"'Israeli Plans' for Arafat's Death", http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3893655.stm
reveals the hatred that fuels the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, underscoring that not even in death can it abate. The Israeli's declare that burying Arafat at the Haram-al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) ground which houses the al-Aqsa mosque would be "symbolically problematic", indicating, among other things, their unwillingness both to acknowledge the Palestinian claim to the Temple Mount and to implicitly sanction, through the permission for burial there, the life of President Arafat.
This is entirely understandable in terms of the predominant Israeli view of President Arafat as murderer and inciter of terrorists, responsible for the deaths of many Israelis. But what a gesture of reconciliation it would have been to allow this burial within what is both Jewish and Muslim holy ground and to share, in death, this dually-consecrated site, holy within the cultures and religions of two peoples.
Clearly, most of the world, like the Israelis, has not yet arrived at the possibility of replacing political and military conflict with its present justification and escalation of violence, with an attitude of spiritual respect toward all and a commitment to peace. If it had, such peace would finally become possible. However, in order for this to happen, even our 'enemies' must be accorded respect, not just our friends. Even those whom we feel have commited crimes against us.
Within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, violence and murder in the name of self-protection have occurred on both sides. Universal respect, coming from heightened awareness of humanity's oneness in God, would follow the injunction of Jesus: "Love your enemies; do good to them that hurt you." It would involve the recognition that all are souls. This would not mean condoning actions of violence and terrorism under Arafat's leadership or by Israel. Rather, it would mean allowing each soul to be recognized as a soul, possessing their own inner relationship with God. Such recognition may mean even more at the time of death, when all actions on the human level are over.
Can such tolerance and forgiveness be practiced? Would President Arafat's presence within the al-Aqsa mosque's burial ground desecrate the Temple Mount? This is a matter of individual conscience and deliberation. The shared holy site has a history that is precious to each of its peoples. (See:BBC's "Holy Jerusalem: The Key to Peace": (2/19/03) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2001/israel_and_the_palestinians/issues/923340.stm
It is true that what has not been possible before is not likely to be possible now, following three years of bloodshed by both Israelis and Palestinians. Yet, the 'internationalization' of the Temple Mount which would permit Arafat's burial on Muslim holy ground and which would allow joint ownership of this site by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian groups, will, when its time comes, be a gesture of goodwill and of hope. The time is not here now for this to happen, but we need to pray for the day when Israelis and Palestinians as well as the rest of us will be able to move past political hatred toward innate humanity and the recognition of our oneness with each other.