I have visited Israel twice. Folks ask me, 'why ever would you want to go there'? Really? Who and why wouldn't someone want to visit Israel and especially Jerusalem. After my first visit I decided to delve deeper.
I wanted to know about the politics of the area, more than what I remembered from the news as I grew up. I remember the 1967 six day war when it happened. I remember 1972 Munich when it happened. I remember the 1973 Yom Kipper war from when it happened. I remember the intifadas. I have stood outside the Jerusalem pizza shop that was bombed in 2001. But for this, let's go back before any of us werfe born, to just after the British were given authority over the territory known as Palestine.
In 1921, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni was appointed as Grand Mufti of Jerusalem by the Palestine High Commissioner Herbert Samuel, after he had been pardoned for his role in the 1920 Palestine riots. During the following decades, he became the focus of Palestinian opposition to Zionism. The Mufti believed that Jews were seeking to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem on the site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. This led to a long confrontation over the use of the Kotel, also known as the Wailing Wall, which was owned by the Moslem authorities but was sacred to Jews. Religious tension, an international economic crisis and nationalist tension led to the 1929 Palestine riots. In these religious-nationalist riots Jews were massacred in Hebron and the survivors forced to leave the town. Devastation also took place in Safed and Jerusalem. In 1936 an Arab uprising occurred, which lasted for three years. The Supreme Muslim Council in Palestine, led by the Mufti, organized the revolt. During the revolt the Mufti was forced to flee to Iraq, where he was involved in a pro-Nazi coup during which the Jewish areas of Baghdad were subjected to a pogrom. In 1939 he rejected as insufficient the British White Paper, which imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration and land acquisition by Jews. After the British reoccupied Iraq the Mufti joined the Nazis. He worked with Himmler and aided the SS his main role was broadcasting propaganda and recruiting Moslems, primarily for the Waffen SS in Bosnia. There is also evidence that he was implicated in the Nazi extermination program.