12 February 2007

An awkward climb down

The Jerusalem municipality will submit new plans for a walkway leading to a disputed holy compound in Jerusalem, a City Hall spokesman said Monday, but work was scheduled to continue at the site.

The plans for the new walkway up to the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount were already approved by City Hall, but Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski will now demand a longer and more transparent planning process that will allow residents to see the plans and submit protests, spokesman Gidi Schmerling said.
The above quote is from Jerusalem Post. Haaretz adds another detail:
Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski announced late Sunday night that he has decided to postpone construction of the walkway at the Mugrabi Ascent until zoning authorities complete plans for the area.
In other words: as I have mentioned in that previous post, the plans were not communicated in advance, the government barged into this adventure unprepared, and now it takes an undeniably good man, Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski, to defuse the situation and to infuse some common sense into the brouhaha.

To summarize my own view of the situation:
  1. Israel has every right to do everything that needs to be done in the territory where it is a sovereign, especially due to safety concerns - see here. Which concerns are relevant to the Muslim visitors of the Temple Mount as well as to anyone else.
  2. Israel does not need a permission from anyone to carry out the work.
  3. There is a big difference between asking for a permission and communicating our intentions at a right time to the right people.
  4. Even a proper communication of the plan may not have helped to avoid the histrionics, but it does not mean that it shouldn't be done.
  5. Israel failed badly in communicating its intention - to our friends as well as to our enemies.
  6. Proving yet again the immaturity and haste that so far has been the main distinguishing mark of our government.
At least we can console ourselves by the fact that there are good people outside the government that know what to do in a crisis like this. Unfortunately we cannot depend on a savior in every eventuality.

Too bad...