Maariv: Sari Nusseibeh in hiding
Wrote and vanished
Shalom Yerushalmi, Maariv, November 27 2009
Sari Nusseibeh, president of al-Quds University, is now publishing an unprecedented and revolutionary chapter as part of a monumental research on the Temple Mount, which is to be published soon in collaboration with international research institutes, among them the Ben Zvi Institute. In the chapter, Nusseibeh essentially assails the leaders of the Islamic movements throughout the generations who have consistently denied Jewish affinity to the Temple Mount. He recognizes the Jewish narrative as well as the existence of the Jewish temple there.
Nusseibeh also attacks Jews who attempt to refute the Muslim ethos, and calls for a stop to the bloody riots over the Temple Mount, which he says are the result of man’s shallow urges, and contrary to God’s command. The book is titled Where Heaven and Earth Meet. Nusseibeh’s chapter is called “Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” the Muslim name for the Temple Mount. He writes that God bestowed holiness on the land of Canaan and destined it for the Children of Israel. He further wrote that Jerusalem’s legendary temple might have been the dwelling place of the divine spirit where the high priests served God.
In another place he notes that Muslims are not aware that Jews and Christians identify the foundation stone as the place where Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac and that Jews do not know that Muslims identify Mecca as the location of this. He writes that there is a false ethos of mutual rejection of the other side’s holiness and antiquities.
Since the book’s publication Nusseibeh has refused to take interviews. He has also cut himself off from his colleagues to the book and is unwilling to promote the book’s distribution. In the book’s launching ceremony a week ago at Ecole Biblique, a Dominican institute in East Jerusalem, Nusseibeh refused to speak, though he was noted in the invitation as a key speaker. He even refused to come up to the stage. The journalist Eli Margalit, who attempted to interview him for Zman Yerushalaim received the response: “I’m sorry, I can’t.’
There are several versions that attempt to explain Nusseibeh’s silence. Sources who collaborated with him in the publication have said that Nusseibeh has received threats from extremists. However, Nusseibeh’s research assistant, Hoda Rajani said that he had not been threatened. Nusseibeh is of the most impressive and outstanding Palestinian intellectuals, and was involved in several peace initiatives, among others the People’s Voice together with Ami Ayalon. He was also one of the people to generate the first Intifada.