Saturday, October 24, 2015

  • Saturday, October 24, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
TOI reports:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday restated a pledge to retain intact the custom of not permitting non-Muslim prayer on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which has been at the center of a recent spike in unrest.

“Israel reaffirms its commitment to upholding unchanged the status quo of the Temple Mount, in word and in practice,” he said in a statement.

The compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, was the site of two ancient Jewish temples and is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. It was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.

“Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount,” he said, following up on comments earlier by US Secretary of State John Kerry after meetings in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Kerry said Israel had agreed on steps to calm tensions over the flashpoint site, including 24-hour security cameras, an idea not specified in Netanyahu’s statement.

The prime minister did confirm, however, that there would be “increased coordination between the Israeli authorities and the Jordanian Waqf, including to ensure that visitors and worshipers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area, and all this in accordance with the respective responsibilities of the Israelis authorities and the Jordanian Waqf.”

Tensions over Al-Aqsa have sparked a recent wave of violence that has seen knife and gun terror attacks by Palestinians against Israelis along with daily clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

Israel has repeatedly denied persistent Palestinian allegations to the effect that it seeks to change the arrangements at the site in order to allow Jews to pray there.
Bibi's' declaration to stop Jews from praying on the Temple Mount may be against international law.

It is time to expand a previous article of mine where I describe how international law supports Jewish worship on the Temple Mount - a point that you will never hear from "human rights" NGOs.

As far as I can tell, not only do Jews have the right to visit and to pray on the Temple Mount, but if they wanted to build a synagogue there I cannot find anything in international law that wouldn't support them wholeheartedly. 

The overriding consideration in international law is the right to be treated equally, and barring Jews from the Temple Mount is about as discriminatory as possible.

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says:
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

In addition, Article 20 seems to prohibit the insults and incitement that Muslims engage in towards Jews on the Temple Mount:
1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.

Moreover, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief is filled with articles that would prohibit banning Jews from the Temple Mount:
No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on grounds of religion or other beliefs.

For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression "intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief" means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.

Discrimination between human beings on grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.

All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.

All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.
From these articles it appears that Israel is obligated to allow Jews to visit and pray there, and to protect them from those who want to take away their rights.

Here is where the codification of bloacking Jewish religious rights on the Temple Mount runs afoul of this Declaration:

All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.

All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.

Blocking Jews from worshiping in their holiest place while allowing Muslims to do so is discrimination by any definition.

It is true that this same declaration says:
Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
But this clause is referring to cases where the practitioners of the religion are the ones who are a danger to others, not when the others are so intolerant that they threaten violence. To invoke this paragraph to deny Jews' rights to the Temple Mount (which I suspect human rights organizations would do if pressed) would make the rest of that declaration a mockery. It would give veto power by any religious group  over the rights of any other religious group by simply threatening violence. 

Perhaps one can try to argue that limiting non-Muslim worship on the Temple Mount is similar to not allowing non-Christian worship in Christian holy places or prohibiting non-Jewish worship in synagogues. But that argument does not apply where the site itself has inherent sanctity for the group that wishes to worship.

In this case, one could argue that it is even worse, because the entire reason that Muslims consider this a holy spot is a derivative of the Jewish temples that were there first. But no one is seriously demanding that Muslims be banned from their mosques on the Temple Mount, just that Jews be given equal rights.

You remember equal rights, don't you? This isn't only a legal issue, but a moral one as well. Denying the rights of one party because of the threats of violence of another party is not something to celebrate. It is capitulation to blackmail.

In summary, not only is it outrageous to deny Jewish worship on the Temple Mount for Jews who wish to pray there, it is against the principles of international law, basic freedom of worship and equal rights that would be defended in every other circumstance and for every other religion. 

Maintaining the "status quo" when the status quo is discriminatory is not a virtue. It is a travesty, and it gives justification and incentive for violence against those who fight for their religious rights. Those who are demanding equal rights are invariably described as extremists or worse. 

Of course, we will never hear Human Rights Watch or Amnesty or the UN dare to defend the Jewish right to worship on the Temple Mount. Because Jews who want to do so are not considered to be worthy of protection by international law. 



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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