protecting the past

Congressional Bill

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2566

To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority or its instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 19, 2001

Mr. CANTOR (for himself, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Ms. BERKLEY, Mr. PITTS, Mr. KIRK, Mr. BACHUS, Mr. RYUN of Kansas, Mr. PENCE, Mr. SOUDER, Mr. CROWLEY, Mr. LEWIS of Kentucky, Mr. WEINER, Mr. SCHROCK, Mr. GRUCCI, Mr. SCHAFFER, Mr. ISRAEL, and Mr. TIBERI) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations


A BILL

To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority or its instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Temple Mount Preservation Act of 2001′.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The Temple Mount, located in the heart of Jerusalem, Israel, has great religious significance to the world’s three major monotheistic religions, and increasing violence, religious intolerance, and archeological neglect threaten to destroy this sacred site.

(2) According to the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount (Har ha-Bayit in Hebrew) is the location where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in the ultimate test of his commitment to God. The Temple Mount was also the site of the first and second Holy Temples, and it is a basic tenet of Judaism that it will be the site of the third Holy Temple.

(3) According to Christianity, Jesus was dedicated on the Temple Mount in the Second Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses. He referred to the Biblical Temple as his Father’s House, and was tempted by the Devil at the pinnacle of the Temple Mount.

(4) According to Islam, the Prophet Mohammad ascended into Heaven riding al-Burak from the edge of the Temple Mount (Haram al-Shaif in Arabic). Al-Aqsa Mosque is located on the site of the Prophet’s ascent and is the third holiest site in Islam. The Dome of the Rock was built over the Holiest Rock, considered in Muslim traditions as the Center or Core of the Universe.

(5) In June 1967, Jerusalem once again became a united city under Israel’s sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been legally responsible for the Temple Mount and has been respectful of the religious practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims with regard to this site.

(6) The Israeli Government elected to delegate the daily oversight of the Temple Mount to the Temple Mount Waqf (Religious Council), in tacit cooperation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, because of the King’s capacity as the Custodian of Haram al-Sharif. In 1994, Jordan’s role as custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified in the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty.

(7) In the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Yassir Arafat’s Palestinian Authority asserted preeminence on the Temple Mount through the subversion of the Waqf and by coercing the Jordan-affiliated officials and clergymen off the Temple Mount. Arafat personally nominated the virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American Mufti Ikrima Sabri as the Imam of al-Aqsa Mosque. In May 1998, Sabri declared that the Jews have no right to the Temple Mount.

(8) In 1996, the Israeli Islamic Movement sponsored the expansion of the underground al-Marawani Mosque on the Temple Mount. The excavation conducted for this expansion extended beyond the original compound, and an ancient underground structure dating from the period of the Second Temple (circa 515 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 70 A.D. (C.E.)), known as the Western Hulda Gate passageway, was converted into a mosque.

(9) In early 1998, the Waqf, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, began further excavation. A major underground mosque hall was inaugurated in August 1999 and an emergency exit was opened to a mosque located on the Temple Mount. The exit is 18,000 square feet in size and up to 36 feet deep, and thousands of tons of ancient fills from the site were dumped into the Kidron Valley. Archeologists have subsequently determined that artifacts dumped into the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount dated from the period of the First Temple (circa 1006 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 586 B.C. (B.C.E.)).

(10) In mid 2000, Arafat deployed onto the Temple Mount armed and unarmed security personnel of Jibril Rajoub’s Preventive Security Forces in violation of numerous past agreements with Israel. Rajoub’s forces evicted the Waqf’s personnel and consolidated Arafat’s control and ability to wage the Intifadah (`uprising’) against Israel.

(11) In February and March of 2001, an ancient arched structure built against the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to further enlarge the emergency gate of the new mosque at the Stables of Solomon.

(12) In early May, Arafat ordered that the underground halls under the Temple Mount be unified into a single fortified space that would be both the largest mosque ever built on Haram al-Sharif and a springboard for the forthcoming Palestinian struggle for control of the Temple Mount. Given the haste and unsupervised nature of the ongoing excavation and construction work, there is great fear that the foundations of the two Holy Mosques will be severely damaged to the point of collapse.

(13) The actions of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority threaten to eliminate all historical evidence of Jewish activity on the Temple Mount and serve to discredit Israeli claims of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

(14) The massive excavation and unsupervised destruction of artifacts discovered within the Temple Mount are undeniable affronts to the concepts of religious freedom and tolerance that must be respected in order to achieve and maintain peace in the Middle East. The destruction of the Temple Mount, which threatens to incite more violence, is destroying sacred artifacts and jeopardizing the ability of Americans to understand and promote their Judeo-Christian heritage.

SEC. 3. PROHIBITION ON FUNDS FOR PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY AND ITS INSTRUMENTALITIES.

(a) PROHIBITION- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no funds appropriated or otherwise made available in any Act of Congress may be used for any form of assistance to the Palestinian Authority or any instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority, either directly or through any nongovernmental organization or other entity, unless the President has certified to the Congress that no excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted, other than that authorized by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

(b) ANNUAL RECERTIFICATION REQUIRED- Any certification by the President under subsection (a) shall expire on the last day of the fiscal year in which it is made.

(c) NATIONAL SECURITY WAIVER- The President may waive the prohibition contained in subsection (a) for a fiscal year if the President certifies in writing to the Congress that such waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.

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introduced “the Temple Mount Preservation Act (H.R.___) calling these unsupera member of the United States Congress introduced a bill, “condemning the Waqf’s digging activities at the Temple Mount site and deploring the destruction of artifacts.”

August 1999 the Wakf dug a large stairway at the Temple Mount leading down to an underground mosque. . . endangering structures that have been in place for thousands of years;

Whereas among the antiquities removed include a 7-meter-wide wall widely believed to date back to the Second Temple ;

dumping thousands of tons of archaeologically rich soil into the adjacent Kidron Valley. . .

the House of Representatives condemns the Wakf’s digging activities at the Temple Mount site and deplores the destruction of artifacts

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1st Session

H. RES. 756

Condemning the Wakf’s digging activities at the Temple Mount site and deploring the destruction of artifacts vitally important to Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

October 18, 2007

Mr. CANTOR (for himself and Ms. BERKLEY) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


RESOLUTION

Condemning the Wakf’s digging activities at the Temple Mount site and deploring the destruction of artifacts vitally important to Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

Whereas the Temple Mount , located in the ancient city of Jerusalem, Israel, has tremendous religious significance to the world’s three major monotheistic religions;

Whereas according to the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount is the location where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in the ultimate test of his commitment to God;

Whereas the Temple Mount was also the site of the First and Second Holy Temples;

Whereas according to Christianity, Jesus was dedicated on the Temple Mount in the Second Temple in accordance with the Law of Moses;

Whereas Jesus referred to the Biblical Temple as His Father’s House;

Whereas Muslims believe that Mohammed ascended to heaven from the Temple Mount to make the Night Journey to the Throne of Allah;

Whereas in June 1967, Jerusalem once again became a united city under Israel’s sovereignty;

Whereas the State of Israel has been legally responsible for the Temple Mount since 1967 and has been respectful of the religious practices of Jews, Christians, and Muslims at the site;

Whereas Israel maintains overall security control of the site;

Whereas the Wakf, or Islamic Trust, conducts day-to-day administration of the compound;

Wakf officials have repeatedly denied the existence of the First and Second Jewish Temples;

Whereas the Wakf has a stained history of damaging sensitive Jewish and Christian cultural sites;

Whereas in August 1999 the Wakf dug a large stairway at the Temple Mount leading down to an underground mosque, Since 1999, the Waqf has been dumping thousands of tons of archaeologically rich soil into the adjacent Kidron Valley;

Whereas Israel’s Supreme Court declared in 1993 that the Wakf had violated Israel’s antiquities laws on 35 occasions;

Whereas in the summer of 2007 Wakf officials began some of the most extensive work on the Temple Mount site in more than a decade using tractors and other heavy construction machinery to create a 400-meter-long and 1.5-meter-deep trench to replace electrical cables and water pipes;

Whereas in some areas of the Temple Mount the bedrock is only a half meter deep, endangering structures that have been in place for thousands of years;

Whereas among the antiquities removed include a 7-meter-wide wall widely believed to date back to the Second Temple ;

Whereas irresponsible or destructive construction and digging threaten to damage this sacred site; and

Whereas leading Israeli archaeologists have warned of irreversible damage to Jerusalem’s holiest artifacts: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives condemns the Wakf’s digging activities at the Temple Mount site and deplores the destruction of artifacts vitally important to Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

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