|A Saudi newspaper featured a cartoon of The Dome of the Rock with a "victory" sign|
It is ludicrous to view metal detectors as a threat to freedom of Islamic worship, or a change to the status quo at the holy site. Nevertheless, Israel's defense establishment recommended removing the metal detectors. Why?
Right now, Israel's enemies across the Middle East are busy fighting one another. Israel remains outside of the combat arenas. In the wider perspective, Israel's interest is not to enter into a new conflict. Israel has no interest in uniting the Islamic world against it.
Perhaps the depressing aspect of all of this is that it isn’t hard to figure out what a reasonable, constructive policy would be for the Temple Mount.
As a liberal democracy, Israel has an interest, indeed a duty, to ensure that the holy site is open to all religions and that everyone has the right to freely worship on the Temple Mount. Given the fact that the Temple Mount is the holiest place in the world for Jews, Israel has a vital interest in securing its sovereign control over the area.
To secure its sovereignty and advance its clear interest in facilitating religious freedom for all, Israel’s policy goal is straightforward. The government should enable all faiths to worship freely at the site.
If after it begins good-faith efforts to collectively advance the liberal, democratic goal of ensuring religious freedom for all at the holy site, the Palestinians again turn to violence, then the Islamic world, or parts of it, will be in a position to blame them when Israel unilaterally enables Jews and Christians to pray on the Temple Mount parallel to Muslim worshipers.