150 ISRAELI CITIZENS FILE LANDMARK CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF THE WAQF OVER TEMPLE MOUNT DESTRUCTION
WAQF Officials to Trial; If Convicted Facing Years in Prison
A group of 150 Israeli citizens, representing a broad cross section of the Israeli public, have initiated an unprecedented criminal prosecution of WAQF (Islamic trust) leaders in Jerusalem - alleging that they have engaged in the deliberate destruction of ancient Jewish relics on the Temple Mount. The indictment was filed in the Jerusalem District Court today by means of a private law suit - which is first of its kind in Israeli legal history and utilizes a seldom applied section of the criminal code. If convicted, the WAQF officials may face years in prison.
The legal action, which is led by Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, accuses members of the Islamic Trust ("the WAQF") of the intentional demolishing of priceless Jewish artifacts, including the remains of the Second Temple.
In recent months the WAQF has brought in bulldozers and heavy digging equipment to carry out "renovations". Israeli archaeologists who have sifted through the discarded earth were shocked to have discovered a great number of Jewish artifacts brutally trashed by the bulldozers. A wall from the outer courtyard of the Second Temple is believed to have been completely pulverized.
The court papers contend that the recent accelerated destruction is part of a four decade long campaign by the WAQF to eradicate all evidence of the historical Jewish connection and claim to the Temple Mount.
After liberating the Old City in 1967, Israel permitted the WAQF to remain as "custodians" of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site.
Shurat HaDin alleges that the Israeli government, in its political cowardice, has consistently refused to undertake any concrete actions to stop the criminal activities of the WAQF - thus abandoning the millenniums long Jewish claim over the Temple Mount and allowing Islamic extremists to re-write history in Jerusalem.
Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: "This private prosecution in an unprecedented response to the brutal attempt by the extreme WAQF to eradicate any Jewish claim over the Temple Mount. The WAQF leaders belong in prison and since Israel's government is refusing to protect Jewish heritage and property, we will prosecute the WAQF ourselves. Such action is a moral obligation, not only for the Jewish people, but also for the Christian community, which has significant interests in safeguarding the Temple Mount as well".
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND COPIES OF THE INDICTMENT:
(Israel) Tel.: 03-751-4175
(US) Tel.: 212-591-0073