Text of Temple Mount Bill
July 20, 2001
(Original Signature of Member)
H. R. ___________
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. CANTOR introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee
To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority or its
instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no excavation of the
Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This act may be cited as the "Temple Mount Preservation Act of
The Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Temple Mount, located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel, has great
religious significance to the world's three major monotheistic religions, and
increasing violence, religious intolerance, and archeological neglect threaten
to destroy this sacred site.
(2) According to the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount (Har ha-Bayit in Hebrew)
is the location where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in
the ultimate test of his commitment to God. The Temple Mount was also the site
of the first and second Holy Temples, and it is a basic tenet of Judaism that
it will be the site of the third Holy Temple.
(3) According to Christianity, Jesus was dedicated on the Temple Mount in the
Second Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses. He referred to the Biblical
Temple as his Father's House, and was tempted by the Devil at the pinnacle of
the Temple Mount.
(4) According to Islam, the Prophet Muhammad ascended into Heaven riding al-Burak
from the edge of the Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif in Arabic). Al-Aqsa Mosque
is located on the site of the Prophet's ascent and is the third holiest site
in Islam. The Dome of the Rock was built over the Holiest Rock, considered in
Muslim traditions as the Center or Core of the Universe.
(5) In June 1967, Jerusalem once again became a united city under Israel's
sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been legally responsible for the
Temple Mount and has been respectful of the religious practices of Jews,
Christians, and Muslims with regard to this site.
(6) The Israeli Government elected to delegate the daily oversight of the
Temple Mount to the Temple Mount Waqf (Religious Council), whose
responsibility dates back to 1432, in tacit cooperation with the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan because of the King's capacity as the Custodian of Haram al-Sharif.
In 1994, Jordan's role as custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified
in the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty.
(7) In the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Yassir Arafat's Palestinian
Authority asserted pre-eminence on the Temple Mount through the subversion of
the Waqf and by coercing the Jordan-affiliated officials and clergymen off the
Temple Mount. Arafat personally nominated the virulently anti-Semitic and
anti-American Mufti Ikrima Sabri as the Imam of al-Aqsa Mosque. In May 1998,
Sabri declared that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount.
(8) In 1996, the Israeli Islamic Movement sponsored the expansion of the
underground al-Marawani Mosque on the Temple Mount. The excavation conducted
for this expansion extended beyond the original compound, and an ancient
underground structure dating from the period of the Second Temple (circa
515 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 70 A.D. (C.E.), known as the Western Hulda Gate
passageway was converted into a mosque.
(9) In early 1998, the Waqf, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, began
further excavation. A major underground mosque hall was inaugurated in August
1999 and an emergency exit was opened to a mosque located on the Temple Mount.
The exit is 18,000 square feet in size and up to 36 feet deep, and thousands
of tons of ancient fills from the site were dumped into the Kidron Valley.
Archeologists have subsequently determined that artifacts dumped into the
Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount dated from the period of the First Temple
(circa 22 1006 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 586 B.C. (B.C.E.).
(10) In mid 2000, Arafat deployed onto the Temple Mount armed and unarmed
security personnel of Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Forces in violation
of numerous past agreements with Israel. Rajoub's forces evicted the Waqf's
personnel and consolidated Arafat's control and ability to wage the Intifadah
(''uprising'') against Israel.
(11) In February and March of 2001, an ancient arched structure built against
the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers in
order to further enlarge the emergency gate of the new mosque at the Stables
(12) In early May, Arafat ordered that the underground halls under the Temple
Mount be unified into a single fortified space that would be both the largest
mosque ever built on Haram al-Sharif and a springboard for the forthcoming
Palestinian struggle for control of the Temple Mount. Given the haste and
unsupervised nature of the ongoing excavation and construction work, there is
great fear that the foundations of the two Holy Mosques will be severely
damaged to the point of collapse.
(13) The actions of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority threaten to
eliminate all historical evidence of Jewish activity on the Temple Mount and
serve to discredit Israeli claims of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
(14) The massive excavation and unsupervised destruction of artifacts
discovered within the Temple Mount are undeniable affronts to the concepts of
religious freedom and tolerance that must be respected in order to achieve and
maintain peace in the Middle East. The destruction of the Temple Mount, which
threatens to incite more violence, is destroying sacred artifacts and
jeopardizing the ability of Americans to understand and promote their
SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON FUNDS FOR PALESTINIAN AUTHORITIES AND ITS
(a) PROHIBITION. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds
appropriated or otherwise made available in any Act of Congress may be used
for any form of assistance to the Palestinian Authority or any instrumentality
of the Palestinian Authority unless the President has certified to the
Congress that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.
(b) ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION REQUIRED. Any certification by the President under
subsection (a) shall expire on the last day of the fiscal year in which it is
(c) NATIONAL SECURITY WAIVER. The President may waive the prohibition
contained in subsection (a) for a fiscal year if the President certifies in
writing to the Congress that such waiver is in the national security interests
of the United States.