For several months now, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan have been strongly condemning visits by Jewish groups and individuals to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The PA and Jordan have accused the Jewish visitors of "desecrating" the Haram al-Sharif [Noble Sanctuary], the name used by Muslims to refer to the Temple Mount.
The visits, which are held in coordination with the Jerusalem Police, are described by the PA and Jordan as attempts to "storm" the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The charges made by the PA leadership and Jordan have triggered a campaign by Muslims to foil the visits by Jews to the holy site. Almost every day, Muslim hecklers intercept the Jewish visitors by hurling abuse at them and chanting "Allahu Akbar" ("Allah is Greater") in their faces.
In some cases, Palestinians have thrown shoes at the Jewish visitors, including children.
Various Palestinian groups have also recruited women and children to harass the Jewish visitors and any police officers accompanying them. The women, who are hailed as Murabitat ("the Steadfast"), have one main mission: to harass the Jewish visitors. They claim that their chief goal is to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque against Jewish "aggression." Some of the women receive monthly salaries of up to 1500 shekels (about $400) to try and block the Jewish visitors.
But now those who have been inciting against Jewish visitors have fallen victim to their own campaign.
Palestinian and Jordanian officials who recently visited the Temple Mount received a firsthand lesson in what incitement can lead to. The officials themselves have fallen victim to hecklers who shouted profanities at them and forced them to flee the holy site.
The latest victim was Sheikh Ahmed Helayel, the Chief Islamic Judge of Jordan, who arrived at the Aqsa Mosque last Friday at the head of a leading Jordanian government delegation that also consisted of the kingdom's Minister of Wakf Affairs.
Sheikh Helayel was supposed to deliver the Friday sermon, but was forced to abandon the podium after scores of worshippers protested his presence and began hurling abuse at Jordan and him. He and all the members of the delegation were rescued by other worshippers who escorted them out of the Temple Mount.
The Palestinians who humiliated and expelled the Jordanian delegation belong to the radical international Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), the objective of which is to "resume the Islamic way of life by establishing an Islamic State that executes the systems of Islam and carries its call to the world."
One of the leaders of the mob shouted at the Jordanian cleric: "We were hoping to see you visit us at the head of an Islamic army that would liberate Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque, and not under the boots of the Israeli occupation." Another protester accused Jordan of "selling" the West Bank and Jerusalem to Israel in 1967.
The incident has deeply embarrassed the Palestinian Authority leadership, whose representatives were quick to condemn the assault on the Jordanian officials.
PA government spokesman Ehab Bsaisso expressed regret over the incident. The chief PA Islamic Judge, Mahmoud Habbash, denounced the incident as "immoral" and "un-Islamic." Habbash claimed that those responsible for the expulsion of the Jordanian officials from the Aqsa Mosque were "providing a free service to Israeli occupation."
It is worth noting that PA officials regularly encourage Muslim worshippers to intercept Jewish visitors to the holy site. But last year, Habbash, who also serves as religious affairs advisor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, was forced to flee the Temple Mount after angry Palestinians attacked him with shoes, stones and eggs.
Still, officials from the PA and Jordan do not seem to have learned the lesson -- mainly that their incitement against visits by Jews will ignite a fire that will also consume them. Both Habbash and Sheikh Helayel found themselves in the same situation as Jews who are confronted by hecklers during their visits to the Temple Mount.
Palestinian and Jordanian officials who incite their people against Israel on a daily basis should not be surprised when their constituents spit in their face, throw shoes at them or expel them from a mosque.
Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel, while the PA is conducting security coordination with the Israel Defense Forces. That is enough for their people to turn against them and accuse them of "collaboration" with the "Zionist enemy."
Anti-Israel incitement has once again proven to be counter-productive. But will the Palestinian Authority and Jordan draw conclusions from their mistakes and start educating their people about tolerance and peace with Israel? Sadly, that is unlikely to happen, at least not in the near future. The anti-Israel rhetoric has made it impossible even to talk about the possibility of peace with Israel.