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Israeli Arab Islamic Chief Calls For Local Uprising

reprinted from Arutz 7
21:41 Feb 07, '07 / 19 Shevat 5767

by Ezra HaLevi

Islamic leaders in Israel and abroad continue to incite violence in response to Israel's repair of the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate leading from the Western Wall Plaza to the Temple Mount.

The Israeli-Arab Islamic Movement is claiming that Israel is trying to destroy the two mosques that lie atop Judaism's holiest site. Sheikh Ra'ed Salah, who heads the movement, called for an "Intifada" of Israel's Arabs. Salah and six others tried to force their way past police at the Dung Gate leading to the Western Wall Plaza Wednesday morning.

The men were arrested and charged with attacking police officers. They were served with restraining orders making it illegal for them to approach the excavation site for ten days.

Israeli-Arab MK Taleb A-Sana (Ra'am-Ta'al) slammed the arrest and said Israel should instead order a halt to the excavations, "which pose a threat to the peace and stability in the area."

Jerusalem Grand Mufti Ikrima Sabri issued a call for all Muslims in Israel to flock to the Temple Mount to defend it. Arabs under 45 years old and all non-Muslims were prevented from entering the Temple Mount compound Tuesday and Wednesday.

The leaders of Jordan, Syria and Iran, as well as Islamic chiefs in Egypt have all condemned the work. "The world of Islam should show a serious reaction to the Zionist regime's insult to Al-Aksa Mosque," Iranian Islamic ruler Ayatollah Ali Khameini said on Wednesday. Khameini called on Muslim nations to attack Israel in response during a meeting with Islamic Jihad chief Ramadan Abdullah Shallah.

The work is necessary due to the partial collapse of the old path during a snowstorm in 2004. Prior to the building of a new walkway, the dirt mound must be excavated in accordance with Israeli antiquity laws.

In Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, rallies took place and PA-run media outlets repeated the accusation that Israel sought to destroy the mosques, with songs about Jerusalem played all day. Khaled Mashaal, Hamas's exiled chief, said that the terror offensive that followed Ariel Sharon's 2000 visit to the Temple Mount "must be learned from. We have confidence in our people, its masses, all of its groups and military wings," he said.

"The Temple Mount is the holiest site of the Jewish people," Foreign Minister Tzippi Livny said in a statement. "The State of Israel will never do anything to harm the freedom of worship of members of all religions - in Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel. There are irresponsible elements, who know full well that no harm is being caused here to any holy site, who are exploiting Israeli democracy to fan religious feelings for political gain. This is true of both political groups within Israel and extremist elements outside Israel."

Director of excavations Dr. Gideon Avni of the Israel Antiquities Authority said the Arab claims were baseless. "We are working only outside the walls of the Temple Mount in a very limited area," he said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Wakf continues to remove and destroy First and Second Temple period artifacts from the Temple Mount in an attempt to destroy all evidence that Jewish temples once stood there. "The Waqf has acted terribly, taking thousands of tons of artifacts from the First Temple, the Second Temple, as well as Muslim artifacts, and throwing them away," Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazor told Yediot Acharonot. "They want to turn the whole of the Temple Mount into a mosque for Muslims only. They don't care about the artifacts or heritage on the site."

Mazor says that the fact that Israel has backed down repeatedly from asserting Jewish rights and archaeological integrity on the mount when threatened with Arab violence has brought about the situation today. "[The Arabs] have learned that the more noise the make, the more sweets they get, like a small child," she said.

Aksa Martyrs' Vow Synagogue Attacks

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 7, 2007

by Etgar Lefkovits and jpost staff

The Fatah-affiliated Aksa Martyrs Brigades threatened on Wednesday to attack synagogues if Israel continued its excavation near the Temple Mount ahead of the planned construction of a new bridge to the Mughrabi Gate.

In a press release sent to newspapers, the group announced that all synagogues would become legitimate targets and that "the sanctity of the Al Aksa Mosque should not be less than that of the synagogues."

The terror organization joined scores of other Islamic organizations in calling on the Palestinian people to hold processions and angry protests until the construction is stopped.

A Jerusalem court on Wednesday ordered the fiery leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel to stay out of the Old City of Jerusalem for the next 10 days after he tried to force his way to the site of a contested archaeological excavation outside the Temple Mount, police said.

Sheikh Raed Salah was one of seven Israeli Arabs detained by police near the Dung Gate on Wednesday morning.

Salah and his supporters had scuffled with police guarding the workers carrying out the salvage excavation near the Temple Mount.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered Salah and three of his associates to stay 150 meters outside the walled Old City for the next 10 days, Jerusalem police spokeswoman Sigal Toledo said.

In court, Salah accused Israel of "the crime of demolishing a part of the blessed Al Aksa compound" and of "pushing the whole region to religious war." The archaeological excavation under way ahead of the planned construction of a new bridge to the Mughrabi Gate is taking place dozens of meters outside the Temple Mount compound.

Salah, who heads the extremist northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which denies Israel's legitimacy, had called on Tuesday for an intifada over the archaeological dig by the Jerusalem holy site.

Salah has served a two-year sentence for a series of security offenses, including financing Hamas activities.

For the second straight day, police - in a largely successful effort to ward off violence at the compound - barred non-Muslims from entering the Temple Mount on Wednesday and limited Muslim entry to the holy site to men over 45 with Israeli identity cards.

In sporadic stone-throwing incidents in east Jerusalem, seven Arab teens were arrested by police.

Police, who are bracing for renewed violence following Muslim prayers on Friday, are expected to extend restrictions at the compound.

Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday urged Islamic nations to retaliate against Israel.

Khamenei did not say what sort of response he intended, but he said the Islamic world should make Israel "regret" what it is doing, The Associated Press reported.

The eight-month construction project is meant to replace a decades-old stone ramp that partially collapsed in a snowstorm three years ago.

The Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest and Islam's third holiest site, has been the scene of violence in the past, which later spilled out across the country.

Israel's opening of the Western Wall tunnels in 1996 sparked a wave of Palestinian violence that killed 80 people, while former prime minister Ariel Sharon's 2000 visit to the Temple Mount sparked rioting among Israeli Arabs and Palestinian violence.

Israeli efforts to downplay the dig fell on deaf ears amongst the Arab public, with Arab media playing up the heated rhetoric of Islamic officials blasting the work.

In a sign of continued tension, the Islamic Movement announced that it planned a demonstration Friday against the dig.

There have never been any archaeological excavations on the Temple Mount itself due to religious sensitivities.

According to decades-old regulations in place at the site, Israel maintains overall security control, while the Wakf, or Islamic Trust, is charged with day-to-day administration of the ancient compound.

The latest controversy comes as an ancient wooden pulpit destroyed in the Aksa Mosque four decades ago by a deranged Australian tourist hoping to hasten the coming of the Messiah was restored with Israel's blessing and as Jordan presses ahead with plans to build a fifth minaret at the site.

Last decade, Wakf officials built the largest mosque in Israel in an underground architectural support of the Temple Mount known as the Solomon's Stables, throwing dozens of truckloads of antiquities mixed with rubble in a garbage dump outside the Old City.

The construction of the mosque, which was carried out without any archaeological supervision, was later called an "unprecedented archaeological crime" by Israel's top archaeological body for its massive destruction of antiquities at the site.

Sheik Calls For Day of Arab Rage

reprinted from Arutz 7
09:21 Feb 07, '07 / 19 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Sheik Raad Sallah, the head of the Islamic Movement, has called for Arabs to give expression to their outrage this Friday. The Day of Rage is meant to protest Israeli repairs to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate near the Temple Mount, and archaeological excavations in the City of David.

Sallah called for Muslims from around the world to hold mass protests against what he terms Israeli efforts to "destroy the Al-Aksa mosque." Sallah claimed that Israel has been trying to destroy Muslim neighborhoods in Jerusalem's Old City for the past several decades. He also accused Israel of attempting to judaize Jerusalem.

Increased Police Presence on Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
08:04 Feb 07, '07 / 19 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) The increased police presence on and around the Temple Mount will continue on Wednesday. The increase in forces began on Sunday, following a call by Muslim leaders for a mass protest. Arab rioters threw stones at police officers on Tuesday after the police continued to forbid the protest.

Muslim leaders are upset due to repair work being done near the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate. Workers will strengthen the columns that support the walkway bridge into the main Temple Mount entrance.

Muslim leaders have insisted that the work is actually part of a plan to topple the mosques on the Temple Mount. Jordanian King Abdullah II joined the protests on Tuesday, calling the repairs an Israeli attack on sacred Muslim sites.

 

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