First there was intifada. Then jihad. Then hudna.
For those sleeping through the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, those Arabic words for uprising, holy war and most
recently cease-fire have passed into common parlance.
The next Arabic word du jour may well be .al-Baraq. or
.al-Buraq,. the word for the Western Wall. Yes, that Western
Wall. Jews may think the Kotel is indisputably Jewish, but
Jews once thought the same about the Temple Mount until Ariel
Sharon tried to walk on it.
The Palestinians are
claiming, albeit on a low flame, that the al-Baraq is infused
with holiness for being the wall that is adjacent and integral
to the mosques above, and for being the site where Mohammed
once tethered his flying steed (also named al-Baraq, from
which the site takes its name).
Islamic clerics such
as the Egyptian minister of waqfs (religious legacy) and
leading muftis have condemned attempts to .Judaize. Jerusalem,
not just in neighborhoods but at al-Baraq. A Cornell
University Web site, linked to a university class, describes
the Wall not as Jewish but as .holy to both Jews and Muslims..
CNN reports that an Iraqi rocket was named al-Buraq. And last
month on the Charlie Rose show.s Web site, a listener posted
the opinion that .You don.t need to convince me much on . the
holiness of the Western Wall to Muslims,. which the e-mailer
We.d like to think that Israel is
winning this undeclared war, but if she is, why has everything
about it been defined in Arabic, and Arabic alone?
BBC, and others, use the word shaheed for martyrs but not the
Hebrew word for Jewish ones. Early on in the Palestinian
uprising, when rocks were still the weapon of choice, many
journalists, even Israeli ones, were quick to call the
.children of the stones. the shabab. In 1967, when Israel was
the clear winner, The New York Times referred to the Temple
Mount (albeit in English), but today the Jewish reference
shares equal billing with Haram al-Sharif.