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Jordanian Pressure Preventing Western Wall Walkway Construction

reprinted from Arutz 7

by Gil Ronen

( Jordanian pressure is preventing the completion of a walkway to the Temple Mount next to the Western Wall (Kotel), according to Nadav Shragai, senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

The Islamic Historical Society has filed suit in the Jerusalem District Court, demanding a halt to the work on widening the Kotel Plaza and the renovation of the Rambam (Mughrabim) Gate entrance to the Temple Mount. The court is awaiting a reply from the Prime Minister's Office on the matter.

Islamic officials said that the walkway project is an attempt by Israel to destabilize the foundations of the mosques on the Temple Mount and to rebuild the Jewish Temple, 1940 years after it was burned down by the Romans.

Shragai told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew service that the Muslim claims are completely unfounded: "The Mughrabim Bridge is a tourists' entrance to the Temple Mount and it is in Israel's possession – not the [Muslim] Wakf's. About six years ago, in a big snowstorm, the dirt ramp collapsed and parts of it fell. That is why the wooden bridge which is there to this day was built. The entire matter of renovating the bridge has turned into a political argument that has gone on for five years."

The plan for renovating the walkway to the Rambam Gate has been approved, Shragai said, but the government is delaying its implementation. "At first they wanted the bridge to be suspended from support columns,” the veteran former journalist explained, “but environmental groups objected. In the end it was decided that the bridge would be placed on what remains of the [dirt] ramp, in order to avoid damage to houses in the Mughrabim neighborhood. This plan currently has the necessary approvals and all that is needed is a construction permit from the Kotel Heritage Fund which answers to the Prime Minister's Office. For some reason, because of pressure from the Jordanian government, the government is not granting this permit."

In the meantime, Shragai explained, the women's section of the Kotel Plaza is smaller than it should be because the wooden bridge has blocked off one-third of its area.

Researcher: Muslim Claims on Mughrabi Ramp are Baseless

reprinted from Arutz 7

( Senior Researcher Nadav Shragai of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs said Friday that Muslims are baseless in their claim that Israel's attempts to renovate the bridge from the Western Wall Plaza to the Mughrabi Gate entrance to the Temple Mount seek to undermine the foundations of Temple Mount mosques. That claim is the basis of a Supreme Court petition by the Islamic Historian organization to stop the renovation attempts, which are intended to allow return of the women's section next to the Western Wall to its size before the collapse of the ramp that preceded the bridge.

Interviewed by Arutz Sheva as the court awaits the response of the Prime Minister's Office, the journalist said that the claims are rendered baseless by Israeli sovereignty on the bridge area and that the matter has been a political one for five years. He added that the renovations are in the Muslims favor and only pressure from the government of Jordan keeps the Prime Minister's Office from authorizing the work via the Western Wall Heritage Fund.



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