Trump’s Plan Calls for ‘Sensitivity’ in Jerusalem. Then Takes a Hammer to It
A bulldozer in a china shop. That’s how the section of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan on Jerusalem feels. The authors of the plan talk about the need to treat the issue of Jerusalem’s holy sites with “utmost sensitivity,” but they are brutally trampling over the sensitive, complex and dangerous problems. It shows a minimal understanding of the city, does not delve into details and is rife with major contradictions.
For example, the plan declares the status quo in the holy sites will be maintained: “In particular the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif should continue uninterrupted.” But in the next paragraph it says: “People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.”
– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 59
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But the most important section of the unwritten status quo on the Temple Mount is that Jews and other non-Muslims have no right to pray there. This status quo was approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, in his own voice, in 2015. So what is the significance of the status quo if everyone has the right to pray on the Temple Mount?
The authors of the American plan totally accept the view that Israel has the right to continue to keep all the holy sites. This right, according to the authors of the peace plan, who base themselves on Netanyahu here, stems not only from Israel’s ties to these holy sites but also because it is the only ruler that safeguarded the freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem. As a result, the plan concludes that Israel should continue to maintain the Holy Basin area.
– Peace to Prosperity: The Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan – click to download
IN FULL: Trump’s Middle East peace plan – click to download
The plan even includes a list of the 35 holy sites in the city, including the City of David, the Pool of Siloam and numerous churches. For the Palestinians: “Licenses shall be provided to Palestinian tour guides to operate tours in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as at sites sacred to Christianity and Islam in other areas of Jerusalem.” In return, they are supposed to give up what is considered to be a religious symbol and the most important center of their nationalism.
According to the Trump peace plan, almost all of Jerusalem will remain in Israeli hands, except for two small corners: The Shoafat refugee camp and Kafr Akeb in the north of the city. These two neighborhoods, which are within Jerusalem’s municipal borders, were cut off from the capital about 15 years ago when the separation barrier was constructed. As a result of this isolation, Israeli authorities almost completely withdrew from these neighborhoods and anarchy reigned.
As a result, huge apartment buildings were constructed there illegally, and today some 120,000 to 140,000 people live there, most of whom have Israeli residency. In other words, one out of every three Palestinians in Jerusalem lives in these two neighborhoods, which will be left outside of the city according to the plan.