The following is a letter that I sent to the Prime Minister and members of Knesset a few weeks ago, but given the continuing debate about the rights of Jews to live in Silwan, and the right of non-Muslims to pray on the Temple Mount, I thought it may still be of interest:
To the Honorable Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu,
It is my impression that the international community tends to take Israel’s lead on issues relating to our relationship with the Palestinians. For example, the international community did not consider the PLO a legitimate peace partner until we did, and the international community did not insist that a two-state solution was the only viable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict until our leaders said so.
Now you are “baffled” by the international community’s suggestion that Israel should implement the discriminatory and racist housing policy in east Jerusalem demanded by the Palestinian Authority.
However, here too, the international community is just following Israel’s lead. Just a few hundred meters away, every day the Israeli Police implement and enforce the discriminatory and racist policies of the Waqf on the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount has heavily restricted visiting hours for non-Muslims, enforced by the Israeli Police, while Muslims have free access all day long. More troublesome is that on the Temple Mount the Israeli Police do not enforce Israeli law which protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, but rather enforce the Waqf’s policy of racist and discriminatory violation of a basic freedom by preventing non-Muslims from praying.
So why are you “baffled” by the international community’s suggestion that we do the same in Silwan??
If we stop implementing the racist and discriminatory policies of the Waqf on the Temple Mount, you will have more credence with the international community when you claim it is inconceivable that they suggest that Israel implement the racist and discriminatory housing policies of the Palestinian Authority in east Jerusalem.