; The Heart of the Current Battle ; ; Jerusalem ; today is a detonating device with no fail-safe, a loaded pistol at a poker ; dispute, a driverless coach careening toward a blind curve. No other item ; on the entire Middle East peace agenda forebodes such potential mayhem as ; the city's future status. ; -John ; L. Lyons, "Jerusalem: Besieged by the Sacred" ; Jerusalem ; is the very soul which unites and fortifies the nation [of Israel] in its ; entirety. ; -Natan ; Sharansky, Israeli diplomat ; ; ;An ancient text ; records a debate of Jewish sages about why Cain murdered his brother, Abel. ; By identifying what drove Cain to kill, the sages hoped to discover the root ; of human violence on earth. ;According to one sage, a twin sister was born with Abel, so the two brothers ; fought over a woman. Another sage said the brothers agreed to divide everything ; in the world, so one promptly claimed the clothes on his brother's back ; and ordered him to disrobe, while the other claimed the ground beneath his brother's ; feet and ordered him to fly. ;A third sage agreed the brothers must have decided to split the world. But ; then, he said, one claimed the land where the temple would be built, the other ; insisted the place was his, so Cain rose up and killed his brother. ;The history of murder began, said the rabbi, in an argument over who would ; own Jerusalem. Specifically it began with an argument over the Temple Mount. ; ;The Timeline ;In mid-July 2000, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader ; Yasser Arafat came together at the presidential cabin in the Catoctin Mountain ; retreat at Camp David. American President Bill Clinton had invited them to the ; meeting, and before both men was a copy of a peace agreement that had been years ; in the making. ;The Israelis had made remarkable concessions. They would relinquish nearly ; all of the West Bank occupied in the 1967 war, including the highly strategic ; Jordan Valley. They would set up joint patrols with Palestinian security forces. ; They would recognize the right of Palestinian refugees to return to the "State ; of Palestine" and accept a number of refugees into Israel. ;In return, the Palestinians would "demilitarize" their land. They ; would allow the Israelis to maintain three reinforced battalions and other forces ; on the West Bank within military compounds. The Israelis would also operate ; three early-warning stations and three air-defense units on the West Bank until ; May 2007, or until peace agreements had been achieved between Israel and other ; Arab foes. ;Then President Clinton addressed a thorny question: What about Jerusalem? ;Barak was willing to make concessions never before considered by an Israeli ; prime minister. Though he did not want to divide the city, he was willing to ; consider the idea of a neighborhood swap-exchanging Palestinian neighborhoods ; for Israeli ones. ;When Clinton took the idea to Arafat, the Palestinian leader became enraged. ; Furthermore, he and his delegation became incensed over a casual suggestion ; Barak had made: in exchange for giving the Palestinians de facto control over ; the Temple Mount, the Israelis could build a small synagogue on the northeast ; corner of the holy site. ;Arafat, an international terrorist whose hands are stained with a river of ; bloHagee, John is the author of 'Attack on America New York, Jerusalem, and the Role of Terrorism in the Last Days' with ISBN 9780785265429 and ISBN 0785265422.