[Congressional Bills 107th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 2566 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 2566

To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority 
    or its instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no 
      excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.



                             July 19, 2001

  Mr. Cantor (for himself, Mr. Smith of New Jersey, Ms. Berkley, Mr. 
Pitts, Mr. Kirk, Mr. Bachus, Mr. Ryun of Kansas, Mr. Pence, Mr. Souder, 
   Mr. Crowley, Mr. Lewis of Kentucky, Mr. Weiner, Mr. Schrock, Mr. 
   Grucci, Mr. Schaffer, Mr. Israel, and Mr. Tiberi) introduced the 
 following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International 


                                 A BILL

To prohibit assistance from being provided to the Palestinian Authority 
    or its instrumentalities unless the President certifies that no 
      excavation of the Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Temple Mount Preservation Act of 


    The Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The Temple Mount, located in the heart of Jerusalem, 
        Israel, has great religious significance to the world's three 
        major monotheistic religions, and increasing violence, 
        religious intolerance, and archeological neglect threaten to 
        destroy this sacred site.
            (2) According to the Jewish faith, the Temple Mount (Har 
        ha-Bayit in Hebrew) is the location where Abraham was asked to 
        sacrifice his only son, Isaac, in the ultimate test of his 
        commitment to God. The Temple Mount was also the site of the 
        first and second Holy Temples, and it is a basic tenet of 
        Judaism that it will be the site of the third Holy Temple.
            (3) According to Christianity, Jesus was dedicated on the 
        Temple Mount in the Second Temple in accordance with the Law of 
        Moses. He referred to the Biblical Temple as his Father's 
        House, and was tempted by the Devil at the pinnacle of the 
        Temple Mount.
            (4) According to Islam, the Prophet Mohammad ascended into 
        Heaven riding al-Burak from the edge of the Temple Mount (Haram 
        al-Shaif in Arabic). Al-Aqsa Mosque is located on the site of 
        the Prophet's ascent and is the third holiest site in Islam. 
        The Dome of the Rock was built over the Holiest Rock, 
        considered in Muslim traditions as the Center or Core of the 
            (5) In June 1967, Jerusalem once again became a united city 
        under Israel's sovereignty. Since that time, Israel has been 
        legally responsible for the Temple Mount and has been 
        respectful of the religious practices of Jews, Christians, and 
        Muslims with regard to this site.
            (6) The Israeli Government elected to delegate the daily 
        oversight of the Temple Mount to the Temple Mount Waqf 
        (Religious Council), in tacit cooperation with the Hashemite 
        Kingdom of Jordan, because of the King's capacity as the 
        Custodian of Haram al-Sharif. In 1994, Jordan's role as 
        custodian of Muslim religious interests was codified in the 
        Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty.
            (7) In the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Yassir 
        Arafat's Palestinian Authority asserted preeminence on the 
        Temple Mount through the subversion of the Waqf and by coercing 
        the Jordan-affiliated officials and clergymen off the Temple 
        Mount. Arafat personally nominated the virulently anti-Semitic 
        and anti-American Mufti Ikrima Sabri as the Imam of al-Aqsa 
        Mosque. In May 1998, Sabri declared that the Jews have no right 
        to the Temple Mount.
            (8) In 1996, the Israeli Islamic Movement sponsored the 
        expansion of the underground al-Marawani Mosque on the Temple 
        Mount. The excavation conducted for this expansion extended 
        beyond the original compound, and an ancient underground 
        structure dating from the period of the Second Temple (circa 
        515 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 70 A.D. (C.E.)), known as the Western 
        Hulda Gate passageway, was converted into a mosque.
            (9) In early 1998, the Waqf, controlled by the Palestinian 
        Authority, began further excavation. A major underground mosque 
        hall was inaugurated in August 1999 and an emergency exit was 
        opened to a mosque located on the Temple Mount. The exit is 
        18,000 square feet in size and up to 36 feet deep, and 
        thousands of tons of ancient fills from the site were dumped 
        into the Kidron Valley. Archeologists have subsequently 
        determined that artifacts dumped into the Kidron Valley from 
        the Temple Mount dated from the period of the First Temple 
        (circa 1006 B.C. (B.C.E.) to 586 B.C. (B.C.E.)).
            (10) In mid 2000, Arafat deployed onto the Temple Mount 
        armed and unarmed security personnel of Jibril Rajoub's 
        Preventive Security Forces in violation of numerous past 
        agreements with Israel. Rajoub's forces evicted the Waqf's 
        personnel and consolidated Arafat's control and ability to wage 
        the Intifadah (``uprising'') against Israel.
            (11) In February and March of 2001, an ancient arched 
        structure built against the Eastern Wall of the Temple Mount 
        enclosure was razed by bulldozers in order to further enlarge 
        the emergency gate of the new mosque at the Stables of Solomon.
            (12) In early May, Arafat ordered that the underground 
        halls under the Temple Mount be unified into a single fortified 
        space that would be both the largest mosque ever built on Haram 
        al-Sharif and a springboard for the forthcoming Palestinian 
        struggle for control of the Temple Mount. Given the haste and 
        unsupervised nature of the ongoing excavation and construction 
        work, there is great fear that the foundations of the two Holy 
        Mosques will be severely damaged to the point of collapse.
            (13) The actions of Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian 
        Authority threaten to eliminate all historical evidence of 
        Jewish activity on the Temple Mount and serve to discredit 
        Israeli claims of sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
            (14) The massive excavation and unsupervised destruction of 
        artifacts discovered within the Temple Mount are undeniable 
        affronts to the concepts of religious freedom and tolerance 
        that must be respected in order to achieve and maintain peace 
        in the Middle East. The destruction of the Temple Mount, which 
        threatens to incite more violence, is destroying sacred 
        artifacts and jeopardizing the ability of Americans to 
        understand and promote their Judeo-Christian heritage.


    (a) Prohibition.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no 
funds appropriated or otherwise made available in any Act of Congress 
may be used for any form of assistance to the Palestinian Authority or 
any instrumentality of the Palestinian Authority, either directly or 
through any nongovernmental organization or other entity, unless the 
President has certified to the Congress that no excavation of the 
Temple Mount in Israel is being conducted, other than that authorized 
by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
    (b) Annual Recertification Required.--Any certification by the 
President under subsection (a) shall expire on the last day of the 
fiscal year in which it is made.
    (c) National Security Waiver.--The President may waive the 
prohibition contained in subsection (a) for a fiscal year if the 
President certifies in writing to the Congress that such waiver is in 
the national security interests of the United States.