Dr. Shmuel Berkovits, Esq., expert on the Holy Sites and author of books on Temple Mount, spoke at the JPC about “The Third Intifada: Causes and Solutions”.
According to Dr. Berkovits, the causes of the recent wave of terror are 1) The perception among Palestinians that Israel is going to change the status quo on Temple Mount; 2) The lack of a political progress towards a Palestinian State; and 3) The gap in living conditions between the Jewish and the Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem. This is accelerated by the Palestinian incitement, including in some of Mahmoud Abbas speeches, not to mention Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Northern Wing of the Isramic Movement in Israel.
Questioned why he calls it the Third Intifada and not “a wave of terror”, like Israeli officials call it, Dr. Berkovits said that compared to the same period during the first Intifada there were now more violent incidents, and also, according to his judgement, this is not going to be over so quickly.
As for the status quo, Dr. Berkovits said that if at all, the status quo brokered by Moshe Dayan in 1967 always favored the Muslims over the Jews, and if this is not enough, then during the recent years it has even shifted further against the Jews.
Having said that, Dr. Berkovits surprised the audience by suggesting that Israel, in order to calm down the situation and prove its good intention, should close Temple Mount for Jews, for one month.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Shmuel Berkovits, an attorney, in an expert on Jerusalem and the holy sites in Israel. He is the author of the award winning book “The Battle for the Holy Places” and “How Terrible is the Place: Holiness, Politics and Justice in Jerusalem and the Holy Places in Israel.”
Dr. Berkovits serves as adviser The Government of Israel; the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Museum of Tolerance in Mamilla, Jerusalem; Christian sects in their conflicts regarding the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and more.