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The Diplomacy of Displayed Weakness

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Tuesday Nov 29, 2011

by Yisrael Medad

It seems that Benjamin Netanyahu is displaying weak foundations towards the Temple Mount, an attitude that dovetails with the Islamic "Temple Denial" campaign.

In this Temple Mount report in Haaretz (and the Jerusalem Post adds details) we learned that- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Jerusalem municipality and the Public Security Ministry to delay the execution of a demolition order for the Mugrabi Bridge...Egypt's warnings that the move could lead the Tahrir Square protestors to focus their anger on Israel, prompted Netanyahu to delay the demolition...the Islamic Waqf - the religious authority which manages the Temple Mount - launched a public campaign against the demolition, arguing the demolition was part of an Israeli plot to damage the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

A similar campaign was started in Jordan, with the backing of the Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places...Sources have indicated that Netanyahu's decision to delay the demolition was also prompted by Jordanian warnings that the move could incite riots in the Hashemite Kingdom.

This decision, in the first instance, may save Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz from possible criminal prosecution for Arutz Sheva has received a report that the city of Jerusalem is about to file charges against Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich of the Western Wall and Holy Places in his capacity as chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Fund. The charges stem from the fund's failure to respond to a demand made a month ago by City Engineer Shlomo Eshkol to dismantle the wooden ramp from the Western Wall Plaza to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate to the Temple Mount and replace it...about to file charges against Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich of the Western Wall and Holy Places in his capacity as chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Fund. The charges stem from the fund's failure to respond to a demand made a month ago by City Engineer Shlomo Eshkol to dismantle the wooden ramp from the Western Wall Plaza to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate to the Temple Mount and replace it...

But the real issue, let us remind ourselves, is the Temple Mount, in Hebrew, Har Habayit. If I could address the Prime Minister, I would remind him that the "time factor" never works to Israel's advantage.

The Waqf, local and Jordanian (which views itself, as a full partner in the administration of the Temple Mount (stemming from the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty's Article 9 - Places of Historical and Religious Significance which reads " Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines..."), will always make noise.

And who knows when the turmoil in Egypt will end? Or if the Muslim Brotherhood doesn't gain an upper-hand there?

The Islam world is engaged in consistent Temple denial in any case, no matter what is done.

If fundamentalist Islamic forces are at work in Egypt and Jordan that is a long-time development, has always negated Israel's administration of the Temple Mount and will respond even more forcefully after Netanyahu's waiting period is done.

But more important, Netanyahu has to make clear that that bridge work is on the exterior of the Temple Mount and is to be done to save lives. What religion could be against protecting people's safety?

And now, even Akiva Eldar is amazed, writing: Who is this Netanyahu that's involving Muslims in Jerusalem affairs?

If Netanyahu were opposition leader, instead of prime minister, he would have tarred and feathered anyone who decided to defer the demolition of the Mughrabi Gate.

And he agrees with my thinking:

Netanyahu's request to defer the demolition of the dilapidated bridge that leads to the Mughrabi Gate and the installation of a new bridge has no political or religious justification.

As UNESCO records:

At the last minute, when the heavy equipment was ready to carry the new metal bridge to the Western Wall area, Jordan's King Abdullah got cold feet. Pressured by Islamic groups in Jordan and Egypt, headed by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the king asked that the renovation be postponed. As always, he wanted to verify that a request along the same lines would come from Washington.

So, weakness all-around is the new diplomatic policy?

Netanyahu's approach, based on a frightened attitude, is displaying weakness.

And, in the Arab Middle East. that is dangerous.

 

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