Monday, January 12, 2009

Temple Mount / Noble Santuary Compromise

With all the current bloodshed in Israel/Palestine these days, I am thinking of the future. Where do two cultures, political states, religions go from here?

I do not wish to document past hopes or failures. I wish to consider how hard it will be for both sides to sit down and negotiate in good faith for the future of the immediate nation state and the greater region. Examples about the end of the cold war between the U.S. and the former U.S.S.R. or the falling down of apartheid in South Africa are not good examples to use or learn from. Those scenarios fit other times and places in other parts of the planet.

I have pondered this situation and think that some symbolic gesture(s) by both sides could pave eons of highways to the future. I use one example here. I am certain that those directly responsible will have better and more practical ideas than my own. That is okay. The important process is the beginning of visualization of a peaceful, prosperous Israel/Palestine in the future by all parties concerned.

I do not wish to intrude on the two cultures and religions but I have some observations. I do not think that a bi-cultural country is immediately possibly. In a global village sense, maybe a hundred years from now nobody will care who your neighbor is across the street in terms of culture or religious background. In an immediate sense I see a divided geography perhaps with walls but a reduction of violence and an escalation of trust between all parties of the region. A successful peace in Israel/Palestine will deflate political agendas in the region and hiding behind religious masks at the present time.

Picture Israel/Palestine or Palestine/Israel whichever way you want to look at the coin. Picture joint economic ventures, common public utilities, high standards of living.

The thing that sticks in a lot of Israeli throats is the division of Jerusalem with a joint political state sharing a joint capital. This is something nobody from the outside can impose. This is something the two parties have to agree upon and work together on to make it work. It is not impossible but it will be extremely difficult to maintain if the current levels of friction and mistrust continue.

I say take the Temple Mount or Haram-esh-Sharif (noble sanctuary) and borrow a page from the wisdom of Solomon. If there is to be a divided capital of Jerusalem then I think that this elevated property gets cut down the middle. The price for peace for the Palestinians should exact a price or such. They at the moment do not have the upper hand in the military equation of the situation. The Israelis are looking at their enemies, though in facts their neighbors, getting up front and personal in a very ancient symbolic piece of Israeli identity in the form of the city of Jerusalem.

This is not easy. But what if the Palestinians say okay, cut Harem-esh-Sharif down the middle if that is what it takes to make a permanent, stable, universally recognized state and capital for Palestine. I think that the Palestinians will opt to keep the half of Temple Mount that has the most symbolism in a structure for them, the Qubbat al-Sakhra or Dome of the Rock. If that happens, then the plain structure or Al-Aqsa Mosque is now on Isreali territory. I do not think that the Israelis will stop the function of this mosque but what if in the terms of binding eternal peace treaty Israel can turn the mosque into a synagogue or even tear it down to build a Third Temple.

A lot of hot points here. Al-Aqsa mosque is the big work horse mosque of the Noble Sanctuary area on Temple Mount.

Israel, if you look close enough, is more a secular state than a theocracy that it had ideally been in the ancient past. A Third Temple is only a dream for a handful of the extreme religious community. If we cannot do these things mentioned above, what can both sides do to show good faith, both literally and symbolically.

I believe that the two mosques could stay in place. A joint police force in the city of Jerusalem could administer control the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary and - and somewhere in the middle of this joint historic site, archeology and research could start on a small scale, a few square meters a year, and could go on for decades and fill a yet to be built museum for artifacts found that touch the history of two nations, two cultures, and two religions on common ground - the Earth.

It is just a thought for a possible win-win compromise for peace to accidentally break out and spread throughout the region and on to the planet as well.