Time for a Temple Mount time-out.

In the aftermath of the 1967 War, the status of the Mount was left to the good-will of the Wakf. Israel’s hope that common sense with a sharing of tradition would bring the communities together has proven a terrible mistake. The Government’s current conciliatory approach to the anti-Israeli violence is not working. Stepping up the force as a response is likely to make things worse. The Mount needs a rest.

I suggest that the Temple Mount should be closed to all except for maintenance and security personnel. All visitors will be stopped. Prayers at Al Aksa will be stopped. The closure will last for a long time, minimum a year or more, enough for passions to subside from their current fever. Such an act will be followed by screams and acts of rage, but this is no different from what is happening anyhow. Once closed, there should be no hurry to reopen.

Israel should take advantage of the closure to develop a policy going forward. If it wants input from Jordan, the PA, or the Christian community well and good, but it should make clear to all that Israel is the Sovereign on the Mount and consultations are for non-binding advice. To avoid this catastrophe from restarting, there are other issues in the foreground that should be settled before the Mount is reopened.

Arnold Flick, San Diego, CA, USA 9/17/15