|Some dozens of other MKs, professors
and archeologists take part in the festival. Isaiah's vision come true: the
wolf dwelleth with the lamb, and a little child leads them: Ehud Olmert, the
politician literally ready to walk on corpses (see: tunnel incident) on his
way to the Prime Minister's office.
What has created this miracle? It's
the archeology, stupid. National unity deep in the earth.
In a big ad, all these demand that
the Prime Minister prevent "the continuation of the destruction of
antiquities on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem." After describing the
terrible act of vandalism committed there by the Muslims in the course
of the renovation of a mosque, the personalities from left and right
call upon the government of Israel "to act urgently to ensure the
meticulous implementation of the Antiquities Law on the Temple Mount and
to make any digging and building activity in the compound conditional on
strict archeological oversight by the (Israeli) antiquities authority…as
demanded at any other site in the State of Israel".
When such a demand comes from Uzi
Landau, the extreme right-wing politician, and Moshe Shamir, the extreme
right-wing writer, that's natural. When the list of signatures is headed
by Teddy Kollek, the arch-settler who has put more Jews on Arab land
than Gush Emunim while posing as a peacenik, that's even more natural.
But when good people like the writer A.B.Yehoshua, educator Lova Eliav
and professor Yirmiyahu Yovel habe added their signatures, it makes one
wonder. Have they been trapped, not understanding the intentions of the
By itself, the demand for
professional archeological oversight of digging activities at such a
sensitive site is reasonable and justified. (Indeed, 30 years ago I
demanded just that when Moshe Dayan was robbing archeological sites and
causing irreversible damage. At the time, not one of the older
signatories of this ad supported my demand then. No Mk, no professor, no
But this ad is a political act, a
weapon in the struggle against compromise in Jerusalem. It is based on
the assumption that the compound of the mosques is like "any other site
in the State of Israel." It demands that the government of Israel impose
the Israeli law "as at any other site in the State of Israel". And
there's the rub.
Let's go back in time: In the year
638 the Caliph 'Ummar conquered Jerusalem from the Christians and
immediately went to the temple mount, which had been turned by the
Christians into the municipal rubbish dump. He ordered to clean it and
since then (except during the Crusaders' time) the Muslims have guarded
the mount, which they call Haram al-Sharif. During 1362 years this has
been a Muslim site, and even the Israeli occupier has wisely accepted
this situation. Any violent confrontation with the Muslims at this place
can have unforeseeable consequences. There is no doubt whatsoever that
under any peace agreement this site will pass into the hands of the
State of Palestine. Even the adherents of the mantra
"Eternal-Capital-of-Israel" agree that the Palestinian flag will wave
over the mosques there.
The peaceniks who fell into this
paper-trap did not have time, so it seems, to think. In a moment of
excitement, exploited by right-wing political manipulators, they signed
a document that calls, in effect, for unconditional annexation. They
demand that the Israeli government implement the Israeli law in this
holy Muslim compound in a unilateral and Draconian way.
If they had taken time out to think
twice, they would have come to the conclusion that it would have been
better not to act in a way reminiscent of the means and terminology of a
military governor. They could have, for example, called for cooperation
between Palestinian and Israeli archeologists. They could have addressed
their concern to the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
They could even have called for the intervention of UNESCO, the
world-wide authority in charge of humanity's cultural heritage.
This manifesto betrays a abysmal
contempt for the Palestinians and Muslims. The Muslim wakf (religious
authority) is depicted as a monster, the Palestinians are completely
By the way, one of the right-wing
propagandists wrote that the wakf prevents scientific digging on the
Temple Mount out of fear that they would disprove several Muslim
religious texts. This warning could also apply to the Jewish faith. If
the digging had taken place, it would undoubtedly have confirmed the
consensus of nearly all serious archeologists throughout the world: That
there never was a Kind David or a King Salomon, that Jerusalem was at
that time a tiny, insignificant hamlet, that it became important only
after the destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel by the
Assyrians. By preventing scientific digging, the Muslims are unwittingly
defending the Jewish religion, too.
What is buried under the ground is
very important. But it is much more important to achieve peace and
mutual understanding on the ground.
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