The Temple Institute: The Battle for Jerusalem Begins



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The Battle for Jerusalem Begins

reprinted from Arutz 7
26 Tishrei 5768, 08 October 07

by Hana Levi Julian

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to put Jerusalem on the table as he hurtles toward a “joint declaration” with the Palestinian Authority ahead of next month’s U.S.-sponsored Mideast summit.

The issue of Jerusalem is heating up as pressure mounts on Israel to hand over half of the capital to the Palestinian Authority.

Prime Minister Olmert assured cabinet ministers Sunday that he will not make any strategic concessions to the PA at the U.S.-sponsored Mideast summit next month.

But Olmert added the caveat that he nonetheless has the authority to cut a deal if he so chooses, without the approval of the Knesset.

Olmert’s statement comes in direct contradiction to a previous promise he made to Christian Zionists a year ago, as well as one made by Foreign Minister and then-deputy Prime Minister Tzipi Livni several months ago.

“If there is any agreement with the Palestinians it will be brought to the government for its approval, and then to the Knesset for ratification as well," promised Livni.

One of the most sensitive and potentially explosive points in any agreement the prime minister might reach would be the status of Israel’s capital, the holy city of Jerusalem.

Olmert has made no secret of his willingness to consider handing over half of the capital to the PA, despite his promise to visiting Christians a year ago that Jerusalem would remain Israel’s undivided capital. The prime minister also made similar vows while serving as mayor of the holy city.

At this point, the question is not whether the prime minister intends to keep that promise, but rather when, how and to whom he will cut away half of the heart of Israel.

The Arabic Al Quds newspaper reported Monday morning that Olmert has now come to an agreement with Jordan that Arabs in eastern Jerusalem will be granted Jordanian citizenship.

Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon, the Prime Minister's close aide and friend, has also been pushing for the division of Jerusalem. However, he promoted the original plan to hand it over to the Palestinian Authority (PA), not to Jordan.

Ramon has also publicly backed a separate arrangement for sovereignty over religious sites in the Old City and stated that the Jewish Quarter would remain under Israeli rule. But Monday morning he cautioned that it is too early to detail possible arrangements.

Dr. Guy Bechor, a leading expert on Arab affairs, reported recently based on "leaks from the Palestinian side," that the prime minister agreed in writing nearly two months ago to hand over half of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority.

Also on the chopping block will be some 6,250 square kilometers of Israeli territory for the establishment of a PA state, to be called Palestine, alongside the Jewish State.

A large but undetermined number of thriving Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria that were built over the past 40 years will be destroyed in the process, according to the agreement, said Bechor.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has continued to up the ante in demands before the November 26th summit, insisting that a final agreement be spelled out to include all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as part of a new Arab state, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Abbas’s demands signal a hardening of its stance that any future state include Israel's withdrawing from all of the land beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines and which was restored to the country after the Six Day War in 1967.

The prime minister has said that a joint declaration, which he hopes to complete with the PA chairman prior to the Mideast summit, would be another step leading to direct negotiations.

'Jordan will have custody of Temple Mt.'

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Oct. 8, 2007

The Israelis and Palestinians have reached an agreement by which, in a final peace deal, the Temple Mount's holy sites will be transferred to Jordanian custody, Al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Monday morning. Also, according to the London-based newspaper, it was agreed that Jordanian citizenship would be granted to 90,000 east Jerusalem residents.

According to the report, it is also likely that a supreme supervisory commission would be established, which would include representatives from the UN, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

When Israel and Jordan signed a peace deal in 1994, it was agreed that Israel would honor the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom over the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and in a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, Israel would give high importance to Jordan's historic role over the holy sites.

Israel Radio reported that Jordan had recently set up a new fund for the renovation of Al Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock to reinforce its presence there. The head of the fund even proposed that Jordan give Jordanian passports to some 90,000 east Jerusalem residents.

Meanwhile, Vice Premier Haim Ramon told Israel Radio that the question of who will have custody of Jerusalem's holy sites must not be discussed at the moment. "We must decide that in that area there will be a special regime which we will discuss in the future," he said.

Ramon added that there was a consensus in the cabinet that "no Palestinian refugee should return to Israel under the law of return - legal or moral."

However, he proposed a discussion over refugees who wanted to return for humanitarian reasons, saying that "the idea that this will cause Israel's collapse is ridiculous."



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