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    Radicals may blow up Temple Mount mosques: Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi warned Saturday that Jewish extremists may try to carry out an attack
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2004
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      Radicals may blow up Temple Mount mosques:

      Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi warned Saturday that Jewish
      extremists may try to carry out an attack against Arabs on
      Jerusalem's Temple Mount in order to torpedo Israel's planned
      unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.



      Jul. 24, 2004
      Police weigh Temple Mount restrictions

      Tourists visit the Temple Mount
      Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski

      A day after Internal Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi warned that
      Jewish extremists could be planning an attack against Arabs on the
      Temple Mount, Jerusalem Police and Islamic Wakf officials on Sunday
      increased security checks at the site, and police considered whether
      to restrict an Israeli fringe group from entering it this Tuesday.

      Jerusalem Police will announce Monday whether they favor imposing any
      restrictions on Jewish entry to the Judaism's holiest site on Tuesday
      as the nation marks Tisha Be'av, which commemorates the destruction
      of the two ancient Jewish Temples.
      Police will present their decision during a Supreme Court hearing on
      an appeal by members of the Temple Mount Faithful organization, who
      want to visit the site on Tuesday.

      Despite the reopening of the Temple Mount to non-Muslims 11 months
      ago, the ultra-nationalist group has been repeatedly barred by police
      from entering the holy site in the wake of last-minute security
      considerations made by the police commander on site, group leader
      Gershon Solomon said Sunday.

      Meanwhile, the uproar continued in Israel over warnings made by
      Hanegbi Saturday night that Jewish extremists could be planning an
      attack in the Temple Mount to torpedo Israel's planned unilateral
      withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

      "We sense that the threat level on the Temple Mount by extremist and
      fanatic Jewish elements, in order to upset the situation and be a a
      catalyst for change of the political process, has increased in the
      last few months, and especially in the last few weeks, more than any
      time in the past," Hanegbi said on Channel 2's Meet the Press.

      Hanegbi added that while there was no intelligence information
      pointing to specific suspects who are planning an attack, there
      were "worrying indications" that such plans were "not just
      theoretical." His warnings spurred a wave of public reactions as
      former security officials, retired police chiefs, and politicians
      took to the airwaves to denounce and condemn any such plan.

      Carmi Gillon, a former chief of the Shin Bet secret service, warned
      on Israel Radio Sunday that such an attack could ignite widespread
      hostilities that could threaten Israel's very existence.
      "If we're talking about a clear and present danger to the existence
      of Israel, it's a [Jewish] attack on the Temple Mount. If there were
      to be an attack on the Temple Mount, the chances that the Muslim
      world will rise up and fall on us, and millions of Iranians will
      march to Jerusalem, are very, very high. There are limits to this
      game," Gillon said.

      "In a diplomatic context, one thing is certain, if God forbid one
      stone were to fall from the top of the Dome of the Rock, any and all
      peace process, any and all chances for a solution to this conflict
      will evaporate completely. The other side will never stand for it. I
      hope that the Shabak and the police are making maximum efforts to
      obtain all the information they need to thwart something catastrophic
      like this," Gillon said.

      "I think we need to understand that the Temple Mount needs to remain
      outside this game," he added.

      "The security forces need to be given all the tools, including
      administrative detentions, whatever is required even a remote
      possibility of something like this happening."

      Former Jerusalem police chief Arye Amit said the "long-running
      desire" of extremist Jews to carry out an attack on the Temple Mount
      has reemerged, with the mixture of religious fanaticism of those who
      want to build a Third Temple at the site combining with the political
      fervor of those on the far Right who are ready to stop at nothing to
      prevent a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

      "The danger is from that lone, extremist crazy who is unknown to the
      police and the Shin Bet and not from the well-known extremist
      figures," Amit said on Israel Radio.

      One such leader, Yehuda Etzion, one of the Israeli extremists
      arrested in the 1980s for belonging to a Jewish underground that was
      plotting to blow up the Aksa Mosque, said Sunday that although an
      attack on the Temple Mount is "a worthy goal," it is not the "desired
      way" to stop Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.

      Etzion's remarks prompted immediate calls by Meretz and Shinui
      Knesset members urging Attorney General Menahem Mazuz to press
      charges against the ultra-nationalist leader for incitement.

      "The time has arrived to stop treating right-wing activists with silk
      gloves. If we don't stop them now, the blood that spills will be the
      fault of everyone who stood on the side doing nothing," said MK Ilan
      Leibowitz (Shinui).

      Far-left Yahad leader Yossi Sarid on Sunday advocated barring Jews
      from visiting the Temple Mount altogether in the wake of Hanegbi's
      warnings. Until its reopening last August, the site had been closed
      to Jews and Christians for nearly three years due to concern over
      renewed Palestinian violence.

      Likud MK Ehud Yatom, who as a former Shin Bet official was one of the
      commanders of the operation to seize the members of the "Jewish
      Underground" terror group, revealed Sunday that the group was "very
      close" to carrying out a planned multiple bombing against Muslim holy
      sites on the Temple Mount in 1984.

      Far-Right activists from the outlawed Kahane group released a
      statement Sunday saying that Hangebi was preparing the ground for
      administrative detentions.

      Former Internal Security Minister and vocal anti-disengagement leader
      Uzi Landau on Sunday said that everything possible needed to be done
      to prevent an attack on the Temple Mount, and called on those against
      the disengagement plan to understand that an attack on the Mount
      would seriously harm their interests. "This will only strengthen the
      extreme left and others to promote the process of surrender at a much
      quicker pace," Landau said on Israel Radio.

      Landau said administrative detentions could only be carried out if
      security forces had "some concrete and specific information."

      More than 50,000 Jewish and Christian visitors have peacefully toured
      the ancient compound, which is Judaism's holiest site, since its
      reopening to non-Muslim visitors a year ago.

      Six months ago, the head of the Shin Bet Avi Dichter outlined the
      potential danger from Jewish terrorists. Likely to intensify should
      Israel start uprooting settlements, Dichter said their dream to
      remove the 'abomination' - the mosques - from the Temple
      Mount "should trouble us greatly."

      "For the State of Israel and the Jewish people in the Diaspora,
      Jewish terrorism is liable to create a substantial strategic threat
      and to turn the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians into a
      confrontation between 13 million Jews and 1 billion Muslims across
      the world," Dichter said at the Herzliya Conference.

      Etzion: I would not be suprised if an attack is being planned.

      Yehuda Etzion, one of the activists convicted of plotting to destroy
      the mosques on the temple mount, agreed to be interviewed Sunday by
      Israel Radio.

      He shied away from answering directly as to whether or not he would
      do it again or still believes it should be done, saying only that he
      no longer believes that blowing up the temple mount is the first
      thing that needs to be done in the chain of events to lead up to the
      building of the third temple, without elaborating on what this chain
      does consist of.

      When asked what had gone wrong in his plan, he answered, "There were
      many people in the picture, but not enough people at the grassroots
      level who were actually ready to do the act." He later denied
      knowledge of any current plans against the mosques, saying only that
      he wouldn't be surprised if after "37 years of the mount being in our
      hands and not in our hands, it crossed somebody's mind."

      "The current situation needs to be changed," he said. When asked who
      needs to change it he answered. "Am Yisrael – the people of Israel."

      "If you had told a Jew in exile that someday the Jews would return to
      Israel, and its soldiers would liberate the Temple Mount, but Jews
      would allow the mosque to remain, yet still pray every day at the
      wall, "If I forget you, o Jerusalem let my right hand forget its
      usefulness," I don't think he would have believed you."

      He stressed that the desire to return to the temple mount is not
      simply a desire to 'be there,' or to 'have it,' rather a recognition
      of the need to restore Israel "from the mundane to the holy.

      Etzion conceded that blowing up the Temple Mount would most likely
      not be looked favorable upon by the Arab world, though he implied
      that it would be looked at as a sign of strength, rather than
      weakness, a trait he said Israel was exuding by allowing the mosques
      to remain.

      Noam Federman, speaking to Israel Radio from his Hebron home while
      under house arrest, said, "I look at the Temple Mount as the holiest
      place in Israel, where the Temple belongs, and without any
      interference from the political schemes of Ariel Sharon one day the
      third temple will be built there, and there wont be any more



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