July 24, 2017: Readers react to Palestinian unrest over Temple Mount

In 1993, American government agents raided the compound of the Branch Davidians, a religious sect in Waco, Texas, killing dozens.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The bloody kitchen in the Salomon house (“Halamish family massacred at Shabbat dinner,” July 23) forces us to realize that we are at war with the Palestinians and must fight accordingly. To rescind now the decision to erect metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount would be a mistake of disastrous proportions.
It must also be made abundantly clear that the idea that Israel wants to destroy the Aksa Mosque is a totally absurd fabrication and is being used as a method of warfare no less than are knives and bombs.
Whereas the Arabs long ago broke the status quo on the Temple Mount, this is an opportune time for Israel to correct a monumental historic mistake made 50 years ago and to return it to the Jewish people.
In the wake of the violence fomented now and previously by the Wakf, the Islamic trust that controls the Temple Mount with Jordan (“Unholy status quo,” Editorial, July 23), let’s play a “what if” game.
How ruthless would a major democracy, the US, be in suppressing an extremist religious group? In 1993, American government agents raided the compound of the Branch Davidians, a religious sect in Waco, Texas, killing dozens.
Would another major democracy, India, allow two foreign entities to have sovereignty over a religious site? In 1984, Indian forces stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs, some of whose adherents had barricaded it. Hundreds, perhaps thousands were killed.
Unlike Israel, the US and India do not believe in compromise and reliance on the goodness of their adversaries when it comes to fanatical religious groups.
David M. Weinberg’s “What status quo?” (Know Comment, July 21) is a depressing and realistic assessment of the current situation on the Temple Mount.
Mr. Weinberg is right in saying that “the status quo on the Temple Mount is dead” and “Israel should not swallow the Islamic violence that has become the new status quo.” He is also right to “place the ultimate responsibility, and blame… on the Israeli government” for not taking forceful measures and merely trying to “quiet” things down and “restore calm.”
I would also place blame on the government of 50 years ago when it decided, as a genuine and benevolent concession to the defeated Jordanian government, to allow it to retain control over the Temple Mount.
Imagine – the victorious appeasing the defeated! But “appeasement is rarely a successful strategy in this part of the world,” to quote from another opinion piece in the same issue, Eric R. Mandel’s “Should the flawed Iran deal alter US interest in regime change?” (Observations). Appeasement in negotiations is seen as a sign of weakness and only results in more demands from the appeased.
Mr. Weinberg concludes by proposing a plan to rectify the current situation: “This will require Palestinian recognition of the Jewish people’s ancient ties to the holy site and to the holy land.” It continues with similar but equally unimaginable caveats (a synagogue on the Temple Mount, cooperation with the Wakf, etc.).
So we are back to appeasement and asking to cooperate with people, whose sole aim in life from birth, or so it seems, is the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.
Success will come only when Muslim children are raised and taught to value life over death and to tolerate different religions and customs.
Tel Aviv
David M. Weinberg aptly opines that it is time for our government to reverse the egregious blunder of Moshe Dayan in handing over the administration of the Temple Mount to the Muslim Wakf. Since that event, there has been a progressive decline of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount to the point that Jews are forbidden to pray at their holiest shrine.
Instead of standing firm on a decision to install metal detectors on the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered two policemen there, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vacillated, hoping to evade international condemnation, choosing to “quiet things down” and “restoring calm.” Mr. Weinberg correctly asserts that this flagrant attack by terrorists was a game changer, providing an opportunity to reassert Jewish sovereignty on the Mount.
Politicians are notorious for passing the buck and kicking the can down the road. Prime Minister Netanyahu has perfected these actions to an art form.
In the short term, Israel should leave in place the metal detectors.
But in the long term, Israelis must choose leaders with mettle who can handle the heat of international criticism, confront our enemies and ensure the security of our citizens.
Now is the time to take back complete control of the Temple Mount. The iron is hot. Donald Trump is president of the US. Any later and it will be too late to right the wrong Moshe Dayan committed when he handed the keys for the Temple Mount to the Wakf 50 years ago.
Jerusalem Regarding
Yaakov Katz’s “The charade on the Temple Mount” (Editor’s Notes, July 21), a fine opinion piece covering the dispute in a balanced and thoughtful manner becomes fatally flawed toward the end: “Israel is in a perilous situation, caught between doing what is right and what is smart.”
The choice is between doing what is right and what is expedient.
The expedient decision is always to submit to bullies, to pay blackmail. However, history tells us that the first submission, the first blackmail payment, is neither the last nor the least.
Ma’aleh Adumim
Other than Muslim intransigence, there is no reason why the Temple Mount cannot peacefully be shared, much as has been the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron after an even more horrific incident.
It’s time for Israel to reassert its sovereignty and responsibility for security on the Mount without any diminishment of Muslim prayer rights. It’s time to ban the despicable harassment of Jewish visitors. It’s time for the allowance of, and the provision of a place for, Jewish prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.
The status quo has been broken.
The time to act is now.
Syracuse, New York
Bowing to public pressure to keep the status quo and allow Muslims to continue to worship at the mosque, the Israeli government chose to institute additional security precautions by installing metal detectors at the entry areas leading to the Temple Mount. The goal was to thwart further violence and protect those going to the prayer site. But the Palestinians consider this simple, logical step a heinous act against their people.
Shouldn’t the Palestinians be thankful that the Israeli government has agreed to keep the mosque open for prayer and instituted a measure of security to protect the worshipers there? They are perverting the issue and again making the public believe that Israel is evil.
Beit Shemesh
While Israel feels cornered by so much hostility, it feels the need to fight fire with fire in order to survive.
Indeed, this is exactly what enabled it to survive in the past.
But too much fire can lead to burnout, with neither side benefiting.
In order to suppress terrorism, Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip. Unfortunately, this backfired and played into the hands of Hamas by creating anger and poverty among Palestinians, who were further radicalized. Similarly, installing metal detectors on the Temple Mount will inflame rather than reduce violence.
There is a time to fight the good fight and there is a time for a diplomatic solution. After all, the current approach is not working well.