QUESTION: Okay. And finally on the same issue, do you comment on the recent violence around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock?
MR. VENTRELL: I am aware of the arrest of the Grand Mufti. Is this the same incident? I’m not aware that they’re the same incident.
QUESTION: Right. It’s the same incident. Actually, the Israelis arrested the Jerusalem Mufti but they did release him a couple of hours ago.
MR. VENTRELL: Right. I mean, we’re concerned about the recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif, including the detention today of the Grand Mufti. We understand that he was released, as you just mentioned. But we urge all sides to respect the status quo of this holy site and to exercise restraint and refrain from provocative actions.
Well, not really okay.
First, who was "violent"? Who was attempting to exercise their legal rights and who was throwing chairs, screaming racist slogans and trying to provoke a riot?
Second, the status quo cannot remain static any longer. It was forced on Jews by an intolerant Islamic approach that perceives the Temple Mount as not belonging to the Jews or that Jews have no rights to their holy site. That will change.
Jews pray in Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs when, for centuries previously, they couldn't even ascend past the 7th step outside. Muslims also pray there, under one roof. It may be thought of as awkward, but it works.
There is more than enough area on the Temple Mount to reach an accommodation. A bit of good will is required.
I think the State Department should be pressuring the Arabs on that. They are involved enough with the population so let their programs concentrate also on tolerance, coexistence and plain humane consideration.
Turning a blind eye to their religious fanaticism (State's reports on religious freedom are wishywashy) doesn't help.
Get more concerned, please.