The Temple Institute: MKs demand official rejection of Arafat burial on Mount



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MKs demand official rejection of Arafat burial on Mount

Oct. 28, 2004 14:00 - Updated Oct. 28, 2004 16:18

National Union MK Uri Ariel spoke with Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz's office and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra on Thursday asking them to pass a government decision which would prevent Arafat from being buried on the Temple Mount.

"There needs to be a cabinet decision on the matter," Ariel said. "If, however, that does not work out, then I believe that tens of thousands of Jews will come to the Old City in Jerusalem to physically prevent the burial. We will not allow for a repetition of Faisal Husseini [burial on Mount]."

Fellow MK Benny Elon also called on Mofaz to announce officially that Israel will not allow Arafat to be buried on the mount.

Diplomatic officials rejected reports that PA representatives had made an official request for Arafat to be buried on the Mount.

Arafat himself had asked his supporters to arrange his burial on the Mount in March.

"It will never happen," was diplomatic officials' response to the possibility that ailing Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat will be buried at the Temple Mount.

"We are not dealing with this issue right now but one thing is for sure Arafat will not be buried on the Temple Mount," the officials said.

Wakf officials, who oversee the holy Muslim sites on the Temple Mount, rejected Israel's right to decide on the matter.

"Nobody will tell us where to bury him and the final decision belongs to the Palestinian people," Wakf director Adnan Husseini told The Jerusalem Post Thursday. "We will make the decision at the right time and nobody has the right to interfere except for the Islamic Trust and the 230,000 Arabs who live in East Jerusalem."

Asked if he had received any official requests by Palestinian officials regarding Arafat's desire to be buried on the mount, Husseini said, "We do not look forward to such an event and anyhow Arafat is not very sick and only has the flu. We hope he will get better."

Responding to the question of whether they think Arafat will eventually be buried on the Temple Mount, other Wakf officials said: "We wish."

On Thursday, police chief Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi held consultations with senior officers regarding possible scenarios that may develop following Arafat's demise. Police said that they are following the developments and together with the IDF have formulated a plan to deal with the potential results of Arafat's death, including the possibility he may want to be buried on the Temple Mount.

The last notable Palestinian to be buried on the Mount was Faisal Husseini, PLO representative in Jerusalem and a PA minister, in 2001.

Faisal Husseini was buried at the site despite fierce opposition from some Palestinians, who said the privilege should be reserved only for devout Muslim figures. The Liberation Party, a tiny Muslim faction with a strong presence on the Temple Mount, spearheaded the opposition, but Husseini's aides managed to enforce their will.

In March, when Arafat had asked his supporters to look into burying him on the Mount, the Muslim Liberation Party distributed leaflets which called for thwarting Arafat's plan. Referring to Arafat, the leaflet said: "We warn this wicked infidel, who married a Christian infidel, against contemplating desecrating the holy Aksa Mosque."

Earlier this year, Jerusalem police also detained three Arab residents of Jerusalem on suspicion they were putting pressure on the Muslim Wakf to agree to allocate a plot on the Temple Mount for Arafat's burial. The three were served with orders banning them from entering the Temple Mount for three months.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.



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