Bridges For Peace (Link) - Israel Mosaic Radio - Ron Ross (May 21, 2009)
Will nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia soon be in control of the Temple Mount? In the tenuous discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) the sacred site has become a major prize. Nabil Abu Radeina, spokesman for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), said a peace agreement could be achieved in three to six months if Israel has a leader willing to make genuine compromises.
He said the PA would be prepared to relinquish sovereignty over the Temple Mount in exchange for Islamic sovereignty. He was referring to the Saudi-based Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) whose 57-member states include Iran. The ICO is already a signatory to the Arab Peace initiative. The inference behind this Temple Mount strategy is that the Palestinians would relinquish their sovereignty in return for support from all Muslim states in their negotiations toward a peace agreement with Israel.
There will be passionate response about such a deal in Israel. Already Eli Yishai Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party has said his party will withdraw from the Netanyahu Coalition if the Temple Mount is part of any peace deal.
"Not only Shas will leave the government, but also Yisrael Beitanu (Parliamentary Party) will not sit one day in government that opposes all of its particulars," Yishai told Haaretz newspaper. As pressure mounts for serious issues within the peace agreement to be considered right-wing, voices are defiant against plans to divide Jerusalem as well as relinquish Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Yishai told Haaretz the transfer of the Temple Mount to international control is not something he is not ready to "even dream about in [his] worst dreams."
Calls for an Israel withdrawal from 70% of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) adds further flames to an already explosive process. According to the Arab Peace initiative Israel would retain sovereignty over the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. The Palestinians would control the Muslim, Christian and Armenian quarters. Israel objects to the surrender of the Armenian sector.
Biblically the Temple Mount (Mount Moriah) is the location where David brought the Ark. The Tabernacle of Moses was there. It is the same location where King Solomon built the First Temple and despite fierce opposition, the Second Temple was completed on this site in 515 BC.
In the Christian era the history continued. In AD 136 Hadrian erected the Temple of Jupiter there and a statue of himself. Islamic tradition says Caliph Omar cleared rubbish from the Temple Mount and prayed at the site in AD 638. An old wooden El Aksa Mosque was constructed in AD 700 and the Dome of the Rock by Abd el-Malik, AD 684-690.
Jesus also experienced the temple there. He was first presented at the temple and dedicated to God by his parents (Luke 2:21-24). When He was 12, Jesus spoke with the priests and teachers in the Second Temple (Luke 2:41-50). He was tempted by the devil on the pinnacle of the temple (Luke 4:1-12). Followers of Jesus gathered in the Temple courts on the day of Pentecost and experienced the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 1ff). Stephen was martyred on the Temple Mount (Acts 6-7).
Author Joel C. Rosenberg described the location as the epicenter of the world. To use a well-known phrase, "Location! Location! Location!" and its significance continues to this day.