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January 6, 2007
Transplanting Al-Aqsa: response
Dan Gordon's astonishing proposal -- that Israel turn over Al-Aqsa, on the Temple Mount, to Saudi Arabia -- reminds me of all those Cold War liberals who twisted themselves into pretzels trying to find some formula for nuclear-arms control that the Soviet Union would accept. In those days, the liberals believed that if only we were clever enough to find the "right" combination of missile and warhead limits we would have the kind of breakthrough with the Kremlin's arms negotiators in Geneva that had for so long eluded us. One far-reaching and generous formula after another was proposed and -- to the liberals' amazement -- the Soviet Union kept saying nyet. So the liberals would go back to their drawing boards to concoct yet another, even more far-reaching and generous warheads-and-missiles formula -- which would bring yet another nyet from Moscow's arms negotiators. What the liberals never grasped is that no arms-limitation formula would ever be acceptable because in fact the Soviet Union had no interest whatever in limiting arms.
The problem with Mr. Gordon's proposal, simply put, is that it won't work -- not because it isn't clever and generous but because the Arabs have no interest in living in peace with Israel.
Two points are worth noting about Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount. First, they were seized by Jordan in the 1948 war, and held by Jordan until the Israelis kicked them off the Temple Mount in the 1967 war. During these 19 years, the Arabs could have created a state of Palestine at any time, yet they didn't. Surely this tells us something; namely, that creating a state of Palestine is of absolutely no interest to the Arabs. All they really want is Israel's destruction. Second, when the Israelis took control of Al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount in 1967, they discovered that the place had been used by Jordan as an ammunition dump. So much for this being Islam's "third-holiest site."