The Need for and Conduct of a Conflict Assessment of the Sacred Esplanade of Jerusalem
8 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 31, 2014
Within the much-disputed borders of Israel lies the Sacred Esplanade of Jerusalem (SEJ). Home of the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, the SEJ is a place long considered holy by Jews, Muslims, and Christians. It is a disputed swath of land, in a city center, layered with ancient religious, historical, and archeological significance. For more than two millennia, people have lived, conquered, and made pilgrimages to this land to give voice to their prayers and faith.
Control of the SEJ affects the identity, security, and spiritual longings of great numbers of people. It is a core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian and Israeli-Arab conflicts, which contribute to regional and global destabilization. To date, negotiators and would be peacemakers have failed to acknowledge the SEJ component of the conflict as a dispute over sacred land.
A conflict assessment of the SEJ must be undertaken to shed light on the possibilities and barriers for peacemaking in Jerusalem. The assessment would include the perspectives of political leaders, religious leaders, the adherent public, and secular members of the community. By illuminating the core tangible and intangible issues, an SEJ conflict assessment would provide insights and recommendations for policymakers, and, most importantly, provide a foundation for future negotiations.
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