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Israel, Jordan at odds over Mughrabi Bridge

reprinted from Ynet
06.27.11

by Itamar Eichner. Smadar Peri contributed to this report.

Diplomatic crisis said to be brewing between Jerusalem, Amman after latter asks UNESCO to condemn Israel over plans to renovate rickety bridge

A diplomatic crisis is brewing between Israel and Jordan over the planned renovations of the Mughrabi Gate Bridge, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.

Plans for razing the old Mughrabi Gate bridge, which leads from the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem to the to the al-Aqsa Mosque and Temple Mount, in favor of a new one have been in the works for a while.

According to the report, the bridge was to be torn down next week, but upon signing the final agreement, Israel was stunned to learn that Jordan, along with Egypt, Iraq and Bahrain, filed a complaint against Israel with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over the planned renovations.

The motion asks for a UNESCO censure of Israel. Jordan is also demanding that UNESCO order Israel to stop the archeological excavations in the Old City.

In the petition, Amman said it was "concerned over a decision by the Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee concerning the Mughrabi Gate."

Jerusalem was reportedly enraged by the move and immediately began trying to thwart it.

Jordan initially denied ever signing any agreement with Israel pertaining to the bridge. It admitted doing so only following US pressure.

"The Jordanian's were caught in a lie by the Americans and other nations," a senior Jerusalem source told Yedioth Ahronoth. "This is more than a violation of trust; they shot themselves in the foot."

Israel hopes that this will be enough to see UNESCO reject the motion in its next meeting, and in any case, the "diplomatic mess," as it has been called, has put the bridge renovation plans on hold.

 

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