Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas yesterday called on his people to prevent Israeli settlers from entering Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque and use “all means” to protect the site.On Saturday, Abbas said he wants international law to enforce a ban on Jews from visiting the Temple Mount:
“It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa... and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it,” Abbas said.
We must refer to basic principles, namely Jerusalem, which is exposed to attacks by settlers intent to partition the Haram al-Sharif temporally and spatially, and we know the meaning of this; there were many attacks on Al Aqsa repulsed by religious leaders who are in the compound, but I say to our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank: We are all stationed in the Al Aqsa and will not allow settlers to trample on the Haram and we will take international legal action in this direction.
Last year I wrote a brief survey of international law and the Temple Mount:
Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says:
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
In addition, Article 20 seems to prohibit the insults and incitement that Muslims engage in towards Jews on the Temple Mount:
1. Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.
2. Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.
Moreover, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief is filled with articles that would prohibit banning Jews from the Temple Mount:
No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on grounds of religion or other beliefs.From these articles it appears that Israel is obligated to allow Jews to visit and pray there, and to protect them from those who want to take away their rights.
For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression "intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief" means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.
Discrimination between human beings on grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.
All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.
All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.
It is true that this same declaration says:
Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.But this clause is referring to cases where the practitioners of the religion are the ones who are a danger to others, not when the others are so intolerant that they threaten violence. To invoke this paragraph to deny Jews' rights to the Temple Mount (which I suspect human rights organizations would do if pressed) would make the rest of that declaration a mockery.
Of course, we will never hear Human Rights Watch or Amnesty or the UN dare to defend the Jewish right to worship on the Temple Mount. Because according to those "human rights" bodies, Jews who want to do so are not considered to be worthy of protection by international law.