Over the last twenty years, there has been a growing understanding that conflicts in or over holy places differ from other territorial conflicts. A holy site has a profound meaning, involving human beliefs, strong emotions, "sacred" values, and core identity self-perceptions; therefore a dispute over such land differs from a "regular" dispute over land. In order to resolve conflicts over holy sites, one must be equipped with an understanding of the cultural, religious, social, and political meaning of the holy place to each of the contesting groups.
This book seeks to understand the many facets of disputes and the triggers for the outbreak of violence in and around holy sites. It analyses fourteen case studies of conflicts over holy sites in Palestine/Israel, including major holy sites such as Al-Haram al-Sharif/the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the Cave of the Patriarchs/Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, in addition to disputes over more minor sites. It then compares these conflicts to similar cases from other regions and provides an analysis of effective and ineffective conflict mitigation and resolution tools used for dealing with such disputes. Furthermore, the book sheds light on the role of sacred sites in exacerbating local and regional ethnic conflicts.
By providing a thorough and systematic analysis of the social, economic, and political conditions that fuel conflicts over holy sites and the conditions that create tolerance or conflict, this book will be a key resource for students and scholars of conflict resolution, political science, and religious studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction Part I: Challenging the Status Quo 1. The 1929 Western Wall Strife 2. Post 1967 Struggle over Al-Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount 3. Intra-Christian Conflict at the Holy Sepulchre and Deir al-Sultan 4. (De)Constructing the Mughrabi Pathway 5. Breaking the "Custom of the Place" by the Women of the Wall Part II: Contesting Space and Representation at Holy Places 6. Imagining Holiness for Territorial Ends: Nachmanides Cave 7. The Plaza/Mosque Strife in Nazareth (Shihab al-Din) 8. Museumizing over the Dead: Mamilla Cemetery and the MOT 9. Judaizing David’s Tomb Part III: Demands to restore Past Rights 10. Diplomatic Challenge to the Status Quo at the Cenacle 11. The Beersheba Mosque/Museum 12. Restoring Pilgrimage to Mashhad Hussein in Ashkelon Part IV: Sharing Under Conflict 13. Sharing within Fighting: Hebron’s Shrine 14. Sharing and Co-existing at the Tomb of Samuel/Samwil Conclusion
Yitzhak Reiter is a professor of Middle East, Israel, and Islamic Studies. He chairs the Department of Israel Studies and is Head of the Research Authority at Ashkelon Academic College. He is a senior researcher at both the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research and the Harry S. Truman Institute for Peace Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.