palestinian president mahmoud abbas

The Temple Mount – Haram al-Sharif to Muslims – in Jerusalem is at the center of an intense debate over messianic religious Zionism in Israeli politics and society, and what it means for the future of the peace process. Religion News Service photo by Jabeen Bhatti

It’s a site holy to both Jews and Muslims — considered the most religiously sensitive square kilometer on earth.

These days, the Temple Mount — known as the Haram al-Sharif to Muslims — is at the center of an intense debate over messianic religious Zionism. How Israeli society deals with it may hold the key to the peace process.

Temple Mount tensions were sparked by last month’s attempted assassination of U.S.-born Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who was seriously wounded.

Glick is a fierce advocate for building a third Jewish temple on the site of the Temple Mount, where two Jewish temples stood thousands of years ago. He is also at the forefront of a campaign to allow Jewish prayers at the site. Israel currently bans Jews from praying on the plateau to prevent clashes with Muslims worshipping at the nearby Noble Sanctuary, a mosque considered to be Islam’s third-holiest site, and Jerusalem’s most iconic gold-domed landmark.

Alex Awad 09-26-2011
Late last week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke at the United Nations to request an official recognition of Palestine as an independent state with full statehood status at the UN.
Gary M. Burge 02-22-2011

I must confess I was dumbfounded. It was bad enough this winter when Israel refused to call a moratorium on settlements in the West Bank, even after the United States urged it to do so (and sent our latest $3 billion check).