labor.
While it is possible and even appropriate for government to play a role in the maintenance of the economic environment, government’s active participation should be limited. Milton Friedman stated that economic freedom is a prerequisite to political freedom. If public policy defines and drives an economy that inhibits the entrepreneurial impulse, society’s vitality will suffer as surely as if political freedom was inhibited by force.