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Holy Basin or Wholly Base?

By Yisrael Medad
11/6/2007, 12:00 AM

A legacy of the 2000 Clinton Parameters is the term "Holy Basin" which refers to the area of the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and some Christian holy places which will be administered under a special regime which implied internationalization.  His actual words were: "Arab areas are Palestinian and Jewish ones are Israeli.  This would imply the Old City as well". And he urged both sides to work on maps to creat maximum contiguity (okay, so that's a non-starter but he was President) and that each religion - not state - would be responsible for its own holy places.  There was also the Morantinos 'Non-paper' which dealt with Jerusalem and that stipulated that for three years the Temple Mount would be under international sovereignty including an Islamic state.  The Pals. would be custodians. Those proposals finally collapsed in 2001 when Barak announced that the Temple Mount would not be transferred to Arab sovereignty.

The Temple Mount is back on the agenda and on the table but this would be no Holy Basin and its future would be wholly base.  Haim Ramon speaks of a "special regime". Some people write of "the politics of verticality" in a vain search for a logical solution.

In the meantime, however, this past year the Temple Mount has been dug up without authorization and without proper supervision.  Artifacts have been either dumped or destroyed or stolen.  The continuing discrimination of Jews as Jews, rather than as non-identifiable tourists, stays in place.  The courts still consider the site too "sensitive" a place and therefore, despite laws protecting Jewish rights, the High Court of Justice protects the government, its police and other bodies who interfere with and who inhibit legal Jewish rights. 

There are perhaps a dozen or so groups, organizations and institutions dealing with the Temple Mount as a Jewish holy site.  All do good work in the field of education and strenghtening the Israeli public's consciousness towrds the location.  Hundreds ascend the Mount weekly for a short walk around in those portions outside the sacred precinct.  But there is no protest. 

Shurat Ha-Din is seeking to force that charges be brought against the Waqf for violating the law.  The Committee Against the Destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities appealed to the High Court of Justice.  But this isn't going anywhere fast.  This Thursday night, as every month, thousands will be encircling the Temple Mount gates, from the outside.

A protest movement needs to protest.  It must be seen and heard.  If the fate of Joseph's Tomb in Shchem and the Shalom-Al-Yisrael Synagogue in Jericho are to be avoided, if the Israel government wants Jews to be able to pray at the Western Wall, then something activist must happen.

I can inform you that suggestions have been made but lethargy or lack of funds or lack of excitement is hindering.

I hope I can be blogging on this subject in a more positive vein soon.