February 9, 2007
Financial Times

Israeli Police Storm Holy Muslim Site

by Harvey Morris

Israeli riot police stormed the Haram al-Sharif, Islam's third holiest site, at the close of Friday prayers as demonstrations erupted against Israeli archaeological work at the site.

Jewish worshippers scattered from the Western Wall below the mosque complex as the sound of stun grenades and the occasional live round echoed from the adjacent Muslim compound.

The controversy, which has gripped the Muslim world in recent days, involves Israeli construction work of a new bridge to link the mosque complex and the Jewish Western Wall plaza below. Palestinian Muslims fear associated archaeological works are part of an Israeli effort to encroach on the Muslim sanctuary. . . .


Etgar Lefkovits, "Archeologist: Ancient cistern proves location of Second Temple," Jerusalem Post, February 7, 2007

"UNESCO voices 'deep concern' at Israeli construction work in Jerusalem," The Electronic Intifada, February 8, 2007

Rajnaara Akhtar, "Digging up more hostility," Friends of Al-Aqsa, February 9, 2007

[The effort to expand the Jewish presence in the Old City and Holy Basin, a cause of violent protest over the past century, had been largely dormant since a 1992 state commission found that government agencies were illegally channeling public funds to private settler organizations and allowing them insider access to seized Palestinian property.

That partnership has been revived in pursuit of identical goals. The same settler groups are working now in tandem with the government as they purchase Palestinian property at a time of deep recession in the occupied territories--Scott Wilson, "Jewish Inroads in Muslim Quarter: Settlers' Project to Alter Skyline of Jerusalem's Old City," Washington Post, February 11, 2007]

[When Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli army's chief rabbi, General Shlomo Goren, tried to convince a commander of the conquering forces, Uzi Narkis, to blow up Al-Aqsa Mosque "once and for all".--Khaled Amayreh, "Catalogue of provocations," Al-Ahram Weekly, February 15, 2007]

[The Israel Antiquities Authority said that what could be an Islamic prayer room was found at the site of the Mugrabi ramp in the Old City of Jerusalem, where excavation work has sparked angry protests by Muslims who say the work endangers the Al-Aqsa Mosque.--"Antiquities Authority hid discovery of Islamic site at Mugrabi," Associated Press, February 19, 2007]

"Muslim clerics launch million signature Aqsa petition," Middle East Online, February 21, 2007

[One symbol of this struggle is the replacement last Thursday of the long-time head of the Islamic Waqf religious trust, Adnan Husseini, by Azzam Al-Khatib. . . . The Jordanians have been trying for years to block all involvement by Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Al-Aqsa matters.--Danny Rubinstein and Yoav Stern, "Unholy struggles over the Temple Mount," Haaretz, March 5, 2007]

Mohamed Khodr, "Desecration of Islam's Holiest Cities and Mosques While Minarets Are Silent,", March 13, 2007

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