A new proposal to be introduced in Congress today would halt all U.S. monetary assistance to the Palestinian Authority until excavation of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is stopped.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., is sponsoring the measure, which will receive an official title and bill number after it is introduced. Specific wording of the bill will not be released until that time.
Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Supporters of the measure say the bill will send a message to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat that “desecration” of the Temple Mount “will no longer be tolerated.”
In biblical times, the people of Israel worshipped at the temple in Jerusalem – the hub of Jewish activity. After Israel’s enemies destroyed the temple, it was rebuilt only to be destroyed again in A.D. 70 by the Roman Empire. The Temple Mount is now the site of the Dome of the Rock – a Muslim mosque.
Plans by an Israeli group to lay the cornerstone of the Third Temple of Israel near the Dome of the Rock were quashed by Jerusalem police in October, which cited safety reasons for its actions.
The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement had planned to ascend the Temple Mount with a four-and-a-half ton block of marble that was to be anointed as a cornerstone of the Third Temple. In its “Vision of Redemption,” the Temple Mount Faithful Movement states its belief that the creation of the modern state of Israel is “the beginning of the redemption of the world,” which is completed with the building of the Third Temple.
The group’s October attempt was not its first and likely will not be its last. In the meantime, Cantor hopes to stop excavations on the area, considered holy by Jews. The freshman member of Congress serves as vice chair of the Republican Israel Caucus and is a former member of the board of directors of the Jewish Community Center in Richmond. He remains active in the Jewish community, voicing his concerns for the Middle East in his new role as congressional representative.
Commenting in March on escalating violence in the Middle East, which resulted in the fatal shooting of a 10-month-old Israeli girl, Cantor remarked, “This week, it has become very clear that the Israelis’ good-faith commitment to peace is not shared by everyone in the Middle East.”
This year, Cantor also introduced the Liberty Bill Act, which calls for an abbreviated version of the Constitution to be printed on the back of all U.S. paper currency in the hopes that “the American people will become more familiar with our nation’s fundamental law,” according to a statement from the congressman’s office.