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Tensions run high over Temple Mount around Tisha B'Av fast

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  • Leonard Grossman
    Sunday, July 29, 2001 Av 9, 5761 Israel Time: 01:59 (GMT+3) 23:07 28/07/2001 Last update - 23:21 28/07/2001Tensions run high over Temple Mount around Tisha
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 28, 2001
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      Sunday, July 29, 2001 Av 9, 5761
      Israel Time: 01:59 (GMT+3)
      23:07 28/07/2001
      Last update - 23:21 28/07/2001Tensions run high over
      Temple Mount around Tisha B'Av fast

      By Moshe Reinfeld, Ha'aretz Correspondent and Itim News

      The row over the Temple Mount Faithful's demand to lay
      a cornerstone on the top of the Temple Mount on Sunday
      continued Saturday, with Communications Minister and
      acting Public Security Minister Reuven Rivlin saying that
      the group would not be allowed access to the Mount to
      lay the marble stone.

      Jerusalem Police on Saturday accused the Islamic
      movement of provocation and of attempting to inflame
      the issue of the Temple Mount Faithful's demand to lay a
      cornerstone on the Temple Mount in Jerualem. The police
      said that the Islamic movement's claim that the group
      was going to lay the cornerstone on the Mount was
      inaccurate and that the group had been authorized to go
      as far as the Givati parking lot, a few hundred meters
      from the Mount.

      The Temple Mount Faithful - a Jewish messianic
      movement committed to the rebuilding of the Jewish
      Temple - wants to place a symbolic "cornerstone" for the
      rebuilding of the Temple near the entrance to the Mount
      on the Ninth of Av, a day of mourning to commemorate
      the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD, which
      falls on Sunday.

      The police added that they were considering taking action
      against the Islamic movement after it called on all
      Muslims to go to the Al Aqsa Mosque (called al-Haram al-
      Sharif by Muslims) on the Mount to protest against the
      laying of the cornerstone. The Mufti of Jerusalem called
      on all Palestinians to visit the Temple Mount on Saturday
      and Sunday to protest against the stone laying and to
      protect the holy places of Islam.

      The Palestinian Authority issued a warning to Israel
      earlier Saturday against allowing the Temple Mount
      Faithful to lay the stone. The warning said that the
      government of Israel would be responsible for the
      dangerous consequences of an action of this kind.

      Palestinian Minister Nabil Sha'ath said that if "the
      cornerstone of the imaginary Temple Mount of the Jews"
      was laid, it would cause a Palestinian reaction. "This is
      very, very serious. It's pouring fuel on the fire," said
      senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, adding that the
      PA had requested that the U.S. and Europe intercede to
      prevent the ceremony.

      Erekat's warnings were echoed in Egypt, where Foreign
      Minister Ahmed Maher said he had summoned Cairo-
      based ambassadors of the five permanent members of the
      UN Security Council for talks.

      Maher told reporters the planned move was one of many
      Israeli "provocations" which he said contravened
      international legitimacy. He said provocations on such a
      sensitive issue could lead to an explosive situation.

      Palestinian Authority Chiarman Yasser Arafat’s Fatah Party
      urged Palestinians to rally after midday prayers on
      Sunday and declared it a "day of rage...to protect the
      holy city and the holy sites and al-Haram al-Sharif from

      The militant Palestinian group Hamas called on people to
      gather at Al Aqsa Mosque on Sunday morning to defend it
      "with soul and blood."

      "Let Sharon, the Zionist court and all Zionist terrorists
      know... that our steadfast people can foil their belligerent
      plans and defend Jerusalem and al-Aqsa," it said in a
      statement faxed to Reuters in Beirut.

      Jordanian sources also warned of the danger of escalation
      if the stone laying took place.

      On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, citing the sensitive
      security situation, sided with police officials and rejected
      an appeal by the Temple Mount Faithful to be allowed to
      visit the Temple Mount.

      Supreme Court President Aharon Barak and Justices Tova
      Strasberg-Cohen and Daliya Dorner accepted the police
      position that the sensitive security situation did not allow
      for such a visit to the site.

      The Temple Mount Faithful movement also asked the
      court to order Superintendent Levy to allow them to
      transport a large block of stone to the Mugrabi Gate to
      use as the symbolic "cornerstone" for the rebuilding of
      the Temple and to allow the use of a megaphone during
      the ceremony.

      On this particular matter, the police said they would allow
      the movement to march with the "cornerstone," but along
      a different route than the one the group had originally
      wanted to use.

      In their appeal, the movement claimed that over the last
      30 years it has annually hosted events and ceremonies on
      the Ninth of Av to mark the destruction of the Temple,
      and that the climax of the events involves going up to the
      Temple Mount in groups. These processions and
      ceremonies have been coordinated with police, as per
      instructions from the High Court.

      Two weeks ago, the movement asked Superintendent
      Levy to allow it to hold the ceremonies, but he would
      only allow a limited gathering and prayer session next to
      Mugrabi Gate, with no-one being allowed to visit the
      Temple Mount.


      Leonard Grossman
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