Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Temple Mount, the Waqf, Archeology and History

The Waqf has started up again.

A new archaeological site not far from a sensitive holy shrine in Jerusalem's Old City will be opened soon.

It is a ritual bath from the period of the second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed in A.D. 70, and a small wall from the period of the first Jewish Temple, destroyed in the year 586 B.C.

But Adnan Husseini, the head of the Islamic Trust that oversees the two mosques at the site, condemned the diggings and Israel's intention to open it to the public, calling it a "confiscation" of Muslim property.

Of course, we could always go back to the report of the International Commission on the Western Wall from 1930 which declared that

A. To the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seeing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area, which is a Waqf property.

To the Moslems there also belongs the ownership of the Pavement in front of the Wall and of the adjacent so-called Moghrabi (Moroccan) Quarter opposite the Wall, inasmuch as the last-mentioned property was made Waqf under Moslem Sharia Law, it being dedicated to charitable purposes.

and it also decided that

The Jews shall have free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times subject to the explicit stipulations hereinafter to be mentioned, viz.,

(1) it shall be permissible to place near the Wall the Cabinet or Ark containing the Scroll or Scrolls of the Law and the Table on which the Ark stands and the Table on which the Scroll is laid when being read from, but only on the following occasions, viz.,
(a) at any special fast and assembly for public prayer that the Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem may order to be held in the consequence of some public distress or calamity, provided due notice shall have been given by them to the Administration;
(b) on New Year's Day and on the Day of Atonement, and also on any other special "holy days" that are recognised by the Government as such days on which it has been customary for the Ark containing the Scrolls of the Law to be brought to the Wall.
Save as provided in the articles of this Verdict it shall not be permissible to have any appurtenances of worship in the vicinity of the Wall.
(2) No objection or obstacle shall be raised to the Jews, in their individual capacity, carrying with them to the Wall hand-books or other articles customarily used at their devotions either as a general thing or upon special occasions, nor to their wearing such garments as were of old used at their devotions.
(3) The temporarily enacted prohibitions against the bringing to the Wall of benches, carpets or mattings, chairs, curtains and screens, etc., and against the driving of animals at certain hours along the Pavement are to be made absolute, as is also the injunction as to keeping the door at the southern end of the Wall locked during certain hours. The right, however, for Moslems to go to and fro in an ordinary way along the Pavement shall be respected and remain inviolable as hitherto.
(4) It shall be prohibited to bring to the Wall any tent or a curtain or any similar object with a view to placing it there even though for a limited space of time.
(5) The Jews shall not be permitted to blow the ram's horn (Shofar) near the Wall nor cause any other disturbance to the Moslems that is avoidable; the Moslems on the other hand shall not be permitted to carry out the Zikr ceremony close to the Pavement during the progress of the Jewish devotions or to cause annoyance to the Jews in any other way.
(6) It is to be understood that the Administration shall be entitled to give such instructions as they may think fit respecting the dimensions of each of the objects that it is permissible for the Jews to bring to the WalI, respecting the particular days and hours above referred to, and also respecting other details that may be necessary for the adequate and complete carrying out of this present Verdict of the Commission.
(7) It shall be prohibited for any person or persons to make use of the place in front of the Wall or its surroundings for all political speeches or utterances or demonstrations of any kind whatever.

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