This really sounds like a sad joke, but it seems that Israel, as small as it is, is not only pressured by the world to carve a 23rd Arab State within its belly, but now to aggravate this stripping away, the visit of Pope Benedict XVI hinges on the demand by the Vatican to have control, or sovereignty if you wish, of six properties including Mt.Tabor, Capernaum and Mt. of Beatitudes on the North Kinneret shore as well as three churches. Lastly, and most importantly, the Vatican is also demanding control over the Last Supper Room in the Mt. Zion building that houses King David’s Tomb. This room is said to mark the burial site of Kings Solomon and Hezekiah.
Wouldn’t giving away property from Israel to others such as the Vatican in this case creates a precedent for other properties such as the Bahai Temple in Haifa, or the Russian compound to Russia? How about other religious sites of interest in other countries? Wouldn’t they also demand property rights and control? President Peres, the instigator of the “New Middle East” and the architect of the failed and suicidal Oslo accords, is pressuring the government of Israel to sign away these properties. What would giving away control of these sovereign territories mean to Israel? It would mean that whenever Israel desires to pave roads or lay electricity and other infrastructures within these properties, it will have to ask for the Vatican’s approval. In other words, Israel’s sovereignty will be replaced by some sort of dhimmitude, which to the Arab world translates into a conceding, surrendering and placating attitude.
To make matters worse, this precedent may indeed rock the entire house of Israel when you realize that there are many competing claims between various churches throughout the country. The Vatican has even threatened to call off the Pope’s visit if Israel does not cave in to their demand; to me, this warning sounds more like a threat. The Jewish people still have a bitter remembrance of the hostile Church’s history against the Jewish people, and I do not think that in accordance with the 1993 Vatican’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, that the Vatican should have any reason to demand control of this property. After all, Israel is a sovereign democratic country which grants freedom of worship to all religions and the Christian institutions in Israel are sacrosanct, respected, safe and accessible to all Christians; so why demand sovereignty?
This writer is personally opposed to signing away to the Vatican’s demand. Due to the friendship expressed by the Pope and the Vatican for the past decade, this writer cannot fathom the reason why Israel should forfeit its jurisdiction, especially of Mt. Zion to the Vatican. The infrastructure claimed by the Vatican is a Jewish area just a few hundred yards from the Temple Mount, and the status quo should not be changed since signing it away would make it irreversible to ever reclaim it.
It seems to this writer, and this is just my opinion, that the leaders of other faiths such as Christian and Islam’s main purpose is to destabilize the Jewish People’s ownership over its sacred sites and rid the Temple Mount and the Old City of exclusive Jewish sovereignty. The Sanhedrin asserts that the representatives of the State of Israel can represent the Jewish Nation as long as they act in accordance with its traditions and laws, and are not authorized to transfer the ownership, or authority over, lands and properties in the Land of Israel to any foreign religious or political element, thus Peres and those in the Israeli government who are ready to concede strategically religious property away are not the sole owners of this land and thus should not dispose of it at will without the approval of the Jewish citizens in Israel and the Diaspora.