February 09, 2007

Temple Mount Truths

An excerpt from an editorial in Haaretz:

There has been a commotion since work began to replace a pedestrian bridge that links the Western Wall with the Mugrabi Gate. For those who have forgotten, the situation that prevails at the Temple Mount and the Western Wall plaza is based on a quite stable status quo that has been in place for forty years. David Ben-Gurion described the situation in June 1967 by saying: "The Western Wall is for the Jews at the moment, and the Temple Mount is for the Muslims at the moment, and that is the reality we have to accept." At the same time, Moshe Dayan determined that the Mugrabi Gate would remain in Israel's exclusive control, to prevent the Muslim authorities from having the ability to unilaterally close all the gates to the Temple Mount. The construction of the bridge from the Western Wall plaza to the Mugrabi Gate is therefore a crucial Israeli interest, which even the Waqf authorities do not deny, and it is part of the status quo.

The incitement against the construction of the bridge is a clear attempt to undercut the status quo. Therefore, it must not influence the authorities' decision to replace the temporary bridge. The situation in the Temple Mount area must be dealt with with sensitivity and intelligence - but also with resolution, to safeguard crucial Israeli interests that were determined two generations ago and retain their validity to this day.