How Non-Static Is The Temple Mount Status Quo?

Out of Berlin we learn that

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was cautiously optimistic following talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about possible steps to end the latest wave of deadly violence…Mr. Kerry said he planned to raise the proposals, which he didn’t specify, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on Saturday.

It was reported that, in addition,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told United States Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Berlin Thursday that Jordan and the Palestinian Authority must issue a statement making it clear that the status quo on the Temple Mount has not been violated.

A day before, the press supposition was that Kerry was demanding that the ‘sacred’ status quo at the Temple Mount, first established by Moshe Dayan in June 1967,

reached by Israel and Jordan on the Temple Mount [be put] in writing.

And, lastly, this news site informs us that

Jordanian King Abdullah II warned Israel Thursday against any move to change the status quo at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound…The king, whose country operates the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf which has custodial rights over the Temple Mount, made his remarks in a statement after a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

The evolvement of the concept of a status quo has been a long one. In the modern period, it begins in the mid-18th century. But we are now in the 21st century and we want to know what is the current status quo? What could be contained in that document that it seems Kerry would like to walk away with?

The first thing I would like to see is a reconfirmation of Jordan’s responsibilities and commitments as per Article 9 of the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty:

PLACES OF HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE

 

Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance…The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

If Jordan wants that its present special role in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem be respected and that when negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines, it should display a fair share of cooperation, coexistence and tolerance.

For example, it could minimize its own media incitement as expressed in these headlines I found in a search at the official Petra News Service:

Jewish extremists storms Al Aqsa Mosque
Senate condemns Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque
Awqaf minister warns against Israeli actions at the Al Aqsa Mosque
Jewish extremists storm Al Aqsa mosque compound
Jordan condemns allowing Zionist extremists to storm Al Aqsa
Settlers break into Al Aqsa compound
Jewish extremists break into Al Aqsa
Awqaf minister condemns Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque
Jewish settlers storm Al Aqsa Mosque
Islamic-Christian Commission warns against continued Israeli excavations in Jerusalem
Awqaf minister denounces Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jordan condemns Israel’s closure of Al-Aqsa gates
Israel forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque
Jordan condemns storming of Al Aqsa Mosque
Ensour: government follows up on developments in Al Aqsa
Israeli forces roll into Al Aqsa
Al Aqsa yards to be converted into a park by Israelis
Orthodox Jewish group calls for storming al Aqsa                           Jordan condemns allowing Zionist extremists to storm Al Aqsa
Israeli soldiers attack worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in Al Aqsa yards
Jordan’s efforts lead to reopening of the Al Aqsa Mosque
Jewish extremists storm Al Aqsa
Islamic-Christian Commission issues report on Israeli violations in Jerusalem
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces in occupied Jerusalem
Jordan condemns Israel storming of Al Aqsa, arrest of Mosque guards
Jewish settlers, rabbis storm Al Aqsa mosque
Momani condemns Israeli escalation of tensions at Al Aqsa Mosque
King urges US to take firm position towards Israeli violations
Israeli raids into Al-Aqsa Mosque “a flagrant aggression” – Momani

Second, I would like that Abdallah II sign off on a pledge that the Waqf employees, hundreds of them, actually, whose salaries he claims to pay, and where he ‘restores’, and ‘restores’ some more, and has restored in the past, will respect Israel’s authority and surely not facilitate Islamists to exploit the compound for violence, will not allow them to stay overnight and not store stones, molotov cocktails and the like.

Third, joint archaeological excavations should be undertaken as part of the status quo.  After all, unilateral excavations by the Waqf were an historic crime against Jewish history. Even Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubenstein once wrote that.

Fourth, more gates be designated for entrance of Jews.  Why should a current status quo force Jews to wait in the sun and heat, the cold, the wind and the rain to get in only a very few hours a day and at only one gate?

Of course, if the Waqf has constructed three new mosques within the compound under this status quo, one not very large synagogue could be built.  I even have a proposed site.  That would be a fifth section.

Why should the status quo be one-sided when it isn’t and hasn’t been static these past 48 years?

And remember what the Muslims are demanding and demonstrating for in Cordoba, Spain.

We Jews deserve nothing less at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that what the Muslims there demand for themselves.

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About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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