Statement from the Heads of Churches in JerusalemWhen they say "status quo," what do they mean?
We, the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, wish to express our serious concern regarding recent violent development on Haram al Sharif.
We condemn all threats of change to historical (Status Quo) situation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque (Haram Asharif) and its courtyard, all buildings, and in the city of Jerusalem. Any threat to its continuity and integrity could easily lead to unpredictable consequences which would be most unwelcome in the present delicate political climate.
Muslims have the right to free access and worship to the Al Aqsa Mosque.
There is a great importance of the custody of the Hashemite kingdom on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy places in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. We believe that all Holy Sites need constant watchful protection so that reasonable access to them can be maintained according to the prevailing Status Quo of all three Abrahamic faiths.
We renew our call that the existing agreed Status Quo governing these sites needs to be fully respected for the sake of the whole community.
The Heads of churches in Jerusalem
+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+Patriarch Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarchate
+Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
+Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
+Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
+Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Joseph-Jules Zerey, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
+Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
+Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
+Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
+Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
+Msgr. Georges Dankaye’, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
Every few years, the Muslims have been changing the status quo on the Temple Mount.
From the Jerusalem Post last year:
There has been so much rhetoric about the “status quo” on the Temple Mount – but which status quo are we discussing? That of 1967? 1996? 2000? 2003? 2010? 2014? Each year saw a change in the previously accepted status-quo. Recent news had photos of MK Ahmed Tibi flying a Palestinian flag on the Mount – that is certainly a change in the status quo, if not a political provocation.
So let us be clear – There has not been a steady, continuous status quo on the Mount since the Israeli victory in June 1967. Rather, there have been constant changes in the status quo from the Arab Muslim side, and a continuous erosion and retreat of Jewish presence and rights, aided and mistakenly abetted by the Chief Rabbinate and Israel Police in their quest to maintain what they define as properly religious behavior and public order.
From 1967 until September 2000, Jews went up freely to the Temple Mount with prayer books and prayed silently at will with no police check and no Wakf employees following them. I know because I was one of them. No police searched for prayer books and absolutely no one checked whether silent prayer was being uttered. Several groups of distinguished rabbis in groups of 10 prayed together on a monthly basis.But this letter goes beyond demanding the "status quo" on the Temple Mount. It demands the "status quo" for Jerusalem itself.
By invoking Jordanian custody of all holy sites in Jerusalem, these Palestinian church leaders are including the Kotel! They make clear what their status quo is - to turn the clock back to 1966 when Jordan controlled the Old City and no Jews were allowed to visit - even as tourists.
And Jordanian custody of the holy sites is a myth.
The phrase "status quo" being used by these church leaders is a code-word for "no Jewish rights to their holy sites in the Old City."
By the way, the Temple Mount is sacred to Christians as well, but Muslims want it to be Muslim only. It is unclear what these official dhimmis would say if the site was closed to them as their Muslim masters would demand.
And while these church leaders fall over each other to ingratiate themselves to their Muslim masters, the Muslims are telling them to go to hell: