Media reports of recent weeks say that the idea, originally raised by Justice Minister Yossi Beilin in the Beilin-Abu Mazen agreements of late 1995, is supported by several key ministers, including Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and that such an offer has reportedly been made to the Palestinians.
“You cannot make the Temple Mount the public expression of Palestinian nationalistic aspirations,” said Rabbi David Hartman, head of Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute.
Professor Joshua Schwartz, director of Bar-Ilan University’s Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies, said that allowing the Palestinians to hoist their flag on the Temple Mount will not resolve the conflict.
“The major problem at the Temple Mount is that…[it was]…sacred to the Jewish people even before the…First Temple, and …up to the present, [and it] also houses the mosques of another religion. But by giving the other side a degree of sovereignty which is what putting their flag up means…the conflict, the clash and the quest over the site will continue.”
Any solution, said Schwartz, must take both Jewish and Moslem sensitivities into account. “The problem is that the Wakf refuses to accept or recognize the historical Jewish tradition of the Temple Mount,” he added.
Calling such a move “a tragedy for the Jewish people,” Shlomo Riskin,
Chief Rabbi of Efrat, says it would be difficult to imagine such an event,
since the site is Judaism’s holiest spot. Riskin, who feels acutely the
humiliation of a situation in which Jews cannot pray at the Temple Mount
although Israel technically has control of the area, suggests that two flags
be raised at the site.