What makes something holy? Can we really say that Jerusalem is sacred to Judaism? After all, we have no archaeological proof of the sacrifice of Izaac on Mount Moriah (the supposed current site of the Temple Mount with its Dome of the Rock and el-Aksa Mosque, and the former site of the two Temples), much less so any evidence at all to support the centre of the universe and point of creation gags. So according to the criteria employed by the writers above, it's not really, legitimately, sacred to anyone at all.

Well d'uh! Are Buddhist temples sacred because there is historical evidence for the Buddha having lunch there? Are churches holy ground because Jesus runs an inspection twice a year? Things, places and ideas do not become holy or sacred as part of a flow of historical events. They become sacred because, due to a blip in human conciousness somehwere in the depths of time, they managed to concentrate people's faith and devotion around them.

There's nothing special about the plain on which Stonehenge stands, but it's nevertheless been there for 10,000 years, made and remade out of stones painstakingly carried to that specific spot from hundreds of miles away. Christian mythology has been rewritten quite contortionately to give the Lord a birthplace which is close to Jerusalem, although there's nothing wrong with Nazareth - plenty of mangers, I'm told. Churches and mosques all over the Mediterranean basin are built on top of old Greek and Roman temples. Religiosity seems to be geographical. Whatever anthropological, psychological or political explanation one chooses to give this phenomenon, that fact still remains.

Is Jerusalem sacred to Islam? Yes. Is it sacred to Christianity? Yes. Judaism? Yes again. Not because of what someone said or did, but because that is what hundreds of millions of people all around the world believe. One cannot hope to change this belief with pseudo-rationalistic arguments, and any discussion from this point of view is therefore futile - a hubristic attempt on the part of the arguer to justify their religious or political ideals at the expense of another's scripture and myth. Independently of its physical and political history, Jerusalem is a place imbued with holiness, and as long as religions remain members-only clubs people will be squabbling over it.