The Temple Institute: "The Arabs Want the Overpass to Collapse, to Keep Jews Out"

 

 


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"The Arabs Want the Overpass to Collapse, to Keep Jews Out"

reprinted from Arutz 7
16:17 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

by Hillel Fendel

MK Eldad: The Mughrabi Gate struggle is not over a bridge, but over the principle of Jewish presence.

Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) says that if the State of Israel is not able to carry out safety maintenance work at the Western Wall plaza, "it means that we are on a dangerous path towards disappearing from the political map of the Middle East."

Speaking with Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine, Eldad said, "The struggle is over the preservation of the only Temple Mount gate left out of Wakf [Muslim Authority] hands and in Jewish hands."

"The Arabs actually want the Mughrabi Gate passway to collapse," Eldad said, "so that they will be able to close the only gate that is under Jewish control. That will end the era of Jewish visitation rights to the Temple Mount. They have been waiting for this for a long time, and that's why they don't want us to refurbish it."

The bridge in question leads from the plaza leading to the Western Wall up to the Temple Mount, and is considered a safety hazard in its current condition. Israel's Antiquities Authority is carrying out archaeological works there in anticipation of its refurbishing. Arabs around the country have taken advantage of the situation to accuse of Israel of trying to destroy the Temple Mount complex, and have called for a response sharper than the previous intifadas.

"It's true," Eldad said, "that the original sin was when the Jewish People, immediately after the Six Day War in 1967, ceded its hold on the Temple Mount in an unholy alliance between the Chief Rabbinate and Moshe Dayan - each side for its own reasons - but now the danger is that the Arab sovereignty on the Temple Mount will spill over to the Western Wall plaza, and from there to other places."

Then-Defense Minister Dayan, just days after Israel's liberation of the Old City, informed the Muslims running the Temple Mount that they could continue to run the mosques there - and later went further by preventing Jewish prayer all over the Mount.

"It was evident that if we did not prevent Jews from praying in what was now a mosque compound," Dayan later wrote, "matters would get out of hand and lead to a religious clash... As an added precaution, I told the chief of staff to order the chief army chaplain to remove the branch office he had established in the building which adjoins the mosque compound."

Eldad said that the Arabs' objective is to acquire a "veto right" over what the State of Israel can do on its property, wherever the Arabs feel the area is a "sensitive and explosive holy Moslem site." He noted that the Arabs openly demand the rights of a national minority in a joint state. "Israel cannot allow itself to live under threats and blackmail every time it wants to do something necessary or in keeping with our national and historic rights."

Peretz: Stop Construction at the Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
09:20 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Defense Minister Amir Peretz asked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a letter Wednesday to halt the repairs being made to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate at the Temple Mount.

The gate is the main entrance to the holy site, one used by Jews and tourists as well as Muslims.

Peretz cited an opinion written by the head of the political-military bureau at the Defense Ministry, General (res.) Amos Gilad, who said the repair work was causing damage to the site. Gilad added in his letter, which Peretz attached to his own, that the construction would create havoc in the Arab world and said it was important to consider the international political ramifications of continuing the activities.

PA Incitement on Work near Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
08:04 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Official Arab sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) are telling the Arab population that Israel has begun "demolishing two rooms in [the] Al-Aqsa mosque...in line with the Israeli plans to demolish the entire holy shrine and build the alleged Soleiman [sic] temple in its place."

The charges, made by the Department of Arab and International Relations (DAIR) of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), were made after Israeli archaeologists began to dig outside the Temple Mount and prepare the area for foundations for a new foot bridge.

Salah insists he'll visit Temple Mount

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 said Wednesday evening that he was intending to come to Temple Mount on Thursday, a move that would effectively breaking the court order.

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.

Edri: Muslim Leaders Knew of Mughrabi Dig Plans

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 8, 2007

JPost.com Staff

Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Ya'akov Edri said Thursday that construction plans for the Mughrabi Gate bridge had been presented to both Muslim leaders in Jerusalem and UN representatives before the work began, Israel Radio reported.

Archaeologist: Ancient cistern proves location of Second Temple

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 7, 2007

by Etgar Lefkovits

An Israeli archaeologist said Wednesday that he has pinpointed the exact location of the Second Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount.

The site identified by Hebrew University archaeologist Prof. Joseph Patrich, based on the study of a large underground cistern on the Temple Mount and passages from the Mishna, places the Temple and its corresponding courtyards, chambers and gates in a more southeasterly and diagonal frame of reference compared to previous studies.

Patrich based his research, which is about to be published, on a study of a large underground cistern on the Temple Mount that was mapped by British engineer Sir Charles Wilson in 1866 on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund, along with passages from the Mishna.

The giant cistern, 4.5 meters wide and 54 meters long, lay near the southeastern corner of the upper platform of the Temple Mount. Examining the location and configuration of the cistern together with descriptions of the daily rite in the Temple and its surroundings found in the Mishna, Patrich said that this cistern is the only one found on the Temple Mount that can tie in with the ancient rabbinic text describing elements involved in the daily purification and sacrificial duties carried out by the priests on the altar in the Temple courtyard.

On this basis, he says, one can reconstruct the placement of a large basin that was used by the priests for their ritual washing, with the water being drawn by a waterwheel mechanism from the cistern.

After this purification, the priests ascended the nearby ramp to the sacrificial altar.

By thus locating the laver, the water wheel, the ramp and the altar, one can then finally map, again in coordination with the Mishna, the alignment of the Temple itself and its gates and chambers, he said.

These considerations led Patrich to place the Second Temple further to the east and south than earlier thought, and at a southeasterly angle relative to the eastern wall of the Temple Mount, and not perpendicular to it, as earlier assumed.

Patrich said that his research indicates that the rock over which the Dome of the Rock was built in the 7th century CE is actually outside the confines of the Temple.

The rock is believed to be the place at which the binding of Isaac took place, while Muslims consider it to be the spot from which Muhammad ascended to heaven.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site as the ancient compound where the two Jewish Temples stood, and is Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina.

Archaeologist: Israel Lets Arabs Take Over Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
06:04 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) A leading Temple Mount archaeologist has charged that the Israeli government is "doing nothing to prevent Arabs from taking over the entire Temple Mount" and fabricate claims that the First and Second Temples never existed.

Eilat Mazor, of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, made the charges as Defense Minister Amir Peretz urged Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to immediately halt preparatory work for a new foot bridge next to the holy site, fearing violent reaction from the Arab world.

Ministry advisor and senior reserve IDF officer Amos Gilad added that the work could cause problems as Fatah and Hamas meet on unity talks and American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepares for talks with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert in two weeks.

The officer of the Prime Minister replied that the work causes no harm but complained that the letter from the Defense Ministry reached the media.

Jerusalem police want the work to stop because of feared Arab violence, substantiating a claim by archaeologist Mazor, who argued, "The only ones paying attention are the police, and they are only interested in quiet, so they do nothing." He added that Muslim officials throw away Jewish relics of the Holy Temples and are trying "to turn the whole of the Temple Mount into a mosque for Muslims only."

Meanwhile, Muslims are continuing with plans to build a new Temple Mount minaret from which loudspeakers will call on the public to worship. A leading Muslim cleric told WorldNetDaily that permission to build of the minaret "proves Jewish conspiracies for a synagogue will never succeed and solidifies our presence here."

Muslim Cleric: 'I Will Defy Court Order on Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
07:08 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Muslim Sheikh Raed Salah vowed to visit the Temple Mount Thursday in defiance of a court order barring him from the area for 10 days.

Police stopped Salah and six other Muslims when they tried to force their way into the site, where archaeologists are digging to in preparations for placing foundations for a new foot bridge.

Israeli Arab Knesset member Talab El-Sana turned to Arab countries, asking them to interfere

reprinted from Arutz 7
11:00 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Israeli Arab Knesset member Talab El-Sana turned to Arab countries, asking them to interfere in an internal Israeli conflict, when his calls to halt construction near the Temple Mount were overruled by the government.

El-Sana asked the Organization of the Islamic conference to meet on the issue of what he called the "Israeli damage to the Temple Mount."

He also called on the Higher Monitoring Committee for the Arab Population in Israel to convene their scheduled meeting earlier and change its venue from Nazareth to Jerusalem in order to address the issue.

The Israel Antiquities Authority is constructing a new walkway to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate, the main entrance to the Temple Mount, in order to replace a dangerous centuries-old structure which partly collapsed during a snowstorm in 2004. The Authority is carrying out excavations at the site as well in order to preserve whatever precious archaeological finds are uncovered during the construction.

Hundreds Protesting at Temple Mount

reprinted from Arutz 7
13:00 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Hundreds of Arabs are protesting at the site of excavations being carried out while the Israel Antiquities Authority repairs a walkway at the main entrance of the Temple Mount.

The ancient earthen walkway, which was partially destroyed during a 2004 snowstorm, leads to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate, adjacent to the Kotel (Western Wall).

The Muslim demonstrators claim that the repair work is destroying a section of the al-Aksa mosque where Islamic worshippers attend services every Friday. Islamic movement spokesman Zahi Nukiidat said, "We came to protest the excavations. The path to the Mughrabi Gate is 800 years old and it is only Muslim, not Jewish."

The excavations are intended to identify and preserve any precious artifacts that may be uncovered during the work. Islamic activists in the region have protested vehemently against the project, with at least one Fatah-backed terrorist group threatening attacks against synagogues in retaliation.

Jews Blocked From Praying at Kotel by Arab Protestors

reprinted from Arutz 7
14:00 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Jews were being blocked Thursday from reaching the Kotel (Western Wall) to pray, by the hundreds of Arab protestors demonstrating against construction near the Temple Mount.

Spokesman Aryeh King, representing the Jewish associations in the eastern part of the capital, said that if the Jerusalem district police did not disperse the crowd, he would petition the High Court.

Islamic clerics leading the demonstration as well as Arab politicians threatened an intifada "worse than the previous one in 2000" if the Israel Antiquities Authority did not immediately halt the repair work and excavations at the site.

Arabs Increase Threats at Western Wall Plaza

reprinted from Arutz 7
15:32 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

by Ezra HaLevi

Defense Minister Peretz, in the face of Muslim violence, appealed to Prime Minister Olmert to halt the construction of the footpath at the Rambam Gate to the Temple Mount. Olmert turned him down.

Jews were blocked Thursday from reaching the Kotel (Western Wall) Prayer Plaza by the hundreds of Israeli-Arab protestors. Islamic clerics leading the demonstration as well as Arab politicians threatened an "Intifada worse than the previous one in 2000" if the Israel Antiquities Authority did not immediately halt the repair work and excavations at the site.

Spokesman Aryeh King, representing the Jewish associations in the eastern part of the capital, said that if the Jerusalem district police did not disperse the Arab mob, he would petition the High Court.

Peretz, in his letter - which Olmert's office said was delivered to the press before it was delivered to Olmert - quotes Defense Ministry official IDF General (res.) Amos Gilad, who claims the work damages relations with Arab and Muslim nations. The Labor Party Chairman wrote his own opinion that the construction would create friction with the Arab world instead of maintaining calm.

The Prime Minister's Office rejected Peretz's call. A statement was issued as follows:

"The restoration of the Mugrabi path after the place collapsed and was declared a dangerous structure was done in complete coordination with all parties, including foreign countries, relevant Muslim officials and international bodies. As has been explained, this work is being carried on outside the Temple Mount, and the repairs do not constitute any damage to the Mount or Islamic holy places.

"The work is being carried out by professionals and with complete transparency, entirely for the safety of visitors to the Mount. A thorough examination of the matter would reveal that nothing about the work underway will harm anyone, and there is no truth in the contentions against the work."

A Foreign Ministry statement dismissed the criticism as an exploitation of the situation. "The Temple Mount is the holiest site of the Jewish people," Foreign Minister Tzippi Livny said in a statement Wednesday. "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."

Meanwhile, Muslims are escalating their threats and violence throughout the Middle East, including in Israel's own Knesset and among Israeli-Arab leaders. Arab Knesset Member Taleb El-Sana (Ra'am-Ta'al) called upon the Organization of the Islamic conference to meet on the issue of "Israeli damage to the Temple Mount." El-Sana echoes the Department of Arab and International Relations (DAIR) of the Palestinian Authority, which claimed Israel has begun "demolishing two rooms in [the] Al-Aqsa mosque... in line with the Israeli plans to demolish the entire holy shrine and build the alleged Soleiman [sic] temple in its place."

Israeli-Arab Sheikh Raad Salah, who heads the radical Islamic Movement, was arrested Wednesday for attacking policemen blocking his entry to the Western Wall Plaza. He has issued a call for an "Intifada" of Israel's Arabs and vowed he would return and address Thursday's protesters despite a 10-day restraining order he received before being released by police.

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.

Knesset Members Differ Over Temple Mount Issue

reprinted from Arutz 7
16:00 Feb 08, '07 / 20 Shevat 5767

(IsraelNN.com) Knesset members are in disagreement over how to deal with increasing Muslim threats to begin another intifada if the Israel Antiquities Authority does not halt its repair work on the walkway to the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate near the Temple Mount.

"We must not surrender to the violence of Arab threats," said National Union National Religious Party Knesset member Uri Ariel. "We must show resolve," he said.

Meretz Knesset member Avshalom Vilan said, however, that the work, which includes excavations intended to find and preserve any artifacts at the construction, should be halted at least temporarily. "The prime minister must stop being stubborn and stop the works at the Mughrabi Gate for now, in order not to cause a needless intifada, and to allow the political processes in Mecca and other places in the world to come to fruition," he added.

Top officials from the Fatah and Hamas factions in the Palestinian Authority, including PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, are holding talks which Arab leaders hope will end the bloodshed in Gaza. The two factions have been warring in the streets for the past year in a fight over control of the Hamas-led PA government. Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, taking part in the meetings, has warned Israel over the construction.

Cameras to Track Mughrabi Excavations

reprinted from The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 6, 2007

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to the initiative, proposed by Israel Beiteinu MK Yisrael Hasson, who said the move would "prove to the countries in the Arab world that no damage is being done to [the] mosques as a result of the excavation."

Salah insists he'll visit Temple Mount Meanwhile, prayers at the Temple Mount ended without incident, despite ongoing protests by Islamic groups and hundreds of Muslim demonstrators who gathered at the site on Thursday morning.

Sheikh Raed Salah, the Islamic Movement leader who was ordered to stay 150 meters outside the walled Old City for the next 10 days after trying to force his way into the excavation site on Wednesday, carried through on his vow to return for Thursday's protests.

Salah did, however, keep his distance from the Old City itself as per the court order, and no violent disturbances occurred during the demonstrations.

The Islamic leader was one of seven Israeli Arabs detained by police near the Dung Gate on Wednesday morning after scuffling with police who were guarding the excavation workers.

Salah, who heads the northern branch of the extremist Islamic Movement, had called on Tuesday for an intifada over the archaeological dig, which he and other Islamic leaders have claimed is endangering the nearby Al Aksa Mosque.

He was joined in his exhortations by numerous Islamic leaders and groups, including Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, who have called on the Muslim world to retaliate - violently if necessary - for Israel's actions near the Temple Mount.

The Aksa Martyrs' Brigades declared Wednesday that they would attack synagogues if any damage were done to the Muslim holy site.

Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report.

 

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