ASK Commentary
August 29, 2005 

The Temple Is Key to Peace!

 
Commentary for August 29, 2005 — The Continued Importance of the Temple Mount
 
 
A respected and influential Israeli think tank dealing with, as they say, “matters related to Israel's national security as well as Middle East regional and international security affairs,” has published a major article in their journal about the importance of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple Mount in any future settlement or peace in the city or the region. 
 
The paper was published by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University in the June 2005 edition of the journal Strategic Assessment. It is in agreement with the biblical and prophetic research of Dr. Ernest L. Martin that the “key” to peace in the Middle East is settlement of the issue as to who will control the Haram esh-Sharif. It is this single issue that must be solved before a stable peace can be attained in Jerusalem and the region. That small piece of land, the Haram, is mistakenly thought to be the site of the Jewish Temples of antiquity.  
 
The Haram esh-Sharif is administered by a Muslim Waqf (an Islamic endowment) which handles affairs of that Muslim area of worship. In July 2004, just before the death of Yasser Arafat, the Israeli government removed the Palestinian Authority from administrative control of the Haram, and returned it to Jordanian control. The Haram has been funded by Jordan under the patronage of King Abdullah Hussein II for the past 8 years. Now Jordan also administers, as well as funds, operations of the Waqf and Haram [see Note 1].  
 
The importance of the Haram (the so-called Temple Mount) is highlighted in the Strategic Assessment article by Shaul Arieli titled: “Toward a Final Settlement in Jerusalem: Redefinition rather than Partition.” This article was written one year after control of the Haram was returned to Jordan, after the death of Yasser Arafat, and during the period leading up to the removal of Jewish settlements from Gaza and the West Bank. (Thankfully, no deaths occurred during that removal.) 
 
Religion is central to the future of Jerusalem. The first paragraph of the article sets out that importance (emphasis mine):

“The ninety-nine papers and proposals formulated during the twentieth century regarding the future of Jerusalem testify to the importance of the city for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — and to the ongoing battle of interests being waged between the diplomatic and political representatives of these three religions. Each of the proposals considers the local and global balance of power in the boundaries of the city and attempts to ensure freedom of worship and internal management of the holy places.”

The papers and proposals mentioned are from governments and major political players and organizations. Hundreds more papers and proposals have been put forth by private persons and small organizations about the best way to bring peace to Jerusalem through proper handling of the holy places. (I know of several “peace plans” put forth by acquaintances of mine.) The second paragraph of the article is even more revealing (again, emphasis mine):

The major issue of contention regarding political control of Jerusalem was and is the Temple Mount. It seems that for the extremists of all three religions any arrangement is regarded as a temporary one, until the conditions ripen for a realization of the spiritual ideal. Over the last decades the religious tensions already evident in the city were intensified by the nationalist tensions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which were aggravated by the sides themselves and even by additional groups in the Muslim and Christian world.”

Re-read the first sentence of that second paragraph of the article again: “The major issue of contention regarding political control of Jerusalem was and is the Temple Mount.” One can only speculate what the Jewish author of this article considers what the conditions would be that would ripen to lead to a “realization of the spiritual ideal.” 
 
Mr. Aureli’s article was written from a Jewish perspective, but I believe it is a fair attempt at a solution that desires to account for all religious, cultural, and political sensibilities. The remainder of Mr. Aureli’s article presents an extremely complex movement of walls, roads, people, and administrations to accommodate every faction in the Jerusalem area. Interestingly he does not mention either the Temple or religious considerations again in the article, but these matters are at the heart of the problem and his proposed solution. Aureli’s model is flawed and a solution cannot be achieved by his model, or by any one else’s, unless the true historical state of affairs is understood. 
 
Dr. Martin wrote often that the issue preventing peace in Jerusalem and the region is the Temple Mount controversy. This problem has been recognized by others as well. This was the direct problem preventing an accommodation during the 2000 Camp David meetings between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. See Dr. Martin’s “ASK Commentary on the Temple Mount,” “Article from Christianity.com,” and my “The Roadmap for Peace in the Middle East” for background.  
 
The solution to the Gordian knot of the religious problem of the “Temple Mount” is the recognition of the correct site of the Jewish Temples, none of which were on the Haram at all, but were located above and west of the Gihon Springs. The Haram esh-Sharif is the site of the structure known as Fortress Antonia. The evidence can be found in Dr. Martin’s book The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot and in numerous articles by Dr. Martin and others at http://www.askelm.com/temple/index.htm. Once this evidence is verified and accepted then a proper political (and religious) solution to control of the Haram esh-Sharif can be made to the satisfaction of all parties. 
 
There will be a powerful result of this recognition of the historical truth of the Temples’ true location. Let me state that result directly: traditions of all religious parties will lose influence — a lot of influence. If this is to be the case (and it will be), then let it be so, and let it be soon. Historical and biblical truth is more important than tradition. 
 
[Note 1] See the article, written from an Israeli perspective, “The Expulsion of the Palestinian Authority from Jerusalem and the Temple Mount,” Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 3, No. 31, August 5, 2004. See particularly note 1 of that article.

David Sielaff
david@askelm.com

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