Following the remarkable success of the Trump-brokered peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Secretary of State Mike Pompeop arrived in Israel on Monday with an agenda to expand peace in the region.
Under the agreement, Israel and the UAE agreed to full diplomatic ties including exchanging ambassadors, starting direct flights, and trading openly.Though many of the details of the agreement have yet to be revealed, it is believed that the agreement with the UAE would require Israel to delay or cancel plans to declare sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. Pompeo has stated in the past that extending Israeli sovereignty was a decision “for Israelis to make.”
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Pompeo said that the issue of Israel’s granting sovereignty to Judea and Samaria will “have better clarity” when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed meet with US President Donald Trump to sign the treaty, possibly in the coming weeks.
“I’ll leave it to those three leaders to discuss,” he said. “The commitment that the Israelis made was that they would not extend their sovereignty for a period of time. We are hopeful that the leaders will all be physically together, and will probably have greater clarity and the ability to answer that more clearly.”
Pompeo plans to continue his visit to the region by visiting Sudan, Bahrain and the UAE. He hinted to the media that more countries are interested in signing peace agreements with Israel though he did not specify which.
“I couldn’t tell you the timing and I couldn’t tell you which countries, but I think as other nations around the world come to see that there is enormous benefit to the relationship – from a diplomatic perspective, an economic perspective, and from a security perspective – I think that other nations will see that it is the right thing to do,” Pompeo said in an interview with the J-Post. “I think they will also come to see that building out this set of relationships is the pathway that will lead to stability in the Middle East as well.”
A historic peace conference
Israel Hayom cited “a senior Arab diplomat…who represents the United Arab Emirates” as saying that Pompeo is working to arrange a multi-national Middle East peace conference to be held in the next few weeks in one of the Arab Gulf states.
The Palestinian Authority accused the UAE and other Arab nations of being traitors for considering normalizing relations with Israel. PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat published an article titled “The birth of Arab Zionists” in which he blamed Christians, not Jews, for the growing US support for Israel.
“Extremist Christian Zionism has appeared in many forms: support for Israel and its advancement as opposed to the backwardness and corruption of the undemocratic Arabs and Muslims. This is one of form of justifying support for Israel. Their use of religion reached the point where US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he was walking with Christ in order to legalize settlements, recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and annex Palestinian territories.”
Rabbi Glick weighs in
Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a former Likud Member of Knesset and head of the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation, noted that just as the First Temple was built during a period of peace following a long period of war, a wave of peace agreements could be a harbinger of a period of peace more conducive to the construction of the Third Temple than the first several decades of modern Israel which were characterized by wars.
“One thing I cannot tell you is the future,” Rabbi Glick said as a disclaimer. “But if the options are to bring a House of Prayer to the Temple Mount through peace or war, it is certainly preferable to do so through peace like the First Temple which was brought through peace.”
Rabbi Glick noted that just like King Solomon made peace agreements with King Hiram of Tyre (known today as Lebanon) and with the Queen of Sheba, the current efforts to pursue peace include Lebanon and African nations.
It should be noted that according to the Mishnah (oral law), the altar must be made of unworked stones that have not been formed by iron tools. This is because iron is used to make weapons of war and the Temple is meant to prolong life, not shorten it.
“The normalization agreement with the UAE is unprecedented and seems geared towards bringing a House of Prayer for all nations.
For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:7)
This is the first time that an Arab Muslim country is speaking in terms of inclusiveness.The Temple Mount was always a difficult issue when negotiating with other Arab nations but not so with the UAE.”
Rabbi Glick emphasized that one of the most significant achievements in this agreement is that this it will bring the Arab Muslim citizens of the UAE to the Temple Mount to pray. It should be noted that last week, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, issued a fatwa (religious proclamation) declaring that Muslim citizens of the UAE will not be permitted to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
“There will be direct flights from the UAE,’ Rabbi Glick noted. “I expect thousands of Muslims from the UAE who will come to pray on the Temple Mount.”
Ironically, the fatwa may bring about a situation in which citizens of the UAE who visit the Temple Mount will be prohibited from praying inside and will be forced to pray outside, alongside the Jews.
“This is a huge opportunity because, until now, the Palestinian Muslims refused to pray with us,” Rabbi Glick said. “That was preventing the prophecy from coming. Now, with Christians, Muslims, and Jews praying side by side, we can have a House of Prayer for all nations.”