Kislev 16, 5772, 12/12/11
Cairo government, pressed by Muslim Brotherhood, joins Jordan in warning Israel over Rambam footbridge renovation, says Knesset speaker.
by Gil Ronen
Egypt has warned Israel over the matter of renovating the footbridge that leads to the Rambam (Mughrabim) Gate to the Temple Mount, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Monday.
"We are receiving warning messages from the Egyptians, because the Muslim Brotherhood is exerting pressure on them," Rivlin told German Ambassador to Israel Andreas Michaelis, who met him in Rivlin's bureau Monday. The Muslim Waqf, which controls the Al Aqsa area atop the Temple Mount, has demanded that Israel refrain from renovating and rebuilding the walkway, which Jews use to access the Mount. Jordan, too, has warned Israel in the matter.
Rivlin said that Israel was committed to constructing the Rambam walkway and reopening the gate for worshipers. "Four days after the Six-Day War," he said, "we reached a decision to allow the Muslims to maintain presence and control over the Temple Mount, although this was met with harsh criticism on the Jewish side and was seen as an act of abandoning the sacred mountain to Muslim hands. But we saw it as a clear statement that we have no war with Islam; nor do we harbor such intentions."
The footbridge was built with the consent of all sides involved in managing the Mount, Rivlin said. "Right now the bridge is dangerous and there is a need for building a new bridge, not inside the Temple Mount but to it."
Ambassador Michaelis replied, "We are aware of the dangers and problems with the bridge, and of the attempt to manufacture conspiracy theories around its rebuilding. Germany has been completely convinced that Israel has honest and serious intentions and that there is no manipulation behind building the bridge."