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SHIFTING OF CAPITAL FAIT ACCOMPLI OR FAUX PAS?

  • Dr Syed Hussain Shaheed Soherwordi
  • Jan, 2018
  • 406
  • Cover Story

Taking such a bold step in foreign policy of the country and ignoring the UN is a move to shake the foundations of the global body

The US policy towards Middle East has always been with some ups and downs. Middle East has been volatile region due to disputed territory of Palestine. The Palestinians and Israelis are hardliners and not ready to move an inch from their standpoint. Both claim each other’s territories without any compromise or a win-win situation. Over and above, shifting of the US embassy from Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv to Jerusalem fuels to the fire. Known in Hebrew as Yerushalayim and in Arabic as al-Quds, it is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt time and again, and every layer of its earth reveals a different piece of the past. It has been a controversial and significant city since ages between the Abrahamic religions- Jews, Christians and Muslims, who consider it a holy city. Some of the most sacred places for each of these religions are found in Jerusalem and the one shared between all three is the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount also known as Al-Quds Al-Sharif or “Mount of the House of God” or “the Noble Sanctuary of Jerusalem” is a hill located in the Old City of Jerusalem that has been respected as a holy site for thousands of years by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The present site is dominated by three monumental structures from the early Umayyad period: the al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, as well as four minarets. Herodian walls and gates with additions dating back to the late Byzantine and early Islamic periods cut through the flanks of the Mount. Currently it can be reached through eleven gates, ten reserved for Muslims and one for non-Muslims, with guard posts of Israeli police in the vicinity of each.

For Christians

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a significant focus for Christians all over the world. It is located on a site that is central to the life of Jesus, his death, crucifixion and resurrection. According to most Christian traditions, Jesus was crucified there, on Golgotha, or the hill of Calvary, his tomb is located inside the sepulchre and this was also the site of his resurrection. The church is managed jointly by representatives of different Christian denominations, mainly the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, Franciscan friars from the Roman Catholic Church, the Armenian Patriarchate, and also by the Ethiopians, Coptics and Syrian Orthodox Church. It is one of the main pilgrimage destinations for millions of Christians worldwide who visit the empty tomb of Jesus and seek solace and redemption in prayer at the site.

For Muslims

The largest population of the city believes that Jerusalem contains the shrine of the Dome of Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque on a plateau known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. The mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and is under the administration of an Islamic trust called the Waqf. Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) travelled here from Makkah during his night journey and prayed with the souls of all the prophets. A few steps away, the shrine of the Dome of the Rock holds the foundation stone, where Muslims believe Muhammad (PBUH) then ascended to heaven to visit Heaven and meet Allah. Muslims visit the holy site all year round, but every Friday during the holy month of Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to pray at the mosque.

For Jews

The Jewish religion is home to the Kotel, Wailing Wall, or the Western Wall, a remnant of the retaining wall of the mount on which the Holy Temple once stood.Inside the temple was the Holy of Holies, the most sacred site in Judaism.Jews believe that this was the location of the foundation stone from which the world was created, and where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Many Jews believe the Dome of the Rock is the site of the Holy of Holies.Today, the Western Wall is the closest place Jews can pray to the Holy of Holies.It is managed by the Rabbi of the Western Wall and every year hosts millions of visitors. Jewish people from all over the world visit this place to pray and connect to their heritage, especially during the High Holidays.

The US Policy for Jerusalem

Keeping in view the importance of the city for all the three Abrahamic religions, it’s important to adopt a win-win solution to the problem. However, abruptly shifting of embassy from the current Israeli capital Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is like playing with the fire.

In the past, US...

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