Is the Temple Mount in our hands? The Knesset will have to answer that question in a special session to be held in the parliament this Tuesday. If the nationalist MKs won’t show up, the Arab MKs will answer our question.
Who is the sovereign on the Temple Mount? Official Israel claims, of course, that it is sovereign. But in practice, the sovereignty is being transferred to Jordan – both on the ground and by ignoring international treaties that are being signed behind Israel’s back.
The Jordanian parliament was up in arms over the report of our upcoming Knesset session. The Jordanian Foreign Minister added: “An agreement was signed last year between King Abdullah and the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen. The agreement endorses the historic, existing situation regarding the Hashemite control of the holy places.” He added that the Jordanian control of the Mount enjoys an international consensus: “The entire world and all the religions accept the existing reality.” (Translated from the Hebrew NRG article, Feb. 19)
When I found out that an agreement had been signed to transfer the Temple Mount from the Palestinian Authority to Jordan, I asked PM Netanyahu how it could be that Israel was not reacting? Would you also be quiet if a second party would sell your house to a third party? After all, it is clear that Israel’s silence in the face of this agreement, publicized throughout the world, is really its tacit approval.
The following is the official answer to my questions:
(From the Knesset Protocols)
Agricultural Minister Yair Shamir, in the name of the government:
Israel is the sovereign in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. It administers the most holy place for Jews while considering the fact that the site is holy for Moslems, as well, and on the basis of it commitment in the peace agreement with Jordan, in which it was stipulated that ‘Israel respects the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the places holy to Moslems in Jerusalem.’ Nothing less than that, but also nothing more. It has nothing to do with the agreement signed between Jordan and the PA – an agreement that does not bind Israel. That is all.
MK Moshe Feiglin:
I did not receive an answer to my third question: What about Israel? I presume that if I would sell the honorable minister’s home to his neighbor, the honorable minister would oppose the move. We did not hear any voice of opposition from the Israeli government or from the Prime Minister of Israel over the fact that the Palestinian Authority decided to transfer the sovereignty on the Temple Mount to Jordan. Does the honorable minister, in the name of the government of Israel, say clearly now from the podium of the Knesset of Israel that the government of Israel sees itself as sovereign on the Mount and any agreement transferring the sovereignty from a second party to a third party as null and void? Am I correct, honorable minister?”
I did not receive a clear answer. That is why it is so important for the Knesset to have its say in the discussion on sovereignty on the Temple Mount that will take place in the Knesset on Tuesday. Jordanian pressure is taking its toll, presumably translated into pressure that ends up being exerted upon the nationalist Knesset Members. If, G-d forbid, the Jewish MKs do not attend the deliberations on Tuesday, the Arab MKs will be able to pass any measure that they please – with all the implications of that eventuality.
Forty seven years after our paratroopers liberated the Mount with their blood and shouted “The Temple Mount is in our hands”; will our MKs have the courage to repeat that sentence in the Knesset?