Thursday, February 20, 2014

Daoud Kuttab Cheers The "Defense of Al-Aqsa"

If you want to look for a defender of Arab apartheid, look no further than Huffington Post blogger Daoub Kuttab. In his latest piece, he applauds the successful "protection" of Al-Aqsa. Protection from whom, you ask? Those accursed rightwingers, who actually think Jews are equal to Muslims!

The issue arose in the Knesset this week that maybe, just maybe, Muslim control over the Temple Mount should change and Israel should control it. Here's how Kuttab describes it:
"Jordan succeeded this week to force the Israeli Knesset to cancel a discussion planned for Tuesday regarding Al Aqsa Mosque.
The public debate was initiated by the deputy speaker of the Israeli legislature, Moshe Feiglen, and was intended to focus on the issue of sovereignty over the third holiest place in Islam.
Rightwing Israelis want to remove any non-Israeli control over the mosque area.
Al Haram Al Sharif, built in the seventh century, is a walled area that spans 144 dunums and includes two mosques (the silver-domed Al Aqsa Mosque and the gold-covered Dome of the Rock), as well as court areas, an Islamic museum, a Sharia Islamic court and other facilities"
 If you go to the link about removing non-Israeli control over the mosque area, it takes you to a Wordpress blog (!) that reports the following second hand from Ha'artez:
"Israeli daily, Ha’aretz, reported on February 17, 2014 that Bennett told a delegation from the US-based Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in occupied Jerusalem on Monday that Israel would like to assume a greater degree of control over the controversial Temple Mount in East Jerusalem."
So even according to this Wordpress blog, Bennett wants to have Israel control not simply Al Aqsa mosque (or as Kuttab refers to it, "the third holiest place in Islam"), but the Temple Mount, also known to Jews as the number one holiest place in Judaism.

But why would Kuttab mention the Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site? That would imply that Judaism and Islam are equal, and that Jews are actually justified in wanting control over their holiest place. Better to bury that inconvenient factoid.

Kuttab moves on to explaining how Jordan forced them Jews to stay in their place:
Jordan's Parliament got the ball rolling initially, with a strong statement by its Palestine committee threatening to cancel the Israeli-Jordan treaty if the status of the revered Islamic site is changed.
Jordan's treaty with Israel clearly specifies the Hashemite Kingdom's unique role in protecting the status of holy shrines in Jerusalem. Furthermore, a Palestinian-Jordanian agreement that recognises Palestinian sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem accepts the role of the Hashemites as guardians of Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem.
The statement of the parliamentary committee was followed by two boisterous sessions in Parliament, in which legislators of all backgrounds spoke out against the intended actions of Israeli extremists.
 Again, you gotta love how wanting control over your religion's holiest place makes you an "extremist," but threatening to cancel peace treaties over control of your religion's third holiest place is a position to be praised.

But what does the Israel-Jordan peace treaty actually say? Kuttab links to it, but he doesn't quote it. Because this is what the treaty actually says in Article 9:
1. Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
2. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
3. The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.
 Nowhere does it state that Jordan and Jordan alone has control over the "Muslim Holy shrines," much less the Temple Mount itself. An honest journalist would admit that. Mr. Kuttab is not such a journalist.

After making his half-assed case, Kuttab continues to use inflammatory language to attack the other side:
This small success to temporarily stem the rightwing Jewish onslaught on Jerusalem's holy places is not likely to be the end of the story.
Rightwing elements continue to have a majority in the ruling Likud Party and have a strong presence in Netanyahu's coalition government.
Various rightwing individuals and groups in Israel wish to change the situation of what they call the Temple Mount, despite legal, political and even religious opposition.
Hey, Kuttab mentions that it's called the Temple Mount. Of course, only "rightwing individuals and groups in Israel" call it that, not Jews in general, but still, at least he mentioned it. Won't someone help us hold back this "onslaught"?

Kuttab then recaps with a brief summary of the current status of the Temple Mount (I guess by calling it that, I must be a rightwing individual) and ends.

Poor Kuttab! Muslim control over Judaism's holiest site was actually challenged for the first time in decades! Thank goodness Jordan stepped in and threatened war to make sure their control remained. That was a close one.

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