3/10/2003 09:22:00 AM
by Ocean Guy
The Temple Mount The manner in which Israel has handled the Temple Mount and the Mosque built upon it, since 1967 should be lauded, especially when examined in the larger context of Israeli-Arab relations.
While many consider Israel's liberation of Jerusalem and Judaism's holiest sites from Arab occupation the crowning achievement of the 1967 Six-Day War; few know that even before the war's end, Moshe Dayan ceded control of the Mount to the Waqf. Secularist Israeli leaders, like Dayan, saw the Mount as merely an "historical curiosity" for Jews, but respected its religious significance for Moslems. Certainly, it is to our everlasting credit as a tolerant people that Israel did this. Could you even imagine any Arab country paying the same homage to Jewish religious sensitivities? While Jewish prayer at the Mount or Western Wall was prohibited during the years of Arab occupation, it is unthinkable that Israel would ban Moslem prayer at al-Aqsa. Since then, successive Israeli governments have maintained a policy of non-interference with Waqf actions, while banning Jewish and Christian prayer there.
The time has come for some kind of change in policy. At the very least, the issue should be addressed and some light shed upon the differences between the two cultures in handling the other's holy sites.
The intentional destruction of the Temple Mount as an archaeological site by the Waqf should not be ignored. We should learn about the intentions and methods of Islam by examining their management of such an historical ancient site... Are their actions ignorant, or are they a deliberate attempt to destroy historic evidence? Either way their custodianship of the Mount has been a crime. UNESCO is a partner in the crime, implicating the UN as a whole.
Maybe its' time for a re-thinking of the UN's organization. Certainly the ideals behind its creation are far from being realized. It may be time for the UN to join the League of Nations, and time for a new organization to emerge which more closely reflects the reality of the times. But whatever happens with the UN, someone needs to shed some light on the Arab mishandling of the Temple Mount, not just since 1967, but from the very beginning of their interest in the site. Richard L. Benkin, puts a little light on the subject here. For further reading try: The templemount.org and this article with pictures on the destruction under Waqf stewardship