Friday, October 12, 2007

Why 1930 is Relevant to the Temple Mount Issue in 2007

First the report, and then the comment:-

An adviser to Mahmoud Abbas said the Kotel should be under Palestinian control. Adnan Husseini, aide to the Palestinian Authority president, said Thursday that Palestinian demands for Israel to cede eastern Jerusalem under any peace accord also includes the Western Wall.

"This is part of Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must be under Muslim control," Husseini told Israel's NRG Web site, adding that all of Jerusalem's Old City should be part of a future Palestinian state. He made similar comments in an interview with Israel Radio.

As I have emphasized to my readers here and in my op-ed columns, the Pal. approach to this issue is that

a) the entire Temple Mount compound belongs to them;
b) it is one big mosque;
c) the Jews have no rights to be in or on the Temple Mount and any customs of prayer and such that we may have developed over the years, specifically at the Western Wall, can be tolerated but to a limit.

Yasser Arafat continually referred to an "International Commission" that, by "international law", confirmed this approach but Israelis never paid any attention to the details.

Let me explain.

As a result of the 1929 riots during which Arabs killed at least 130 Jews, almost half in Hebron alone, the British Mandatory authorities, urged on by the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations in Geneva, established an international body of three to investigate the Arab claims that since the Jews were demonstrating for a year, claiming the Western Wall as theirs, and the Arabs had insisted it was our "provocation" that led to the riots, then the question 'who owns the Wall?' must be answered.

The three were ELIEL LÖFGREN, formerly Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Member of the Upper Chamber of the Swedish Riksdag (to act as Chairman); CHARLES BARDE, Vice-President of the Court of Justice at Geneva, President of the Austro-Roumanian Mixed Arbitration Tribunal; and J. VAN KEMPEN, formerly Governor of the East Coast of Sumatra, Member of the States-General of the Netherlands.

STIG SAHLIN was secretary.

And, as they understood their task,

The aim and object of the work of the Commission have bees to inquire into and to pronounce a verdict upon the disputes that have arisen between Arabs and Jews in connection with the practice of the Jews to resort to the Western or Wailing Wall (by the Arabs called Al Buraq) for the purpose of devotion.

Here is their answer and it's called

of the
Commission appointed by His Majesty's Government
in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, with the approval of the Council
of the League of Nations, to determine the rights
and claims of Moslems and Jews in connection with
the Western or Wailing Wall at Jerusalem

December, 1930

It was "PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY HIS MAJESTY'S STATIONERY OFFICE in LONDON and could have been "purchased directly from H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the following addresses:
Adastral House, Kingsway, London, W.C.2; 120, George Street, Edinburgh; York Street, Manchester; 1, St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff; 15, Donegall Square West, Belfast;
or through any Bookseller" and appeared in 1931. It's price was "1s. 6d. Net."

And the contents of the report were:

The Jewish Claims 15
The Moslem Contentions 19
(1) The Task entrusted to the Commission 33
(2) The application of the Principles of Status Quo 36
(3) The Ownership of the Wall and of its Surroundings 39
(4) The Sacredness of the Wall 41
(5) The access to the Place in front of the Wall 42
(6) The Form and Extent of Jewish Devotions 46
Conclusions 57

Let's jump to Conclusions:

The conclusions arrived at by the Commission on the basis of the reasoning and evidence adduced above, may be summed up as follows:

A. To the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seeing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area, which is a Waqf property.

To the Moslems there also belongs the ownership of the Pavement in front of the Wall and of the adjacent so-called Moghrabi (Moroccan) Quarter opposite the Wall, inasmuch as the last-mentioned property was made Waqf under Moslem Sharia Law, it being dedicated to charitable purposes.

Such appurtenances of worship and/or such other objects as the Jews may be entitled to place near the Wall either in conformity with the provisions of this present Verdict or by agreement come to between the Parties shall under no circumstances be considered as, or have the effect of, establishing for them any sort of proprietary right to the Wall or to the adjacent Pavement.

On the other hand the Moslems shall be under the obligation not to construct or build any edifice or to demolish or repair any building within the Waqf property (Haram area and Moghrabi Quarter) adjacent to the Wall, in such a manner that the said work would encroach on the Pavement or impair the access of the Jews to the Wall or involve any disturbance to, or interference with, the Jews during the times of their devotional visits to the Wall, if it can in any way be avoided.

B. The Jews shall have free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times subject to the explicit stipulations hereinafter to be mentioned...

...(5) The Jews shall not be permitted to blow the ram's horn (Shofar) near the Wall nor cause any other disturbance to the Moslems that is avoidable; the Moslems on the other hand shall not be permitted to carry out the Zikr ceremony close to the Pavement during the progress of the Jewish devotions or to cause annoyance to the Jews in any other way...

...(8) It shall be held to be a matter of common interest to Moslems and Jews alike that the Western Wall should not be disfigured by having any engravings or inscriptions placed upon it or by having nails or similar objects driven into it and also that the Pavement in front of the Wall should be kept clean and be properly respected by Moslems and Jews alike; it is herewith declared to be the Moslems' right and duty to have the Pavement cleaned and repaired, if and when that is necessary, upon due notice being given to the Administration...

Now do you understand what is at the root of the Pals. claim to international legitimacy to their claims?

That 1930 commission was quite aware of what they were doing:

In addition to what has been said earlier with regard thereto, it is fitting here to recall the fact that, in the Treaty between the European Great Powers and Turkey for the settlement of the affairs of the East, signed on 13th July, 1878, the Sublime Porte made a spontaneous declaration, in which there was expressed the intention to maintain the principle of religious liberty and to give it the widest scope (Article LXII).

In regard to the particular case that the Commission has been appointed to inquire into, this lofty principle cannot be put into practice, unless the adherents of the differing creeds are prepared, in observance of the rules set forth above, to show each other due consideration as regards the one Party in the exercise of their incontestable rights of ownership and possession, and as regards the other in the performance of their religious services on a ground which does not belong to them by right of possession.

Jews, even with regard to the Temple Mount and the Westrern Wall are to be tolerated as second-class persons. No more.

The entire report covers many pages but is fascinating reading, even if quite depressing.


Elder of Ziyon said...

I commented and amplified on this post on my blog about why the British preferred the Arab claims and why the Arabs are now hypocrites for citing that report.

Gandalin said...

Elder of Ziyon's comment and post are exactly right. The Arabs portray themselves as anti-colonialist nationalists, but they are only too happy to exalt an obsolete white paper from the British Empire when it suits their purposes. Let them first accept as eternally binding the Balfour Declaration, and then we will discuss the subsidiary topics.

Never forget, the Arab state that was carved out of Mandatory Palestine is Jordan. The Arabs are entitled to not one square inch more than that.