Thursday, May 02, 2013

Jews on the Temple Mount: that's illegal, right?

By Tuvia Brodie

When the United Nations voted in November, 1947 to create a two-state solution for Arabs and Jews, Jerusalem received special attention. This was done deliberately, to establish Jerusalem “as a corpus separatum under a special international regime”. Jerusalem would not be a part of the two-state solution. Instead, it would be carved out. It would be an ‘international city’ to be administered by the UN.

UN Resolution 181 created two states, Jordan for the Arabs and Israel for the Jews. The concept was to create a ‘Partition—with Economic Union’ between the two states. In separate ‘Parts’, the Resolution detailed issues pertinent to “the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem (Part 1A3)”  In Part III, Sections C-1a; 12-a,b; and 13-a,b,c, the UN specified requirements for Jerusalem’s Holy sites: (1) all holy sites are to be protected and preserved; (2) Jerusalemites are to have freedom of religion and worship; (3) there shall be no discrimination of any kind on the grounds of race or religion; (4) rights to holy places, sites or buildings shall not be denied or impaired; (5) there shall be free access and the free exercise of worship for all; and (6) no act shall be permitted which may in any way impair a holy site’s sacred character.

According to Wikipedia, what happened next was, ‘a Civil War’. While this might be technically correct, it misrepresents actual events: the Jews accepted the UN Resolution and the Arabs rejected it. They attacked the Jews. If you read contemporaneous news accounts of these attacks—and the war that ensued—you discover that this was not a matter of two peoples vying for the same national homeland (as many would like you to believe). The Arab rhetoric of the day was not nationalism; it was genocide—to kill the Jews and drive them into the sea.

By 1949, this first anti-Israel war ended without a peace agreement. Boundaries were drawn--and because Arabs won major parts of Jerusalem, the city did not become an international city. Instead, all Jews were cleansed from Arab-controlled sections, Jewish holy sites (synagogues and Yeshivot (seminaries) were destroyed, and the Temple Mount was sealed off from Jews.

Arab rule of Jerusalem lasted 19 years. During that time, no Jew had access to the Temple Mount. No Jew had freedom of worship within Arab-controlled areas.

In 1967, in a war of self defense, Israel won back Jerusalem. As part of their victory, Israel allowed the Waqf of Jerusalem—Muslim’s religious leader for the Jerusalem ‘area’—to remain ‘manager’ of the Mount. Since that Jewish victory, all requirements for Holy sites described in Part III of UN Resolution 181 have been enforced by Israel, for all  religions.

The Waqf, however, has violated every one of those requirements. Specifically, no Jew can worship on the Temple Mount; Jews approaching the Temple Mount are discriminated against because of their religion (their presence on the Mount is heavily restricted); Jewish rights to the Temple Mount are regularly denied and impaired; Jews are refused free access to the Mount; Muslims have committed heavy damage to the Jewish integrity of the Mount (removing perhaps 15,000 tons of Temple Mount dirt, including  thousands of archaeologically rich Temple-era artifacts); and the Muslims have not preserved or protected the Jewish character of the Temple Mount. They have, in fact, desecrated it by aggressively removing evidence of Jewish reality on the Mount—and have now begun to declare (after all the damage they have done) that there is no evidence of Jewish life existing on the Mount.

Someone has recently desecrated the Temple Mount by chipping the word, ‘allah’ into  one of the large stones there.

All of this becomes important in May, 2013 because MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud), who has been ascending to the Temple Mount once a month for years, has now been blocked from ascending by (it has been reported) the Prime Minister (PM) himself. Feiglin insists that a Jew has a legal right to walk on the Temple Mount—and that it is illegal to forbid him to do so.

He’s right. When Israel won back the Mount in 1967, the Knesset realized the site’s religious significance. Just weeks after victory the Israeli Knesset passed the ‘Protection of Holy Places Law’, which made it illegal to (1) desecrate holy places; and (2) violate freedom of access to holy places.

Feiglin has the right to ascend the Mount.

But on a visit to the Mount in early March, 2013, he learned that Israel’s law is not being enforced. On that visit, a representative of the Waqf told MK Feiglin, ‘only Muslims may enter here’--a direct violation of law. Then, when the police showed up, they told Feiglin, ‘The place [the Temple Mount] belongs to the Waqf.’

Now, the PM along with the attorney general of Israel forbids Feiglin to go there out of "security concerns".

In case you missed it, there has been no change of law. The Mount does not ‘belong’ to the Waqf. They and the PM have no legal right to restrict access or worship.

So why does the Prime Minister and attorney general break the law?  Ask the Waqf or ask the PM. But unfortunately, don't be surprised if the answer is the same.

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