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.



Theoretical approach and choice of case studies

part I|19 pages

Challenging the Status Quo

chapter 1|18 pages

The 1929 Western Wall Strife

chapter 4|19 pages

The bridge to nowhere

(De)constructing the Mughrabi Pathway

part II|13 pages

Contesting space and representation at holy places

chapter 6|11 pages

Imagining holiness for Territorial ends

The Nachmanides Cave

chapter 8|26 pages

Museumizing over the dead

Mamilla Cemetery and the MOT

chapter 9|15 pages

Judaizing David’s Tomb

part III|47 pages

Demands to restore past rights

part IV|19 pages

Sharing under conflict

chapter 13|17 pages

Sharing within fighting

The Hebron shrine

chapter 15|18 pages